Tour de France podium standings shakeup on Alpe d’Huez

0 Comments

Brit Tom Pidcock became the youngest man to win a Tour de France stage at Alpe d’Huez, while the overall podium standings shifted again in the French Alps on Thursday.

“It made my Tour de France,” said Pidcock, a 22-year-old in his first Tour, a year after winning the Olympic mountain bike title. “If I get dropped every other day now, I don’t care.”

Pidcock won from a breakaway by 48 seconds over South African Louis Meintjes. Chris Froome, a four-time Tour winner, finished third for his best Tour stage result since career-threatening crash injuries in 2019.

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

Behind them, two-time defending Tour champ Tadej Pogacar twice attacked race leader Jonas Vingegaard on the 21 switchbacks of the Alpe d’Huez, a day after Vingegaard took the yellow jersey from Pogacar.

The Dane Vingegaard responded to each of Pogacar’s surges and crossed the finish line Thursday in the same time as Pogacar.

“After yesterday I didn’t have the best legs today,” said Vingegaard, who on Wednesday won a summit finish stage, distancing Pogacar by nearly three minutes. “I didn’t feel bad, but I think everyone was suffering so much in the heat. It was such a hard race. Today, I didn’t think about taking additional time. I was just thinking about maintaining the gap on everyone, on Tadej.”

Vingegaard remains 2 minutes, 22 seconds ahead of Pogacar as the Tour goes back to a flat stage on Friday for the first time in 12 days.

Pogacar said he cracked on Wednesday because he was “a little bit stupid” putting too much energy into the penultimate climb of that day’s stage. He’s looking forward to next week, when the Tour will be decided in the Pyrenees and in an individual time trial.

“Today I have my legs back,” the Slovenian said. “I tried [to attack Vingegaard], but with not 100 percent confidence because of yesterday. I think I can go [with my] head up, motivated, for the next week.”

Frenchman Romain Bardet, who was in second place going into Thursday’s stage, dropped into fourth place overall, behind 2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships TV, live stream schedule

U.S. Figure Skating Championships
U.S. Figure Skating
2 Comments

The U.S. Figure Skating Championships, in some ways marking a new era in the sport, air live from San Jose, California, on NBC Sports, USA Network and Peacock.

After last February’s Olympics, U.S. figure skating saw its greatest turnover from one season to the next in more than 20 years.

Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou, the top two men last season, are not competing this season and may be done altogether. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell, the top two women, retired. As did the top ice dance couple of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc, last year’s national pairs’ champions, also left the sport.

So, for the first time since 1993, the U.S. Championships feature a reigning national champion in just one of the four disciplines.

Amid all that, U.S. skaters performed well in the fall Grand Prix Series and made the podium in all four disciplines at December’s Grand Prix Final for the first time. Note the absence of Russian skaters, banned from international events due to the war in Ukraine.

At nationals, skaters are vying for spots on the team — three per discipline — for March’s world championships in Japan.

Ilia Malinin, an 18-year-old from Virginia, is the headliner after becoming the first skater to land a quadruple Axel, doing so at all four of his events this season. He ranks second in the world by best total score, a whopping 38.28 points ahead of the next American (Camden Pulkinen).

Jason Brown is the lone Olympian in the men’s field, competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Games.

Isabeau Levito, 15 and a reigning world junior champion like Malinin, took silver at the Grand Prix Final against the world’s other top skaters. She enters nationals with a best score this season 18.13 points better than the next American, Amber Glenn. Bradie Tennell, a 2018 Olympian coming back from foot and ankle injuries, is also a threat to gain one of the three women’s spots at worlds.

Ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates are the lone defending national champions and will likely make the podium for an 11th consecutive year, which would be one shy of the record.

Bates, who last year at 32 became the oldest U.S. champion in any discipline in decades, has made 12 career senior nationals podiums with Chock and former partner Emily Samuelson. It is believed that a 13th finish in the top three would break the U.S. record for a single discipline he currently shares with Michelle Kwan, Nathaniel Niles and Theresa Weld Blanchard.

In pairs, Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier return after missing nationals last year due to Frazier contracting COVID-19 the week of the event. Since, they posted the best U.S. pairs’ finish at an Olympics in 20 years, the first world title for a U.S. pair in 43 years and the first Grand Prix Final medal ever for a U.S. pair.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships Live Broadcast Schedule

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Thursday Pairs’ Short Program 3:30-5:45 p.m. Peacock | Skate Order
Rhythm Dance 6:30-9 p.m. Peacock | Skate Order
Rhythm Dance 7-9 p.m. USA Network | STREAM LINK
Women’s Short Program 9:10 p.m.-12 a.m. Peacock | Skate Order
Women’s Short Program 10 p.m.-12 a.m. USA Network | STREAM LINK
Friday Men’s Short Program 4:10-7 p.m. Peacock | Skate Order
Men’s Short Program 5-7 p.m. USA Network | STREAM LINK
Women’s Free Skate 7:45-11 p.m. Peacock | Skate Order
Women’s Free Skate 8-11 p.m. NBC | STREAM LINK
Saturday Free Dance 1:45-4:30 p.m. Peacock | Skate Order
Free Dance 2:30-4:30 p.m. NBC | STREAM LINK
Pairs’ Free Skate 7:30-10 p.m. Peacock | Skate Order
Pairs’ Free Skate 8-10 p.m. USA Network | STREAM LINK
Sunday Men’s Free Skate 2:30-6 p.m. Peacock
Men’s Free Skate 3-6 p.m. NBC | STREAM LINK

*All NBC and USA Network broadcasts also stream on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Bradie’s back: Tennell wows in U.S. Figure Skating Championships return from nightmare

1 Comment

SAN JOSE, California — Bradie Tennell stood at the end boards, her back to the ice surface, her attention on trying to take in what her imposing coach, Benoit Richaud, was telling her in the final seconds before she took the ice for Thursday’s short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

It was hard for Tennell to stay focused on – or even hear – what Richaud was saying. A group of kids from U.S. Figure Skating’s development camp, who were sitting in the stands near Tennell, started screaming their lungs out when they were shown on the SAP Center video board. Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar” was blasting at approximately 10 million decibels on the arena’s sound system.

“It was very distracting,” Tennell said, eschewing an athlete’s usual cliché about nothing being able to break her concentration. “But this past year has taught me nothing comes easy.”

It was a year of injuries, re-injuries, new injuries. A year when the two-time U.S. champion had been physically unable to compete for a spot on a second Olympic team in 2022. A year when Tennell turned her life inside out, moving to France to train with Richaud, only to have more setbacks.

“I’ve definitely had my share of bumps in the road on the way here,” Tennell said. “This was a very long time in the making.”

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

This was finishing second in the short program, a whisker behind event favorite Isabeau Levito. This was a Tennell performance marred only by unexpected mistakes on spins, her last of seven elements in the short program. This was a statement to anyone who wondered if she could be a factor in the sport again.

“I’m back, baby,” she said, her uncharacteristic bravado tempered by a laugh.

Richaud agreed.

“People can see the job we did, see the improvement,” Richaud said. “Clearly the message tonight is Bradie is one of the best skaters in the world.”

Her skating had a greater maturity and finesse, with striking flow and attention to details of hand movement and body position. She has vowed not to take a pass on any moment in her programs, knowing every second can produce more points.

“I’m a new and improved Bradie,” she said. “I don’t put a limit on myself.”

Tennell opened with a solid triple lutz-triple toe loop combination, the first time she had landed that combination cleanly since her victorious 2021 Nationals. She followed that with a strong triple flip and a good double Axel. A slip on her flying sit spin and a flawed combination spin would cost her the points that dropped her behind Levito, 73.78 to 73.76, going into Friday night’s free skate.

“Made a couple silly mistakes on spins,” Tennell said. “I think I got too excited.”

So as pleased as Tennell was with the result, she once again heard the two voices that quarrel inside her head. One says be satisfied just by being able to compete again; the other wants to win.

“One was jumping up and down with pompoms,” Tennell said. “The other was, ‘But you didn’t get the (highest) spin levels.'”

Starr Andrews was third at 68.97, her highest finish in any segment of the six nationals in which she has competed. Five years ago in this building, Andrews, then 16, had made a dazzling senior debut while finishing sixth, but she has struggled to build on that promise.

“Of course, I wondered if that was going to happen again,” Andrews said.

Andrews helped relive that past glory by wearing the same sparky carmine unitard she had in 2018.

“It was kind of a full circle,” Andrews said. “It was really amazing to be out there again. I felt really comfortable and confident.”

Tennell, too, had created a career-defining moment at this arena in 2018, winning the national title after having finished ninth a year before and going on to earn an Olympic team event bronze medal.

“This is where all my skating craziness started,” she said.

She, too, expressed a feeling of having come full circle. Yet another moment was on her mind as the auditory craziness swirled over her while Richaud, whom Tennell calls “a commanding presence,” was trying to keep her calm by repeating things he had told her earlier this season, when her return to competition had been fraught with poor performances.

Tennell was thinking about the 2019 Nationals in Detroit, when she had won the short program but coped poorly with an unexpected distraction before the free skate.

“I couldn’t get my focus back after that,” she said.

The result was a desultory fourth in the free skate, second overall and a pledge to learn from it.

“I’ve always said to myself if that happened again, I would handle it better,” she recalled.

And she did.

Philip Hersh, who has covered figure skating at the last 12 Winter Olympics, is a special contributor to NBCSports.com.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!