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Martins Dukurs wants one more chance at missing Olympic gold

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Skeleton slider Martins Dukurs, one of the greatest Winter Olympians of all time without a gold medal, said he intends to compete another four years for another opportunity to fill his resumé, according to Latvian media.

It was thought that the Latvian, who turns 34 on Saturday, might retire after his fourth-place finish in PyeongChang following silver medals in 2010 and 2014.

In January, the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation reported that Dukurs and older brother Tomass Dukurs had retired from World Cup competition.

Now that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Dukurs, nicknamed “Superman,” won five world championships and eight straight World Cup season titles. At the last three Olympics, Dukurs saw a host-country slider take gold — Canadian Jon Montgomery in 2010, Russian Alexksandr Tretiyakov in 2014 and South Korean Yun Sungbin last month.

Tretiyakov’s gold medal was stripped on Nov. 22 as part of Russian athlete doping sanctions from the Sochi Games, making it appear likely that Dukurs would be elevated to gold. But then Tretiyakov and other Russians were reinstated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Feb. 1.

“The evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was committed by the athletes concerned,” CAS said Feb. 1.

Latvia, apart from its time competing as part of the Soviet Union, has two Summer Olympic gold medalists (gymnast Igors Vihrovs and BMX rider Māris Štrombergs) but none from the Winter Games. Its eight Winter Olympic medals are the most by any nation without a gold.

Dukurs’ path to 2022 gold appears it must go through three men who are a decade younger than him — Yun, Olympic silver medalist Nikita Tregubov of Russia and Chinese up-and-comer Geng Wenqiang, who was 13th in PyeongChang but should have a big home-track boost in Beijing.

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MORE: Top skeleton moments from PyeongChang Olympics

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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