Wayde van Niekerk sees different double in his future, or none at all

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Wayde van Niekerk, tired after six races in six days, doesn’t see another 200m-400m double in his future.

“The only doubles I think I would consider now is the 100m and 200m,” Van Niekerk said after taking world 400m gold on Tuesday and 200m silver on Thursday in London.

Van Niekerk was beaten by .02 in the half-lap race by Turkish surprise Ramil Guliyev, keeping the South African from becoming the second athlete to sweep the 200m and 400m at a worlds.

Now, it appears Van Niekerk will no longer bid to match Michael Johnson‘s feat from the 1995 Worlds. Though the next global meet is not until 2019, giving the 25-year-old plenty of time to change his mind.

“I’d love to do a bit of a 100m and 200m at Commonwealth [Games] next year, but obviously, I’m going to have to do some 400m as well at the Diamond Leagues and World Challenges and so on,” he said. “But, I think, we haven’t really thought that far. We were focusing on the [200m-400m] double this week. And, I think, after the season we will sit back with coach and decide what we are going to invest our time in.

“If I have to refer to the 400m, I’d love to have that as an individual event. So I’d love to improve my world record again.”

The Commonwealth Games do not include the U.S. or Turkey, where the world 100m and 200m champions reside. And with Usain Bolt retiring, none of the world 100m medalists will be there. His biggest competition could be Andre De Grasse of Canada and Isaac Makwala of Botswana.

Van Niekerk is the only man in history to run sub-44 for the 400m, sub-20 for the 200m and sub-10 for the 100m.

“I’d love to improve all three events, but I will definitely not double up again,” Van Niekerk said on CNN on Friday, after being asked by Olympic and world triple jump champion Christian Taylor about his plans for the 2019 Worlds.

He was well off his best times in London, winning the 400m in 43.98 seconds, albeit decelerating near the finish with the race easily won. In Rio, Van Niekerk clocked the world record 43.03.

And in the 200m, Van Niekerk was overtaken by Guliyev in the final straightaway. He recorded 20.11, well off the 19.84 he ran on June 10.

“Mentally, I was ready,” Van Niekerk said. “Physically, it was a really tough challenge. … But we all knew this was going to happen. We all knew this was how the body was going to feel. I think I’ve fought successfully.

“It was the best I could give in this competition. This is just the beginning of what I can achieve as an athlete.”

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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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