Solo, Team USA edge France, qualify for Olympic knockout rounds

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Maybe those Zika chants are giving Hope Solo strength.

Solo was magnificent again between the posts, and Carli Lloyd scored a second half goal to lead Team USA past France 1-0 on Saturday at the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte.

The crowd continued to amplify her goal kicks with “Zi-ka” chants, but Solo was again unbeatable in her 200th international start. She’s the first goalkeeper to reach that landmark.

MORE: Highlights / Full match replay

Both France and the U.S. took a step up in competition following opening wins over Colombia and New Zealand, respectively.

The win guarantees that the Yanks will finish no worse than second in their group regardless of how they fare against Colombia. New Zealand and Colombia square off later Saturday.

The Yanks pulled ahead in the 64th minute, as Tobin Heath’s near post shot was saved onto the post by France ‘keeper Sarah Bouhaddi, and Lloyd tapped home the rebound.

Whitney Engen entered the fold for an injured Julie Johnston, tasked with helping to hold down France’s dangerous attack.

Solo started her afternoon by tipping a Wendie Renard header off the bar and out for a corner in the 16th minute. With three decent chances to tap the ball in off the ensuing corner, France came away with a trio of flubs.

France worked well as the game neared the half-hour mark, winning a series of corners that eventually concluded with Solo collecting a floated cross and the USWNT building out of the back.

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - AUGUST 06: Alex Morgan of United States battles for the ball against Wendie Renard of FraFrance during the Women's Group F first round match between United States and France during Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Mineirao Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)
(Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)

Carli Lloyd won a dead-center free kick in the 29th minute, barely over 20 yards away from goal. Tobin Heath had a nice offering tipped over the bar, but it was ruled a goal kick.

Heath had another free kick in the 35th, but her arrow of a pass sailed wide of the far post as the attackers were closer to the center of goal.

Solo made a strong low save on a French counter, as the game moved toward halftime.

The ‘keeper was the star of the second half as well, especially when French desperation reared its head after Lloyd’s goal.

Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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2024 Tour de France to end with Nice time trial due to Paris Olympics

2024 Tour de France Nice
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The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.

The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.

Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.

Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.

The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.

Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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