The sports wrap 28th August 2017


Froome extends Vuelta a Espana lead with Stage 9 victory

This year’s Tour de France winner Chris Froome has extended his lead in the Vuelta a Espana after winning stage 9 on Sunday. Froome, who has never won the Vuelta a Espana but finished runner-up three times, was leading by 28 seconds at the start of the day and attacked with 500 metres to go, holding off Esteban Chaves to win in 4hrs 7mins 13secs. He now has a 36-second lead over Colombia’s Chaves, who rides for Orica-Scott. The Team Sky rider is looking to become the first man to achieve a Tour-Vuelta double in 39 years. Only French greats Jacques Anquetil in 1963 and Bernard Hinault in 1978 have previously won both races in the same year. Four-time Tour de France winner Froome’s victory on the 174km stage from Orihuela to Benitachell sees him open a significant advantage over the rest of his general classification rivals. Behind second-placed Chaves, Ireland’s Nicolas Roche has fallen 65 seconds back, while Vincenzo Nibali is now 1min 17secs behind and Fabio Aru a further 16 seconds back.

Hamilton holds off Vettel for Belgian GP victory

Lewis Hamilton reduced his championship deficit to Sebastian Vettel to just seven points with a closely fought pole-to-flag victory in the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday. Hamilton, celebrating his 200th Formula 1 race, rarely led Vettel by more than two seconds in a tense battle until a late safety car added further jeopardy. As all the drivers pitted, Ferrari put the fastest ultra-soft tyres on Vettel while Mercedes put Hamilton on softs. But after fending off an attack by the German on the restart, Hamilton took back control and led to the flag. Australian Daniel Riccardo took third place for Red Bull. The Briton’s fifth success in 12 races this season, and 58th of his career, came a day after he equalled Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 68 pole positions. Vettel finished 2.3 seconds behind, after pushing his rival all the way without being able to get close enough to make a move stick in what amounted to a two-horse race of relentless pressure. With eight races remaining, four-times champion Vettel has 220 points and Hamilton 213.

Mayweather does the expected against martial arts champ 

Dubbed the biggest pay day in boxing history, unbeaten world champion Floyd Mayweather did exactly what was expected of him against boxing bunny Conor McGregor ending the bout in the 10th round on a technical knockout in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The 40-year-old ended his illustrious career with an unmatched 50-0 record by outclassing mixed martial arts champion McGregor in their crossover non-title bout. Mayweather was lured out of a near two-year retirement for the fight with what could amount to a $200 million payday but he was adamant that no amount of money would tempt him back into the ring once more. The win allowed the American to pull clear of heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 mark for most wins without a loss or draw. ”Rocky Marciano is a legend and I look forward to going into the Hall of Fame one day,“ Mayweather said in a post-fight interview ”This was my last fight tonight. For sure.”

PSG and Monaco both make it four wins out of four

Uruguayan Edinson Cavani scored twice as Paris St-Germain beat Saint-Etienne to make it four wins out of four in Ligue 1 and remain top on goal difference. Breathing down their necks are last season’s champions Monaco who also became the only other Ligue 1 team to keep their 100pct record with an easy 6-1 at home to Marseille. Cavani scored the opener for PSG from a penalty after he was fouled by Saidy Janko. Thiago Motta then scored the second after Marquinhos chested down a free-kick from Neymar – who was lively throughout with tricks and flicks. And Cavani turned home a late third with his heel to ensure PSG remain top of the league. Saint-Etienne – who had also won their opening three games – were better than the scoreline suggests and had 12 shots to PSG’s 14. Monaco, who played teenager Kylian Mbappe despite speculation he is moving to PSG, totally dominated their match against Marseille and were 5-0 up after 68 minutes. Marseille scored a consolation goal only to have Monaco add a sixth to complete the humiliation.

Manchester United keep 100pct record and stay top

Manchester United clinically despatched a resolute Leicester City 2-0 for a maximum nine points from their first three matches with second-half goals from substitutes Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini at Old Trafford. Neighbours Manchester City maintained their unbeaten record with a 2-1 win at Bournemouth with an injury-time winner from Raheem Sterling. However, the most stunning result of the weekend was at Anfield where Liverpool moved up behind United into second place with a 4-0 thrashing of a lacklustre Arsenal. Sitting in third place and still bemused by it all, are newly-promoted Huddersfield who are unbeaten on seven points from three matches after a draw at home to Southampton. Last season’s champions Chelsea had an impressive 2-0 over Everton at home on Sunday while Tottenham Hotspur were once again troubled by their jinxed temporary home at Wembley, conceding a late equaliser against Burnley.

Kiwis celebrate a winning weekend for NZ rugby

New Zealand celebrated a winning weekend for their rugby sides with the Black Ferns ending England’s reign as Women’s World Cup champions and the All Blacks winning a thriller against Australia in the Rugby Championship. New Zealand’s women ran in seven tries in Belfast on Saturday after an early scare when England led 17-5 approaching the break. But it was a narrow advantage having dominated territory and possession, and the Black Ferns made England pay for it. Prop Toka Natua led the way with a hat-trick as New Zealand became world champions for the fifth time. It was a dizzying, end-to-end contest for the first 70 minutes, before New Zealand finally managed to secure a decisive lead, and although Izzy Noel-Smith had the last word for England, it was a consolation score. In Dunedin, the All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup for the 15th year in a row with a late try from Beauden Barrett which gave them a thrilling 35-29 victory over Australia in a dramatic Rugby Championship game. Australia were 17-14 in front on the hour mark but Barrett’s first try sparked a frenetic finish. Will Genia touched down to restore the Wallabies’ lead, only for Ben Smith to respond with an outstanding score. Kurtley Beale put Australia back in front but Barrett’s 78th-minute try secured victory for the All Blacks. After last week’s 54-34 victory in Sydney, it was a memorable way for the world champions to retain the Bledisloe Cup.

West Indies continue turnaround as England struggle

West Indies’ remarkable turnaround after being trashed by an innings in the first Test continued on the third day at Headingley with England fighting to stay in contention, ending the day two runs ahead with seven second innings wickets remaining. The West Indies were all out for 427 in their first innings, 169 ahead of England, and had the hosts in trouble at 94 for three before captain Joe Root dug in. Mark Stoneman (52) hit his first Test half-century before being bowled by Shannon Gabriel. Tom Westley failed again but Root and Dawid Malan fought well to steer England to 171-3 at the close. Root reached an unbeaten 45 on his home ground, with Malan also showing excellent application to reach 21 not out, despite West Indies failing to review when he would have been given out caught behind. At the start of the third day, James Anderson took two wickets with the first two balls of the day before the tourists recovered to post 427.

Andy Murray pulls out of US Open with hip injury

Britain’s world number two Andy Murray pulled out of the U.S. Open on Saturday, citing a hip injury. The Scot, who had not played since losing in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, said he had tried everything to be fit for the final Grand Slam of the year, which starts on Monday. “I tried obviously resting, rehabbing to try and get myself ready here,” an emotional Murray told a news conference at Flushing Meadows. “I was actually practicing OK the last few days but it’s too sore for me to win the tournament, and ultimately that’s what I was here to try and do.” The three-times grand slam winner, who won the U.S. Open in 2012, has been struggling with the injury for much of the summer. With world number five Novak Djokovic also out through injury, Roger Federer, winner of the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, and Rafael Nadal, who is back to No.1 in the world, could face each other in a semi-final showdown for their first ever battle at the US Open. After 37 meetings all over the world, including in the final of each of the other three grand slams, a U.S. Open clash would complete the set. It is a contest Wimbledon champion Federer, who beat Nadal to win the Australian Open in January, would relish, having also beaten his long-time rival in Indian Wells and Miami this year.

Dovizioso wins British MotoGP to go top of championship

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso rode to victory in the British MotoGP and replaced Marc Marquez at the top of the championship after the Spaniard’s Honda engine blew up at Silverstone on Sunday. Dovizioso snatched the lead from the great Valentino Rossi with three laps left before claiming his fourth win of 2017. The Italian leads the championship by nine points from Marquez, whose bike broke down with seven laps remaining. Britain’s Cal Crutchlow was fourth on his Honda. Spanish Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales finished second, with seven-time champion Rossi coming home in third. Italian Rossi made his record 300th start in a premier-class race, and he gave himself a great chance of claiming his 90th win at this level when he snatched the lead from Marquez on the opening lap. But his advantage was gradually ground down by Dovizioso and Vinales before he was passed by his compatriot.

For full reports on all the weekend sporting events go to:,,,,,

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Calendar Keynotes: 28 August – 3 September

Monday, 28 August
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, rest day
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)

Tuesday, 29 August
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 10, Caravaca de la Cruz – Alham de Murcia (164.8km -mountains)
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)

Wednesday, 30 August
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 11, Lorca – Cala Alto (187.5km – summit finish)
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)

Thursday, 31 August
Football: World Cup qualifying – France v Netherlands (Group A)
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 12, Motril – Antiquera (160.1km – hilly)
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)

Friday, 1 September
Football: World Cup qualifying – Czech Republic v Germany (Group C), Lithuania v Scotland, Malta v England (Group F).
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 13, Coin – Tomares (198.4km – hilly)
Formula 1 – Italian Grand Prix, Monza (till 3 September)
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)

Saturday, 2 September
Football: World Cup qualifying – Georgia v Republic of Ireland, Wales v Austria (Group D), Spain v Italy (Group G)
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 14, Ecija – La Pandera (175km – summit finish)
Formula 1 – Italian Grand Prix, Monza (till 3 September)
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)
Rugby Union: France Top 14 – Montpellier Herault v Oyonnax. English Aviva Premiership – Saracens v Northampton.

Sunday, 3 September
Football: World Cup qualifying – France v Luxembourg (Group A)
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 15, Alcala La Real – Sierra Nevada (129.4km – mountains, summit finish)
Formula 1 – Italian Grand Prix, Monza
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)