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IAAF denies allegations against Sebastian Coe

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LONDON (AP) – The IAAF dismissed allegations Thursday that Sebastian Coe was aware of details of a Russian doping corruption case four months before it became public, or that he enlisted support for his presidential campaign from a key figure in the sport’s current doping scandal.

The BBC’s Panorama program and the Daily Mail reported the allegations against Coe, who is now IAAF president, a day before he chairs a meeting in Vienna to decide whether to uphold the ban on Russian track and field athletes.

The media reports said Coe received an email in August 2014 detailing allegations about Russian marathoner Liliya Shobukhova being extorted out of hundreds of thousands of dollars to have a positive doping test covered up so she could compete in the 2012 London Olympics.

Coe, who was a vice president of the IAAF at the time, received the email from London Marathon director Dave Bedford. The allegations became public four months later when they were aired in a documentary by German broadcaster ARD in December 2014.

The BBC and Daily Mail accused Coe of misleading a British parliamentary committee in December 2015 when he said “we were not aware – I was certainly not aware – of the specific allegations that has been made around the corruption of anti-doping processes in Russia.”

The IAAF said in a statement that Coe did receive an email from Bedford that included attachments related to an issue being investigated by the ethics commission.

“This was enough for Seb Coe to forward the email to the ethics commission,” the statement said. “He did not feel it was necessary to read the attachments. You may think this shows a lack of curiosity. He, and we, would argue that it shows a full duty of care. Ensuring the right people in the right place were aware of allegations and were investigating them.”

“Seb has never denied hearing rumors about corruption,” the IAAF added. “In fact he has said on many occasions that when alerted to rumors he asked people to pass them on to the ethics commission to be investigated.”

The BBC and Daily Mail also alleged that Coe won the IAAF presidency with the help of Papa Massata Diack, son of disgraced former IAAF President Lamine Diack. The elder Diack is being investigated by French prosecutors on corruption charges linked to cover-ups of Russian doping cases. His son, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant, is also wanted in connection with the allegations.

The media outlets obtained text messages allegedly showing how Papa Massata Diack helped secure African votes for Coe, who defeated Ukraine’s Sergei Bubka 115-92 in last year’s election.

The younger Diack said he met Coe three times during the campaign.

“If he had not the blessing of Lamine Diack or my support, he would have never been elected as the IAAF president,” he told the BBC. “He knows that.”

The IAAF dismissed Diack’s claims.

“The suggestion that Seb Coe was actively seeking Papa Massata Diack’s advice about his campaign is wrong,” the statement said. “As with any campaign, lots of people offer advice – wanted or not, some helpful, some not. You try to be civil but wary.”

“This was the case with Mr. Diack,” the IAAF said. “He sent messages of support while at the same time supporting other candidates and accusing Seb Coe of leading a British media campaign against both him and his father.”

MORE: Russian athletes, state accused of obstructing drug tests

Anna van der Breggen is first cyclist to sweep road world titles in 25 years

Anna van der Breggen
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Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen added the road race crown to her time trial victory at the world road cycling championships, becoming the second rider in history to win both events at the same edition.

“This is, for me, pretty good so far,” she said.

Van der Breggen, the Rio Olympic road race champion, won after a solo attack with more than 25 miles left of an 89-mile course in Imola, Italy, on Saturday.

She prevailed after more than four hours of racing by 80 seconds over countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, the 2019 champion. Van Vleuten raced nine days after breaking her left wrist in a Giro Rosa crash.

Italian Elisa Longo Borghini took bronze in the same time as van Vleuten after losing a photo-finish sprint. Lauren Stephens was the top American in 11th.

Full results are here.

The race lacked American standout Chloé Dygert, who crashed out of the time trial while leading on Thursday and required leg surgery.

Van der Breggen joined Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo as the only male or female cyclists to sweep the time trial and road race at a single worlds. Longo did so in 1995 at age 36.

Van der Breggen, 30, said in May that she will retire after the 2021 Olympic season.

It will be the end of one of the great cycling careers. She is now a three-time world champion and nine-time world medalist to go along with her road race gold and time trial bronze in her Olympic debut in Rio.

Worlds conclude Sunday with the men’s road race. A TV and stream schedule is here.

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MORE: A more equal future for women’s cycling? Lizzie Deignan has high hopes

2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

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Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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MORE: How Jay-Z, Beyonce helped Naomi Osaka come out of her shell

French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final