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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Froome claims fourth Tour title

Sports Shorts: Froome claims fourth Tour title

July 23, 2017 22:15 IST

Near perfect Froome claims fourth Tour title

Chris Froome

IMAGE:  Chris Froome of Great Britain and Team Sky toasts a glass of champagne with his team. Photograph: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Chris Froome put on a near-perfect performance to claim his fourth Tour de France and move within one title of cycling's greatest on Sunday as Team Sky tightened their grip on the classic race.

The Briton suffered a few hiccups but was always in control over the three-week race thanks to his excellent team mates who sheltered him when it mattered, leaving the lanky rider to make the difference in the time trials.

Sky, who have the biggest budget of the peloton, have now snatched five of the last six titles and came within a whisker of placing two riders on the podium as Spain's Mikel Landa missed out on the top three by one second, according to provisional timings.

Froome is now one title behind Belgian Eddy Merckx, Spain's Miguel Indurain and French duo Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault.

He is the first to win three consecutive titles since Indurain, who prevailed from 1991-95. The disgraced Lance Armstrong's seven titles since then have been erased from the record book.

Colombian Rigoberto Uran finished second overall, 54 seconds behind, and France's Romain Bardet, runner-up last year, was third, 2:20 off the pace after both riders lost time to Froome in Saturday's final time trial.

Sunday's largely processional stage from Montgeron -- where the first Tour started in 1903 -- to the Champs Elysees in Paris was won by Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen in a bunch sprint.

The 103-km ride was the occasion for Froome to sip rose Champagne with his team mates as the race began only when the peloton, who went through the Grand Palais, reached the Champs Elysees.

Froome suffered two mechanical problems at key points in the race but his rivals failed to take full advantage of the failures.

In the ninth stage, they waited for him after Fabio Aru attacked near the top of the final climb, and his main rivals did not go for the throat a week later after the Briton broke a spoke in his rear wheel and found himself trailing by 45 seconds.

He was beaten in a brutal uphill finish in Peyragudes as the 26-year-old Bardet won the stage, showing he has the potential to win the Tour.

Bardet and the other overall contenders were too weak in the time trials however. Froome was well aware of that and he took few risks, knowing he would settle the score on the penultimate day in Marseille.

France had a great Tour with five stage wins, including a double by Warren Barguil, who won the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification and emerged as a popular figure, bringing back memories of Richard Virenque.

Australian Michael Matthews's versatility earned him the green jersey for the points classification, helped by the fact that world champion Peter Sagan was kicked out of the race after elbowing Mark Cavendish in a sprint finish.

Britain's Simon Yates won the white jersey for the best under-25 rider after finishing seventh overall, one year after his twin brother Adam achieved the same feat.

Aditi in title contention

Aditi Ashok

IMAGE: Aditi Ashok in action. Photograph: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Aditi Ashok continued to make waves as she moved into title contention with a three-under 68 that took her from sixth to tied-third at the end of the third round of the Marathon Classic on the LPGA in Sylvania, USA.

Aditi, who is also seeking to qualify for her third Major of the season, the Ricoh Women's British Open, is in contention for the title for the first time in her rookie season.

After having made eight cuts in 11 starts, Aditi has been hovering around 25th to 30th places in last few events and this could be a real breakthrough for her as she sits just three shots back of the lead held by Nelly Korda.

Aditi was even par on her front nine before making three birdies on her back nine to fire a 3-under-par 68 and she credited her approach around the greens as the key to her fine play this week.

"The greens are smaller here, so I've just been focusing on hitting more greens because if you hit the green here you pretty much have a makeable birdie putt, so I've been focusing on that as opposed to attacking the pins, which I usually do sometimes, and I leave myself short-sided," she said.

Women's 50km race walk added to London 2017 to ensure gender equality

A women's 50km race walk will feature at the London 2017 world athletics championships for the first time in order to ensure gender equality, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on Sunday.

Previously, women only competed in a 20km race walk in the competition and the Olympic Games, while men competed over the same distance and in a 50km event. The women's 50km race walk was only recognised by the IAAF as an official event from January of this year.

In a statement on the IAAF website (www.iaaf.org), president Sebastian Coe said that the decision had come about due to pressure from a small group of athletes.

"(The) IAAF Council’s decision to create a new 50km race walk competition for women with separate results and prize money at the world championships in London follows the 2016 IAAF Race Walking Team Championships in Rome, where one female athlete from the USA joined her four male team mates," said Coe.

"There has been equal prize money for men and women at the IAAF world championships since the introduction of financial rewards in the early 1990s and this decision brings gender equality in terms of competition opportunity too."

Athletes will have to achieve an entry standard time of 4 hours, 30 minutes by July 25 in order to compete in the event, which will take place at the same time as the men's race on Aug. 13.

Daley puts Rio failure behind him to regain world title

Tom Daley, Britain’s 2009 world champion, thwarted China’s bid to become the first country to win four successive diving world titles in the men's 10-metre platform when the 23-year-old prevailed in a thrilling final.

Olympic champion Chen Aisen was aiming to keep China’s golden exploits intact after Qiu Bo’s hat-trick of titles had matched American Greg Louganis' feat of more than 30 years ago.

However, Daley posted a personal-best points haul of 590.95, which included five 10s in a sizzling final dive, to secure his first individual global title for eight years when he won as a 15-year-old in Rome.

Daley, who failed to qualify for the Olympic final after a disastrous preliminary round last summer, told reporters: “I can put to bed Rio now and be like, 'Now I can move on on my journey to Tokyo'.

“I saw Chen hit the water and thought, 'Oh, yes. If that's how you want to play it, I'm here to play, too'.”

Chen admitted that he thought he would win gold with his final-round tally of 106.20 before Daley equalled the mark and held two arms aloft.

Chen, bidding to become the first reigning Olympic champion to win the world title since compatriot Hu Jia in 2005, said: “It means I will have to go back to work and do better next time.”

Daley had earlier partnered Grace Reid to a surprise silver in the mixed 3-metre synchro springboard final. Wang Han and Li Zheng of China won gold.

China’s three medals in the final day of diving - Yang Jian also won bronze in the men’s 10-metre platform - meant that the powerhouse nation across springboard and platform finished well clear in the medal table.

Having claimed 37 of 40 gold medals in World Series events this year, China continued to dominate in Budapest, with eight golds and 15 medals in all. Russia finished second with 10 medals.

Meanwhile, the soon-to-be-renamed synchonised swimming events concluded on Saturday night with another Russian monopoly of world titles.

Russia garnered seven of the nine on offer, Svetlana Kolesnichenko proving the stand-out star of the show with two golds apiece in both solo and duet routines.

Earlier on Saturday, the sport’s governing body, Fina, had voted to drop "synchronised" and change the name of the sport to artistic swimming.

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