Chris Froome

Chris Froome says Tour de France will be ‘main focus’ in 2015

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Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour de France winner, said next year’s Tour de France takes priority over all other races.

“Of course, together with the team, we’ve had to prioritize some events over others, but the Tour will remain my main focus for 2015,” Froome, who has been training in South Africa, said on his website Tuesday.

Froome didn’t initially commit to the 2015 Tour de France when the route was unveiled Oct. 22. Next year’s Tour includes one nine-mile time trial, putting less emphasis on the “race of truth” than usual. That would seem to hurt Froome, the 2012 Olympic time trial bronze medalist for Great Britain.

But Froome is also strong at climbing, and next year’s Tour includes 26 climbs, highlighted by the grueling Alpe d’Huez with its 21 switchbacks.

“There’s no reason why I would be any worse off than any of the other contenders,” said Froome, who grew up in Kenya and South Africa. “It’s a climbers Tour next year so I’m going to have to work extra hard in the mountains and spend less time on practicing time trialing. It’s also going to be important to be as light as possible so our nutrition will play a key role. There will be new tests for me as an individual, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

In October, Froome hinted he may try to do the Giro d’Italia-Vuelta a Espana double in May and September instead of the Tour de France in July. He has never won the other two Grand Tours.

“The concept of doing all three Grand Tours in a season has got appeal but having said that, I know how hard it is to do two Grand Tours while targeting the overall win,” Froome said on his website Tuesday. “At this point in my career I feel that the Tour takes priority. There may come a time at some point down the line where other races may take preference, but for 2015, it’s the Tour.”

Froome’s biggest competition in the 2015 Tour de France could come from the three reigning Grand Tour winners — Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Tour de France), Colombian Nairo Quintana (Giro d’Italia) and Spaniard Alberto Contador (Vuelta a Espana).

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

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Conseslus Kipruto tests positive for coronavirus, canceling world-record bid

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Conseslus Kipruto, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion, tested positive for the coronavirus without symptoms, which will keep him from a world-record chase on Friday, according to his social media.

The Kenyan was to race in the first in-person Diamond League meet of the year in Monaco on Friday.

“Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities,” was posted. “Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League.

“I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well.”

Kipruto, 25, is the 14th-fastest steepler in history with a personal best of 8:00.12. The world record is 7:53.63, set by Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2004.

Last year, Kipruto won the world title by .01, extending a streak of a Kenyan or Kenyan-born man winning every Olympic or world title in the event since the 1988 Seoul Games. He was sidelined by a stress fracture in his left foot until opening his season extremely late on Aug. 24.

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Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities. Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League on August 14th. I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well. Wish to thank Monaco for all the work they have done and I wish them and my colleagues a wonderful competition. Athletics is back and I will be back as well. Anyone willing to organise a steeple once I can be cleared? @diamondleaguemonaco #nike #quarantine #WR #Kenya

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