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Dec 20, 2012 7:43pm
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LA PLANCHE DES BELLES FILLES SKI STATION, France—Bradley Wiggins gave Britain
its first Tour de France leader in 12 years on Saturday, wresting the yellow
jersey from Fabian Cancellara after being helped by a powerful escort in the
races mountain debut. Henry Melton Jersey . In the Tours first big
shake-up, the Sky squad was dominant up the first summit finish to allow
Christopher Froome to win the seventh stage from Tomblaine to La Planche des
Belles Filles ski station. The 199-kilometre trek into the Vosges range went a
long way toward shaping the three-week race as experts predicted before the
start—a showdown between Wiggins and defending champion Cadel Evans. In a
five-rider breakaway group on the final climb, Evans tried an attack just before
the super-steep climb in the last kilometre—but Froome beat him by two
seconds as Wiggins hugged close to the Australians back wheel. After the finish,
compatriots Wiggins and Froome hugged, with Wiggins becoming the first Briton
since David Millar in 2000 to wear the yellow jersey. Cancellara, the Swiss
time-trial specialist who had worn the jersey since winning the opening prologue
a week ago, is 1 minute, 52 seconds behind Froome—but more importantly 1:50
back of Wiggins. The Sky leader, who began the day seven seconds behind
Cancellara in second place overall, leads Evans by 10 seconds. Vincenzo Nibali
of Italy was fourth to climb to third overall, 16 seconds behind. “Its a great
day for the team, we won the stage and took the yellow jersey,” said Wiggins.
“This is my first time in the yellow jersey. Its incredible—its been a dream
of mine since I was a kid.” Giro dItalia champion and Victoria native Ryder
Hesjedal pulled out of the race before the start of the stage after being
injured in a multi-rider crash Friday. Wiggins has more breathing room than
Cancellara had, with only five riders within a minute of his time—including
Denis Menchov of Russia, who won the 2009 Giro and Spanish Vuelta in 2005 and
2007. The Swiss rider, by contrast, had had 22 riders within 48 seconds of his
time before Saturdays ride. Wiggins, a three-time Olympic track gold medallist ,
became the pre-race favourite after winning the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and
Criterium du Dauphine stage races earlier this year. With two time trials and
more climbing days in the Alps and Pyrenees still to come, Wiggins played down
speculation that he mightve taken the lead too early with the finish in Paris on
July 22. “You cant get too cocky in this race and choose when you take the
yellow jersey. Id much rather be in yellow than in hospital—like half the
peloton,” he said, referring to crashes on Friday that forced at least 12 riders
to quit the race. Wiggins crashed out of the 2011 Tour because of a broken
collarbone and said he felt “lucky” he has been trouble-free this year. Froome
was part of the Team Sky phalanx that powered up the final climb. With most
rivals falling away, the Kenyan-born Briton overcame Evans late surge to burst
ahead to the finish. “He was really strong. He controlled the last two to three
kilometres well,” Evans said of Froome. “I thought I could anticipate it thanks
to the turn and gain some speed to launch the sprint—but he had the legs and
overtook me.” The 35-year-old Australian senses hes in for a challenge from Sky.
“With Wiggins on a team like that, its going to be difficult,” Evans said.
Froome, who took the polka-dot jersey as the Tours best climber, said he was
surprised Evans couldnt keep pace. The Australian was puffing and his face
glistening with sweat as he crossed the finish. “I kept waiting for him to go,
but he never really went. To me that says one thing—that he didnt have the
legs,” Froome said. “It really wasnt a big acceleration that I put in. I went
for it and just coasted toward the line. “Hopefully hes not holding anything
back, and hes not going to surprise us in the next few days,” Froome said. “I
think that he and Bradley looked to be quite on par.” Wiggins said he is
focusing on Evans. “You saw it today, Cadel never gives up,” Wiggins said. The
stage marked the first of three summit finishes in this 99th Tour edition.
Nimbler mountain specialists seized the limelight after a first week dominated
by sprinters across the flatter regions of Belgium—where the race began June
30—and northern France. The final ascent, at 5.9 kilometres, was relatively
short as far as the Tours biggest climbs go. But it was steep, with a gruelling
14-per cent gradient in the last 500 metres. Seven riders broke away from the
pack after 15 kilometres and held the lead until the start of the final climb.
Team Sky then pressed the pelotons pace before overtaking. The three-week race
takes riders on another bumpy ride Sunday, with seven climbs in the
157.5-kilometre course from Belfort to Porrentruy. Brian Urlacher Pink Jersey . Price will be
going up against lefty Ricky Romero, who hasnt won since beating the Miami
Marlins back on June 22, and owns a 7.16 ERA over that span. Romero, an All-Star
last season, has lost his last four starts and his last 11 decisions, with his
previous win against an American League team coming against Chicago back on June
5. Walter Payton Pink Jersey .5-million,
three-year deal on Tuesday. League, acquired by the Dodgers from the Seattle
Mariners at the July trade deadline, went 2-1 with six saves and a 2. http://www.shopchicagobearsgear.com/womens-lance-briggs-nike-jersey/
.C. —Sprint Cup points leader Greg Biffle feels hes running like he used to at
Darlington Raceway and thats bad news for the rest of the Southern 500 field. Brian Urlacher Womens Jersey . Joey Elliott
will replace Alex Brink under centre for the Bombers when they play host to the
Hamilton Tiger-Cats this Thursday. Julius Peppers Womens Jersey .S. Open because
of a rib injury. Snedeker, who won at Torrey Pines earlier this year, withdrew
from the Memorial after making the cut.OAKLAND, Calif. —The way Tommy Milone
was dealing in the late innings, there was little doubt he would get a chance to
finish what he started. Milone pitched a three-hitter for his first career
complete game, Yoenis Cespedes had two hits and an RBI in his return to the
Oakland lineup and the Athletics beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 on Wednesday
night for their seventh win in eight games. “It felt like I was the closer,”
Milone said. “Its such a good feeling. Hopefully you make good pitches
throughout the game. Luckily I did and I was able to be out there in the ninth.”
Cespedes scored Oaklands first run after a double and added an RBI single in the
fifth to back another strong start at home by Milone (7-5) as the As took their
second straight from the first-place Dodgers. Milone walked one, struck out two
and retired 22 of the final 24 hitters he faced, with Jerry Hairston Jr. hitting
an infield single in the seventh and Dee Gordon reaching on an error by second
baseman Jemile Weeks in the eighth. Milone threw 112 pitches in Oaklands first
complete game of the season. He snapped a four-start winless streak and improved
to 5-1 at the Coliseum with a major league-leading 0.99 ERA at home. “Its
definitely a lot easier to pitch here just because you can leave a ball over the
plate and they hit a good fly ball like they did at times tonight and theres a
bunch of room so our guys can track it down,” Milone said. Nathan Eovaldi (0-3)
was once again a tough-luck loser for the Dodgers as he failed to get support
from his hitters and also made a defensive blunder that keyed a two-run fifth
inning for the As. After Eric Sogard singled and Coco Crisp walked, Weeks laid
down a sacrifice bunt attempt that Eovaldi fielded. He looked at third before
throwing to first with that slight hesitation allowing Weeks to beat out the
play for a hit that left Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly shaking his head in
disgust in the dugout. Josh Reddick, mired in an 0-for-19 slump, followed by
hitting into a double play that scored Sogard and gave Oakland a 2-1 lead.
Cespedes hit an RBI single to make it 3-1. “We need to take the out there,”
Mattingly said. “Thats one that he knows hes got to barehand it. With that guy
running he checks third and then its too late. As soon as he checks thirrd were
like, Oh God. Brian Urlacher Bears Jersey. That was one. We
gave them an extra base there and they end up with two runs in that inning.”
Cespedes returned to the lineup after getting just one at-bat since June 7
because of a strained left hamstring. He had no problems adjusting to a new role
as designated hitter, hitting the ball hard all four times, including a fly out
to the wall in the eighth inning. “Every at-bat was good,” manager Bob Melvin
said. “One thing you worry about is pitch selection and whether or not hes
prepared for the breaking ball after the layoff. Boy he was on it. It was pretty
impressive to see.” Eovaldi allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings.
The Dodgers are winless in his five starts even though he has a 2.35 ERA and
hasnt allowed more than three runs in any game. The Dodgers have been held to
one run and five hits in losing the first two games of this series. “Its
baseball man, you cant hit all the time,” Hairston said. “Its one of those
things where we had a really good stretch. Its obviously a combination of really
good pitching and its just the game, thats how it goes sometimes.” Brandon Moss
added his seventh homer for Oakland in the eighth to make it 4-1. Both teams
scored their first run on doubles that hit off the glove of an opposing
outfielder. Reddick nearly made a diving catch in right field to rob Juan Uribe
in the second inning but the ball popped out of his glove as he hit the ground
and Juan Rivera scored on the RBI double. Dodgers centre fielder Tony Gwynn Jr.
was unable to make a running catch in left-centre in the fourth against
Seth Smith with the ball hitting off his outstretched glove to allow Cespedes to
score the tying run. NOTES: Melvin said RHP Tyson Ross will be called up from
Triple-A Sacramento to start Saturday in place of injured RHP Bartolo Colon
(strained right oblique muscle). ... The As played a video tribute to injured
Dodgers 2B Mark Ellis, who spent parts of nine seasons in Oakland before being
traded to Colorado last year. ... Travis Blackley (1-2), coming off his first
win since 2004, takes the mound for Oakland in the series finale against Dodgers
ace Clayton Kershaw (5-3). ... The As raised more than $24,000 for juvenile
diabetes research from their annual Root Beer Float Day. ’ ’ ’ 

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