Tadej Pogacar nearly gives up Tour de France lead; race paused by protest

0 Comments

Magnus Cort of Denmark won in a photo finish in the Tour de France’s 10th stage, which was interrupted due to protestors sitting on the road with 23 miles left.

Cort beat Australian Nick Schultz by a fraction of a wheel with a bike throw across the finish line in Megeve.

TOUR DE FRANCE: Standings | Broadcast Schedule | Stage by Stage

Tadej Pogacar and the other race leaders were nearly nine minutes back. Pogacar nearly gave up the yellow jersey to German Lennard Kamna, who was part of the breakaway and moved up from 21st place to second place, 11 seconds behind Pogacar.

Pogacar finished in the same time as his primary rivals for the overall title, including Dane Jonas Vingegaard.

The stage was briefly neutralized with 23 miles left after a small group of activists protesting climate change sat on the road and lit flares, forcing riders to stop for 12 minutes.

Pogacar lost one of his teammates before the stage as George Bennett of New Zealand tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrew. Another teammate, Poland’s Rafal Majka, also tested positive but was allowed to race Tuesday by the International Cycling Union medical team as he was asymptomatic and had “a very low risk of infectivity,” a team doctor said.

Another rider on the team, Norwegian Vegard Stake Laengen, withdrew last week due to a COVID positive. With Bennett and Laengen out, UAE Team Emirates is down to six riders. Losing Majka would be the most significant absence of them all as he is a key domestique in the mountains for Pogacar.

The Tour stays in the Alps on Wednesday with a beyond-category summit finish.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Olympic flame to travel by sea for Paris 2024, welcomed by armada

Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024
0 Comments

The Olympic flame will travel from Athens to Marseille by ship in spring 2024 to begin the France portion of the torch relay that ends in Paris on July 26, 2024.

The torch relay always begins in the ancient Olympic site of Olympia, Greece, where the sun’s rays light the flame. It will be passed by torch until it reaches Athens.

It will then cross the Mediterranean Sea aboard the Belem, a three-masted ship, “reminiscent of a true Homeric epic,” according to Paris 2024. It will arrive at the Old Port of Marseille, welcomed by an armada of boats.

Marseille is a former Greek colony and the oldest city in France. It will host sailing and some soccer matches during the Paris Olympics.

The full 2024 Olympic torch relay route will be unveiled in May.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

0 Comments

Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!