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Chris Horner joins NBC Sports Tour de France team

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Chris Horner, the only American Grand Tour champion of the last 29 years, will make his Tour de France commentary debut with NBC Sports next month.

Horner, who became the oldest Grand Tour winner at the 2013 Vuelta a España at age 41, will be part of NBC Sports’ traveling studio coverage of the Tour de France, hosted by Paul Burmeister, with retired American cyclist Christian Vande Velde reprising his role.

Bob Roll will move from the studio to call the action with Phil Liggett for the Tour that starts July 6. Liggett’s longtime partner, Paul Sherwen, died Dec. 2 at age 62 after being involved in 40 Tours de France.

Horner made his NBC Sports commentary debut for Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 28.

“Completely different than anything I’m used to,” he said. “I really just learned that it’s harder than it looks on TV. On TV, [viewers] just can’t understand how you miss that call or that play, but when you’re [a commentator] watching it on the screen and picking up some facts on the computer, looking down, looking up, it makes it kind of difficult to catch all of the action.”

Horner, a 2012 Olympian, competed in seven Tours with a best finish of ninth in 2010. His Grand Tour career ended at the 2014 Tour, but he still rides, having done the Cascade Classic in his native Oregon three weeks ago.

“I still carry a pro license, but I don’t really consider myself a pro by any means,” Horner said. “It’s no longer my job or my career or anything like that. I just love racing my bike. It’s an easier transition to keep racing a little bit and transition into the non-bike racing world.”

Watch world-class cycling events throughout the year with the NBC Sports Gold Cycling Pass, including all 21 stages of the Tour de France live & commercial-free, plus access to renowned races like La Vuelta, Paris-Roubaix, the UCI World Championships and many more.

MORE: NBC Sports launches Cycling Pass for 2019-20 season

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WATCH LIVE: Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem in French Open men’s final

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Rafael Nadal goes for a record-extending 12th French Open crown, while Dominic Thiem eyes his first major title at Roland Garros, live on NBC Sports.

Nadal and Thiem face off for a second straight French Open final. Thiem, a 25-year-old Austrian, has never taken a set off the Spaniard in three meetings on the Paris red clay.

If Nadal wins, he will have 18 Grand Slam singles titles, moving within two of Roger Federer‘s record total for the first time.

WATCH LIVE: French Open Men’s Final — 9 a.m. ET

Nadal, 33, has looked every bit the pre-tournament favorite, dropping just one set en route to the final. He swept No. 7 Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Roger Federer in the semifinals on Friday.

Thiem will attempt to pull off a first in Grand Slam history — beat Novak Djokovic and Nadal in back-to-back matches. He took out the top-ranked Serb in five sets in a semifinal that began Friday and finished Saturday, giving him half the rest that Nadal received going into the final.

Outside of Roland Garros, Thiem is 4-4 against Nadal on clay, including winning their last two meetings on the surface outside of Paris.

FRENCH OPEN: TV Schedule | Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

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WATCH LIVE: French Open women’s final

Ashleigh Barty, Marketa Vondrousova
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Ashleigh Barty and Marketa Vondrousva meet in one of the unlikeliest French Open women’s finals, live on NBC Sports.

Neither Barty, the No. 8 seed, nor Vondrousova, ranked No. 38, had been past the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam coming into Roland Garros. Only one other time since 1980 has a major final featured two players who had never made it to the last four (2005 French Open, Rafael Nadal over Mariano Puerta.)

One player will end Saturday lifting the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, signifying the biggest win of her career.

WATCH LIVE: French Open Women’s Final — 9 a.m. ET

The draw opened up for both players in an upset-filled two weeks.

Barty, the 2011 Wimbledon junior champion who left tennis to play cricket in 2015, was in Serena Williams‘ section and Naomi Osaka‘s quarter. But both of those favorites were upset in the first week.

Barty proved her Australian Open quarterfinal and Miami Open title earlier this season were no fluke, dumping three straight Americans to make the final (Sofia KeninMadison Keys and Amanda Anisimova).

She’s trying to join Sam Stosur as the only Australian women to win a Grand Slam singles title in the last 40 years.

Vondrousova, a 19-year-old Czech, was an even bigger surprise, becoming the first teen in a major final since Caroline Wozniacki at the 2009 U.S. Open.

She beat four straight seeded players (none in the top 10, though), getting to the final without dropping a set. The last woman to win Roland Garros with a perfect sets record was Justine Henin in 2007.

FRENCH OPEN: TV Schedule | Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

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