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USA Cycling hires New Balance boss DeMartini as its CEO

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The past two leaders of USA Cycling participated at the sport’s highest level, one of them racing in the prestigious Paris-Roubaix and the other winning a masters world championship.

Rob DeMartini prepared for the job in the offices and board rooms of Proctor & Gamble.

That is exactly why USA Cycling’s board of directors picked the longtime marketing executive to take over the sport’s national governing body, a move announced on Monday. Derek Bouchard-Hall and Steve Johnson had their successes during tenures as president and chief executive, yet there remained a disconnect between USA Cycling and the business world that was hindering its ability to accomplish its goals.

Without enough sponsorship support, USA Cycling struggled to build its membership and find the resources to support athletes preparing for major events such as the Olympics.

DeMartini spent 20 years working with such brands as Gillette, then spent time with Tyson Foods before taking over New Balance about 12 years ago. He built the running and athletic apparel company into a market leader, increasing revenue from $1.5 billion in 2007 to $4.4 billion last year.

As for cycling? Well, he hasn’t raced on the pavements of Europe or the pine surface of a velodrome, but DeMartini is an avid amateur cyclist.

“His passion and ambition for both the future of USA Cycling and our sport is inspiring,” USA Cycling chairman Bob Stapleton said. “He also brings the proven leadership, commercial success and the resources to elevate USA Cycling and to do more for our members, partners and athletes.”

Part of that involves preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

USA Cycling has scratched for funding for years, and rivals such as Great Britain – with support from its national lottery – have used their resources to lap the Americans.

Bouchard-Hall, who resigned at year’s end to take over Swiss apparel company ASSOS, began to lay the foundation for the future by restructuring USA Cycling. He hired Scott Schnitzspahn as vice president of elite athletics and Chuck Hodge as chief of racing and events. The organization revamped its coaching staff at just about every level and in nearly every discipline.

“I look forward to working closely with Chuck in support of our members, event directors and race officials as well as Scott to prepare our riders for the Tokyo 2020 Games,” DeMartini said. “I’m excited to join this capable team and very optimistic that we can better meet members’ needs, grow the leadership role USA Cycling plays in our industry and make all disciplines of cycling stronger.”

Along with his focus on elite athletics, DeMartini will be asked to rebuild a membership base that has been dwindling for years. The organization is considered an afterthought in the grassroots cycling world, where races, group rides and other events are often held without its oversight.

In some ways, DeMartini will be attempting to replicate what he did at New Balance, when he helped the shoe company became an integral part of the running community.

“Rob was a great partner while leading New Balance,” said Michael Capiraso, the president and CEO of New York Road Runners, which puts on the New York City Marathon and other events. “Rob has a great feel for the power of partnership and community, a skill that will surely benefit USA Cycling and the sport of cycling in the future.”

Anna van der Breggen is first cyclist to sweep road world titles in 25 years

Anna van der Breggen
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Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen added the road race crown to her time trial victory at the world road cycling championships, becoming the second rider in history to win both events at the same edition.

“This is, for me, pretty good so far,” she said.

Van der Breggen, the Rio Olympic road race champion, won after a solo attack with more than 25 miles left of an 89-mile course in Imola, Italy, on Saturday.

She prevailed after more than four hours of racing by 80 seconds over countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, the 2019 champion. Van Vleuten raced nine days after breaking her left wrist in a Giro Rosa crash.

Italian Elisa Longo Borghini took bronze in the same time as van Vleuten after losing a photo-finish sprint. Lauren Stephens was the top American in 11th.

Full results are here.

The race lacked American standout Chloé Dygert, who crashed out of the time trial while leading on Thursday and required leg surgery.

Van der Breggen joined Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo as the only male or female cyclists to sweep the time trial and road race at a single worlds. Longo did so in 1995 at age 36.

Van der Breggen, 30, said in May that she will retire after the 2021 Olympic season.

It will be the end of one of the great cycling careers. She is now a three-time world champion and nine-time world medalist to go along with her road race gold and time trial bronze in her Olympic debut in Rio.

Worlds conclude Sunday with the men’s road race. A TV and stream schedule is here.

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MORE: A more equal future for women’s cycling? Lizzie Deignan has high hopes

2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

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Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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MORE: How Jay-Z, Beyonce helped Naomi Osaka come out of her shell

French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final