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Kerri Walsh Jennings in world champs field with new partner

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Kerri Walsh Jennings and new partner Nicole Branagh are in the field for the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, that start July 28.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh, who last played together in 2012, earned the fourth and final U.S. women’s spot for worlds. They had a low number of combined ranking points due mainly to Branagh’s absence from international play the last two years.

The top three U.S. pairs in FIVB rankings received direct entry — Brooke Sweat and Summer RossApril Ross (Walsh Jennings’ former partner) and Lauren Fendrick and Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh made the field via continental representation after the top 23 from FIVB rankings and two host-country wild cards were named. The full field will be 48 teams.

The top two seeds are Brazilians Larissa and Talita (fourth at the Olympics) and German Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst.

The men’s field includes Olympic champions Alison and Bruno of Brazil, plus Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who are ranked No. 1 in the world.

Walsh Jennings won three straight world titles with Misty May-Treanor in 2003, 2005 and 2007, in addition to their three straight Olympic titles in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

Walsh Jennings and April Ross were upset in the round of 16 at the 2015 World Championships before taking bronze at the Rio Games.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are to make their FIVB World Tour season debut in three weeks in Porec, Croatia, and the following week in Gstaad, Switzerland.

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MORE: Ross wins first event since split with Walsh Jennings

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly named Sara Hughes’ partner. She is Kelly Claes, not Emily.

Richie Porte crashes out of Tour de France again

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Australian Richie Porte crashed out of the Tour de France on the ninth stage for a second straight year, suffering a fractured right clavicle six miles into Sunday’s stage.

“Obviously I’m devastated,” Porte said, according to Team BMC. “For the second year in a row I am ending the Tour de France like this. I was on the ground before I knew it, and straight away felt pain in my right shoulder.”

Porte, who finished fifth in the 2016 Tour de France and was an overall podium contender these last two years, was seen sitting on the side of the road, gritting his teeth and crossing his right arm over his chest.

There was a mass stoppage of riders, with at least one spectator down on the side of the narrow road. The crash came well before the Tour stage was to hit 15 arduous cobblestone sections totaling 13 miles.

Porte was in 10th place after eight stages, 57 seconds behind race leader and BMC teammate Greg Van Avermaet. Avermaet and American Tejay van Garderen, in third place, were expected to work for Porte in the mountains later this week, hoping to put him in the yellow jersey.

Now, Van Garderen is in line to be the team leader.

In 2017, Porte fractured his clavicle and pelvis on a ninth-stage crash on a descent and had to abandon the Tour.

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Chris Froome, other stars crash on Tour de France cobblestones stage

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Richie PorteTejay van GarderenRigoberto UranMikel Landa. Even Chris Froome.

Stage nine of the Tour de France promised to rattle the top riders, and the 15 sections of cobblestones totaling 13 miles delivered just that. All of the named men crashed on Sunday, with Porte abandoning the Grand Tour altogether (albeit he crashed before the first cobbles section, six miles into the stage).

In the end, German John Degenkolb got the stage win ahead of overall race leader Greg Van Avermaet and Yves Lampaert.

Van Avermaet, the Olympic road race champion from Belgium, retained the yellow jersey for a sixth straight day, extending his lead to 43 seconds over Brit Geraint Thomas. Van Avermaet rides for Team BMC, which lost its team leader in Porte.

American van Garderen presumably became the new team leader, but he crashed later in the stage and also suffered three flat tires.

Van Garderen entered the day third in the overall standings, nine seconds behind Van Avermaet. He ended it in 30th place, 6:05 behind Van Avermaet.

The best-placed favorite to finish on the podium in Paris on July 29 is now the four-time Tour winner Froome, in eighth place, 1:42 behind Van Avermaet. Froome is trying to tie the record of five Tour titles shared by Jacques AnquetilEddy MerckxBernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

The Tour takes its first of two rest days Monday, resuming with the first day in the Alps on Tuesday live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold (full broadcast schedule here). Stage 10 features a beyond-category climb and three category-one climbs.

“I’m relieved to get through today and looking forward to getting into the mountains now where the real race for GC (general classification) will start,” Froome said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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