Egan Bernal dropped by Slovenia’s Roglic, Pogacar at Tour de France

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Egan Bernal‘s hopes of a repeat Tour de France title were dented on the Tour’s first summit finish as he lost 38 seconds to leader Primoz Roglic on Friday.

Roglic and countryman Tadej Pogacar gapped Bernal on the last of seven categorized climbs on the 13th of 21 stages, six minutes behind Colombian stage winner Dani Martinez.

“I looked at my numbers from today’s stage, and they were almost my best ever,” Bernal said, according to a Cyclingnews.com translation of a WielerFlits report. “The rest simply went faster.”

Martinez isn’t among the contenders to win the overall title in Paris in nine days.

That battle was expected to come down to Bernal, of Tour stalwart Ineos Grenadiers, and Roglic, of the surging Jumbo-Visma team. But now Bernal is in third place, 59 seconds behind Roglic and 14 seconds behind Pogacar, the UAE Team Emirates rider who moved from seventh to second.

“As long as you can gain time, every second is good,” Roglic said atop an extinct volcano.

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Bernal and Ineos have more chances to rebound. After Saturday’s 14th stage, the next four stages are in the mountains with opportunities to attack. Ineos chose not to bring four-time Tour champion Chris Froome and 2018 Tour champion Geraint Thomas to this year’s Tour.

Slovenia has never put a cyclist on the Tour de France overall podium.

Now, the nation with the population of New Mexico boasts the top two riders, a year after Roglic became the first Slovenian to win a Grand Tour at the Vuelta a Espana. Pogacar, then 20, was third in Spain, becoming the youngest Grand Tour podium finisher since 1974.

“Before the start of the Tour, I knew that [Pogacar] was super strong,” Roglic said. “From the last year, we already saw he can do really big things in Vuelta. So not really so big surprise, but, yeah, really happy also at the end we have two Slovenians on the top.”

The Tour continues Saturday with a five-climb stage, but none of the highest categories and a flat finish into Lyon. CNBC and NBC Sports Gold air coverage at 7 a.m. ET.

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MORE: Roglic quit ski jumping, beat Luka Doncic, leads Tour de France

Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”