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Simone Biles handles nerves, mom handles excitement of comeback

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Sounds like Simone Biles‘ mom is more excited about her comeback than the Olympic all-around champion.

“She told me last night at dinner, I can’t wait for the competition, I’m so excited,” Biles said Friday, in a fuss, imitating her mom, Nellie. “I’m like, oh God, I feel like I’m going to pass out or something.”

Biles competes on Saturday for the first time since earning four golds at the Rio Games.

She headlines the U.S. Classic, live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers at 8 p.m. ET. NBC airs coverage Sunday at 2 p.m.

Biles is not setting expectations, but at the same time she has repeated in interviews this spring and summer that she feels like a better gymnast than in Rio despite taking more than a year off of training.

“I’d probably beat [2016 Biles],” she told media in Columbus, Ohio, at training. “I feel like I have a stronger mindset, and I’m not as nervous. For this particular competition, I still have a lot of nerves that I have to get out.”

Biles’ new coach, Laurent Landi, said her overall difficulty is higher than it was in Rio.

“Now I feel like some of the skills I’m doing I couldn’t do before,” Biles said, noting she feels leaner now than the strong “bulldog” who dominated in Brazil. “I’m really excited to showcase [uneven] bars.”

Biles used to despise bars, the only apparatus where she did not earn a medal in Rio (or any world championships). In the last Olympic cycle, Biles joked about wanting to take a chainsaw to the bars.

She returns to a completely different U.S. gymnastics landscape.

“I don’t have to be so nervous about walking on egg shells and what we do because we already achieved what we did in Rio,” she said. “We’re already Olympians at this point, whereas before you were kind of nervous. Everything you did could mess up what you wanted to do.

“Now it’s a lot better because I’m coming back and doing what I want to do and not doing it for anyone else.”

But it’s hard to forget about mom, who it seems like has been anticipating Saturday’s return since the Olympic Closing Ceremony.

“I didn’t really write down anything because I didn’t want my mom to pressure me, but I remember my mom last year during the summer, we were in Hawaii or something, and she’s like, when are you going to compete again, I miss going to competitions,” Biles said. “I’m like, whoa, slow the brakes.

The time for pause is over. Biles’ next two meets are the U.S. Championships in three weeks and the world championships in October. Saturday is just the beginning.

“Just go out there and lay it all on the table,” she said.

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MORE: Laurie Hernandez plans on competing in 2019

Mikaela Shiffrin returns with mantra, stuck to her helmet, to carry forever

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Look close at Mikaela Shiffrin as she steps into a race start gate for the first time in eight months on Oct. 17.

Shiffrin, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Cup overall champion, plans to wear a helmet with two special stickers on the back.

She’s donned the first decal for years — the initials ABFTTB, which stand for “Always Be Faster Than The Boys,” a personalized autograph motto from retired Olympic Alpine skier Heidi Voelker.

The new sticker reads, Be nice. Think first. Have fun.

Those lines came from Shiffrin’s father, Jeff — the mantra instilled in her and older brother Taylor, also a young ski racer at the time.

After Jeff died on Feb. 2, Shiffrin regularly remembered the question that Jeff posed years ago: “What are the golden rules?”

Be nice. Think first.

When the Shiffrin siblings were old enough, Jeff added the third rule.

“He felt like we could understand that having fun wasn’t just about going and doing whatever you want because it’s instantly gratifying,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports’ Alex Azzi in an On Her Turf interview. “Fun is doing something well and the satisfaction you get from sticking to something.”

She plans to race all season with the golden rules sticker on her helmet, right next to ABFTTB.

Shiffrin detailed more about her prep for a very different World Cup campaign, in conjunction with a new fund in honor of her late father, in this On Her Turf report.

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2020 Tour de France results

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2020 Tour de France results for the yellow jersey, green jersey, white jersey and polka-dot jersey …

Overall (Yellow Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:05
2. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — +:59
3. Richie Porte (AUS) — +3:30
4. Mikel Landa (ESP) — +5:58
5. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — +6:47
7. Tom Dumoulin (NED) — +7:48
8. Rigberto Uran (COL) — +8:02
9. Adam Yates (GBR) — +9:25
10. Damiano Caruso (ITA) — +14:03
13. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — +25:53
15. Sepp Kuss (USA) — +42:20
17. Nairo Quintana (COL) — +1:03:07
29. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) — +1:59:54
36. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) — +2:19:11
DNF. Egan Bernal (COL)

Sprinters (Green Jersey)
1. Sam Bennett (IRL) — 380 points
2. Peter Sagan (SVK) — 284
3. Matteo Trentin (ITA) — 260
4. Bryan Coquard (FRA) — 181
5. Wout van Aert (BEL) — 174

Climbers (Polka-Dot Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 82 points
2. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — 74
3. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — 67
4. Marc Hirschi (SUI) — 62
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — 51

Young Rider (White Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:13
2. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
3. Valentin Madouas (FRA) — +1:42:43
4. Dani Martinez (COL) — +1:55:12
5. Lennard Kamna (GER) — +2:15:39

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