Michael Matthews wins Tour de France stage 14 after solo ride

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MENDE, France — Michael Matthews soloed to victory on the 14th stage of the Tour de France on Saturday when defending champion Tadej Pogacar tried in vain to regain time on leader Jonas Vingegaard.

Matthews’ fourth stage win came five years after the Australian last tasted victory in France.

The one-day classic specialist was in a group of 23 riders who broke from the pack after a frenetic start to the stage punctuated by a flurry of attacks on hilly ground from Saint-Etienne to Mende.

After spending the day at the front of the race, Matthews looked like he was about to crack when he was caught by Italian Alberto Bettiol on the last climb, but his grit helped him stay in contention and launch a counterattack that paid off.

“Matthews put on a show. He has days like that when he is very strong,” said French rider Thibaut Pinot, who completed the stage podium behind Matthews and Bettiol. “He really amazes me. Doing the sprints he does, and climbing like he does, in his field he is the best.”

With its constant ups and downs, the stage profile through the Massif Central was ideal for a breakaway. Not surprisingly, many riders with no personal ambition in the general classification were on the attack from the off to tear apart the peloton.

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

More surprisingly, defending champion Pogacar was also on the move as he tried to upset his rivals just 10 kilometers into the 193-kilometer route, forcing Vingegaard to react and chase.

The unorthodox strategy played havoc in the bunch as Primoz Roglic, a key lieutenant of Vingegaard within the Jumbo-Visma team, struggled at the back.

Belgian allrounder Wout van Aert, also riding for Jumbo-Visma, worked hard to pace his leader through the mayhem and things finally calmed down after an hour of spectacular and brutal racing as the group of main contenders eased the pace to let the breakaway form.

Matthews, from the BikeExchange-Jayco team, launched a solo effort about 50 kilometers from the finish and reduced the leading group to just four men.

He was joined at the front by Bettiol in the Côte de la Croix Neuve, a short but punishing three-kilometer ascent with a gradient of more than 10% followed by a short descent across the airfield to the finish line.

Matthews fought hard to stay in Bettiol’s wheel then countered his rival near the top of the climb and never looked back.

The truce in the group of main contenders lasted until the Côte de la Croix Neuve when Pogacar attacked again. Vingagaard was unimpressed and followed at ease, with the pair crossing the line 12 minutes, 34 seconds behind.

Overall, Vingegaard leads Pogacar, still by two minutes, 22 seconds. Geraint Thomas, who was dropped by the pair in the final climb, was third, 2:43 off the pace.

Before Monday’s rest day and a final week marked by the crossing of the Pyrenees and an individual time trial before the race reaches Paris in eight days, Sunday’s stage from Rodez to Carcassonne should favor sprinters.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

Boxing gloves
Getty
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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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