The sports wrap, Monday 31 August, 2020

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French rider Julian Alaphilippe wins Tour de France Stage 2 on Sunday

French rider Alaphilippe takes the yellow jersey after Stage 2

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe won Stage 2 of the Tour de France on Sunday in a sprint finish to claim the yellow jersey in Nice. The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider held off Swiss rider Marc Hirschi to edge home by half a wheel after leaving Britain’s Adam Yates behind in a final dart for the line. He leads Michelton-Scott’s Yates, who finished third, by four seconds in the overall standings. It was a fifth stage victory at the Tour for the 28-year-old, after the riders faced a 186km mountainous second stage in the high Alps, with two climbs above 1,500m and ascents of La Colmiane and the Col de Turini. However, the day’s main action unfolded in the hills behind Nice with a rasping burst of acceleration from Alaphilippe on the ascent of the Col des Quatre Chemins with a shade over 13km remaining. Team Sunweb’s Hirschi, the former world under-23 champion, had been touted by some as an outsider for the day’s stage and he lived up to that billing by forging across to Alaphilippe shortly afterwards, while Yates produced a smooth acceleration with 11km to go to bridge a 10-second gap to the two leaders. Yates even denied Alaphilippe the maximum eight bonus seconds at the summit with 9km to go, but the trio collaborated smoothly on the descent that followed, extending their lead from 14 seconds over a very reduced peloton by the time they reached the final 5km. With 200 metres to go, Alaphilippe finally lifted himself from the saddle and while. Hirschi reacted well, the Swiss couldn’t quite overhaul the Frenchman.

Hamilton eases to another win in Belgian Grand Prix

World champion Lewis Hamilton extended his lead at the top of the overall Formula One standings with an unchallenged drive to victory in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix. The Briton, who started from pole and led every lap, crossed the line 8.4 seconds ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas who once again gave Mercedes a one-two finish. Dutchman Max Verstappen, taking his sixth consecutive podium finish in his Red Bull, was third. Hamilton’s win at a sunny Spa-Francorchamps circuit on Sunday, which left him two short of Michael Schumacher’s record tally of 91 victories, was his fifth in seven races. It lifted him 47 points clear

Thumbs-up as Lewis Hamilton wins yet another F1 Grand Prix on Sunday

of Verstappen in the overall standings after 10 of this season’s 17 races. Bottas closed the gap to Verstappen but remained third. Daniel Ricciardo, who took the extra point for fastest lap, finished fourth in his Renault ahead of team-mate Esteban Ocon who snatched fifth from Red Bull’s Alexander Albon on the final lap.  Lando Norris, the sole McLaren in the race after team-mate Carlos Sainz failed to make the start due to an exhaust issue, was seventh ahead of Pierre Gasly who scythed through the field in his Toro Rosso on his hard compound tyres in the early laps. The Racing Point pair of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10. Ferrari, winners in Belgium for the last two years, finished out of the points. Already enduring a miserable weekend, their lack of speed was laid bare down the Spa track’s long straights, with rivals picking them off with ease.

Arsenal beat Liverpool in FA Community Shield

FA Cup winners Arsenal beat league champions Liverpool 5-4 on penalties on Saturday to lift the annual FA Community Shield, the curtain-raiser for the English domestic season, after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Wembley. Arsenal captain and match goal-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired in the final

Arsenal celebrate their FA Community Shield victory over LIverpool at Wembley

penalty of the afternoon to complete the north London side’s second win over the league champions in the space of six weeks following a shortened summer break. The game was a very even and at times rather pedestrian affair with Arsenal opening the scoring through a perfectly directed shot in the 12th minute from Aubameyang before Japanese substitute Takumi Minamino equalized in the 73rd minute with a close-range strike.

In the Scottish Premiership, leaders Rangers moved three points clear and equalled a 114-year defensive record with a routine 2-0 win at Hamilton Academical. The scoreline flattered the 10-man hosts as Steven Gerrard’s side missed a succession of chances after

James Tavernier’s goal helped Rangers extend their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership

early goals from Ianis Hagi and James Tavernier. Hamilton had Scott McMann dismissed for a second yellow in 75 minutes. Rangers go clear of Hibernian, who surprisingly lost 1-0 at home to  Aberdeen on Sunday, while champions Celtic, who have played two games fewer, moved to third after an easy 3-0 home win over Motherwell

In French Ligue 1, striker Kasper Dolberg netted twice as Nice won 2-0 at Strasbourg to grab the early-season lead in the table on Saturday. Nice, who had six players booked during the encounter, top the table with six points after two games. Paris Saint Germain will begin their bid for an eighth Ligue 1 title in nine years on 10 September after being granted an extended break to recover from last Sunday’s Champions League final. Denmark’s Dolberg broke the deadlock with a 37th-minute penalty after Lamine Kone brought down Eddy Sylvestre, and the 22-year-old added a delightful lob in the second half to complete the scoring. Bordeaux moved up to second place after a 2-0 victory at Angers whiles Rennes beat Montpellier 2-1 at home to go to third behind Bordeaux on goal difference, along with Lille, Monaco and Nantes.

In the Women’s Champions League,  Lyon won the trophy for a fifth consecutive year as they beat Wolfsburg 3-1 in San Sebastian. Sunday’s victory saw England right-back Lucy Bronze win her third straight European crown with the French club, who have claimed a record seven titles. France’s Eugenie le Sommer opened the scoring and Japan’s Saki Kumagai lashed in to put Lyon 2-0 up at half-time. Alexandra Popp headed in for Wolfsburg after the break but Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir’s late third sealed it.

England beat Pakistan in superb T20 run chase

England brilliantly chased 196 to beat Pakistan by five wickets in the second Twenty20 international at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday. Captain Eoin Morgan smashed a 33-ball 66 and Dawid Malan was 55 not out as England won with five balls to spare. The pair put on 112 from 62 deliveries after England had lost opener Jonny Bairstow and Tom Banton in successive balls to leg-spinner Shadab Khan. With 18 needed England briefly

Shaheen Afridi attempts to run out England captain Eoin Morgan at Old Trafford on Sunday

stuttered, losing Morgan and Moeen Ali in the space of six balls, but the composed Malan saw England home. It was another fine batting performance from England’s white-ball outfit – the highest chase by any side against Pakistan in T20s. It also made up for a ragged bowling performance which saw Mohammad Hafeez propel Pakistan to their total with a 69 from 36 balls. England, who have won their past five T20 series, go into Tuesday’s finale knowing they will at least draw this three-match series, after the first match was washed out. It was England’s third highest chase in T20 cricket and their second of over 190 this year, having made 226-5 to beat South Africa in February. Bairstow and Banton gave England a platform – their 66-run opening stand coming from 6.2 overs – but Morgan and Malan combined for a partnership brimming with skill and experience.

Spaniard Rahm beats Johnson in dramatic BMW play-off 

Jon Rahm beat Dustin Johnson on the first hole of a play-off in a dramatic climax to the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields in Illinois, Chicago on Sunday.  Spaniard Rahm, 25, looked set to be crowned champion after a bogey-free six-under 64 left him on four under.But Johnson, who won last week by 11 shots, birdied the 15th then holed a 43-foot putt on 18 to force extra holes. Rahm then holed an even longer putt on the same green in

Spain’s Jon Rahm beat Dustin Johnson in the BMW Championship on Sunday

the play-off while the American’s effort finished short. Rahm came from three shots behind going into the day after Johnson was tied for the lead with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama itoSunday;s final round. The Ryder Cup player made back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16 in a sparkling round to set the clubhouse target. His only dropped shot of the weekend was a one-stroke penalty for picking up his ball without having marked it on Saturday. Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and Matsuyama finished a further stroke back at two under par on the North course at Chicago’s Olympia Fields. England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick ended the weekend four shots off the lead at level par after a final-day 67.

Djokovic beats Raonic in warm-up win for US Open

World No.1 Novak Djokovic kept up his unbeaten record in 2020 with a 1-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Milos Raonic to win the Western and Southern Open and provide a perfect warm-up for the US Open which starts on Monday.  The Serb, 33, equalled Rafael Nadal’s record of 35 Masters 1000 Series titles with the comeback win in New York. Canadian Raonic, the world No.30, took the first set in 31 minutes. But Djokovic levelled before coming from 2-0 down to the 29-year-old in the deciding set to clinch his 80th ATP title in exactly two hours. Since the creation of the Masters 1000 in 2009, Djokovic

Novak Djokovic on his way to victory over Milos Raonic in the final of the Western and Southern Open

is the only player to claim all nine events – known as the Career Golden Masters – and this victory means he has achieved the feat twice. Raonic, a former world no.3, had not beaten Djokovic in 10 previous meetings but produced some superb strokeplay to dominate the opening set. The event is usually held in Ohio but was switched to New York to reduce unnecessary player travel before the US Open in the same city. In the women’s singles, former US Open champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the final with a left hamstring injury. The Japanese world No.10 was due to play Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka who is champion by default, the former world No.1’s first title since 2016.

Exeter extend lead at top with thrashing of Worcester

Second rower Jonny Hill and Sam Simmonds scored hat-tricks as Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs dominated below-strength Worcester with a nine-try 59-7 victory. The hosts had the bonus point wrapped up inside 30 minutes as Simmonds twice went over along with Hill’s first and an excellent try by Jack Nowell. Hill completed his hat-trick late in the first half before Stuart Hogg crossed 30 seconds after the restart. Jacques Vermeulen got

Jonny Hill scored a hat-trick of tries in Exeter’s nine-try thrashing of Worcester

the eighth try and Simmonds added his third before Ashley Beck scored a consolation. The win sent chiefs 14 points clear of second-placed Sale after Sharks leapfrogged Bristol with a rushless 40-7 win on Saturday, while Worcester remain in 10th place. Three early tries set up Sale’s thrashing of Bristol at AJ Bell Stadium. A barnstorming opening saw Luke James, Denny Solomona and Faf de Klerk cross for converted tries inside 20 minutes. Sam James then put Sale 26-0 up with a score out wide, before Alapati Leiua’s try cut the deficit prior to the break. But slick home moves saw Marlon Yarde touch down and Luke James add a second try as they closed out a routine win.

Wigan beat Castleford to stay top of Super League

Wigan Warriors kept their lead at the top of Super League as they came from behind to beat Castleford Tigers 30-22 on Saturday. The Tigers, who stepped into the fixture earlier this week after three positive Covid-19 tests were recorded by Wigan’s original opponents Catalans Dragons, went ahead through Gareth O’Brien and Nathan Massey but Sam Powell and Joe Burgess swiftly replied. Ben Flower added to Wigan’s tally but Derrell Olpherts crossed in the corner for Castleford after the break. Tries by Liam Farrell and Joe Bullock wrapped up the home win, before Michael Shenton’s clever late score. The result means Wigan maintain their 100 percent record since the restart but champions St Helens are breathing down their necks two points behind after beating Hull KR 32-18 away from home.. The Catalans moved down to fourth spot two points behind St Helens and Warrington Wolves who thrashed Wakefield Trinity 36-0 on Sunday. However, the Dragons have played two games less than the top three.

Second China Diamond League meeting cancelled

The IAAF Diamond League has cancelled its second Chinese meeting, further reducing this year’s athletics calendar. The meeting was due to take place on October 17, at an undecided venue, but has joined its Chinese counterpart Shanghai in being axed from this year’s schedule, truncated due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Shanghai meeting was due to take place on September 19, but was cancelled following an announcement from China’s General Administration of Sports in July which suspended all international sporting events in the country for the rest of the year. This month, Diamond League meetings have taken place in Monaco and Stockholm, with four more meetings scheduled to take place in September in Lausanne, Brussels, Rome-Naples and Doha.

For full coverage of sporting events go to: 

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Calendar Keynotes: 31 August – 6 September  

Monday, 31 August

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 3, Nice to Sisteron, 198km (till 20 September).

Tennis: US Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, Flushing Meadow, New York (till 13 September).

Tuesday, 1 September

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 4, Sisteron to Orcieres-Merlette, 160.5km (till 20 September).

Tennis: US Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, Flushing Meadow, New York (till 13 September).

Cricket: International Twenty20, England v Pakistan, Old Trafford, Manchester.

Wednesday, 2 September

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 5, Gap to Privas, 183km (till 20 September).

Tennis: US Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, Flushing Meadow, New York (till 13 September).

Athletics: IAAF Diamond League, Lausanne.

Thursday, 3 September

Football: UEFA Nations League (major nations) – Slovenia v Greece, Germany v Spain, Ukraine v Switzerland, Russia v Serbia, Turkey v Hungary, Bulgaria v Republic of Ireland, Finland v Wales.

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 6, Le Teil to Mantaigoual, 191km (till 20 September).

Tennis: US Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, Flushing Meadow, New York (till 13 September).

Rugby League: Super League – Salford Red Devils v Castleford Tigers, Hull KR v Wigan Warriors, Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos.

Golf: European Tour, Andalucia Masters, Real Club Valderrama, Andalucia, Spain (till 6 September).

Friday, 4 September

Football: UEFA Nations League (major nations) – Italy v Bosnia-Herzegovina, Netherlands v Poland, Norway v Austria, Romania v Northern Ireland, Scotland v Israel, Slovakia v Czech Republic.

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 7, Millau to Lavaur, 168km (till 20 September).

Tennis: US Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, Flushing Meadow, New York (till 13 September).

Formula One: Italian Grand Prix, Monza (till 6 September).

Cricket: International Twenty20, England v Australia, The Ageas Bowl, Southampton.

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership – Worcester Warriors v Bristol, Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs, French Top 14 – Stade Francais v Bordeaux Begles.

Rugby League: Super League – Huddersfield Giants v St Helens, Warrington Wolves v Hull FC.

Golf: USPGA Tour, Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia (till 7 September), European Tour, Andalucia Masters, Real Club Valderrama, Andalucia, Spain (till 6 September).

Athletics: British Championships, Manchester Regional Arena, Manchester (till 5 September).

Saturday, 5 September  

Football: UEFA Nations League (major nations) – Iceland v England, Denmark v Belgium, Portugal v Croatia, Sweden v France, EFL Cup (Championship clubs only) – Derby County v Barrow, Walsall v Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley v Nottingham Forest, Rochdale v Huddersfield Town, Salford City v Rotherham United, Plymouth Argyle v Queens Park Rangers, Crawley Town v Millwall, Bristol City v Exeter City, Birmingham City v Cambridge United, Ipswich Town v Bristol Rovers, Luton Town v Norwich City, Newport County v Swansea City, Northampton Town v Cardiff City, Reading v Colchester United.

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 8, Cazeres-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle, 141km (till 20 September).

Tennis: US Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, Flushing Meadow, New York (till 13 September).

Formula One:  Italian Grand Prix, Monza (till 6 September).

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership – Saracens v Wasps, Harlequins v Bath, Leicester Tigers v Sale, Gloucester v London Irish, French Top 14 – La Rochelle v Toulon, Agen v Castres, Brive v Bayonne, Lyon v Racing 92, Montpellier v Pau.

Golf: USPGA Tour, Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia (till 7 September), European Tour, Andalucia Masters, Real Club Valderrama, Andalucia, Spain (till 6 September).

Athletics: British Championships, Manchester Regional Arena, Manchester (final day), IAAF Diamond League, Brussels.

Sunday, 6 September

Football: UEFA Nations League (major nations) – Kosovo v Greece, Spain v Ukraine, Switzerland v Germany, Hungary v Russia, Serbia v Turkey, Wales v Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland v Finland, EFC Cup – Brentford v Wycombe Wanderers.

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 9, Pau to Laruns, 153km (till 20 September).

Tennis: US Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, Flushing Meadow, New York (till 13 September).

Formula One: Italian Grand Prix, Monza (race day).

Cricket: International Twenty20, England v Australia, The Ageas Bowl, Southampton.

Rugby Union: French Top 14 – Clermont Auvergne v Toulouse.

Golf: USPGA Tour, Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia (till 7 September), European Tour, Andalucia Masters, Real Club Valderrama, Andalucia, Spain (final day).