Sagan wins opening stage
Peter Sagan, who had to deal with a flat back tire in the final 8km, recovered by chasing down the peloton to win the opening stage of the Tour of California on Sunday. Sagan earned his fourth stage win on the Tour of California, despite losing 20 seconds during the mechanical change in the final sprint. “It was a confusing finish,” Sagan said. “There were very few people in the peloton.” The Liquigas-Cannondale team rider also managed to avoid a crash ahead of him as he guided through a technical decent in the scenic wine country area to finish just ahead of Heinrich Haussler and Fred Rodriguez. The crash took place with about 5km to go and involved about 12 competitors, including one of the race’s top sprinters, Michael Matthews. Sagan overtook Haussler and Rodriguez in the final 1km. The racers had to cycle through morning fog at the beginning of Sunday’s stage, but blue skies provided a fitting finish as they sprinted through the streets of Santa Rosa.
N Zealand retain their title
New Zealand retained their Sevens World Series title, ending the season with a third-place finish at the London Sevens to finish on 167 points, six ahead of closest rivals Fiji. A record two-day Sevens crowd of 103,027 attended Twickenham over the weekend, a fitting climax to another thrilling season. Fiji stormed to the London title to cap a season of achievement for them, matching New Zealand’s three titles and underlining just how tight things are at the top of the Sevens game. Fiji beat New Zealand 31-7 in their semi-final, before seeing off Samoa 38-15 in the final. New Zealand sealed a 10th title in 13 years with a ruthless 36-0 quarter-final win over South Africa. Despite losing to Fiji in the semi-final, the Kiwis then claimed third place with a 40-0 triumph over Argentina.
Lions crush the Windies
England Lions crushed the West Indies by 10 wickets on Sunday, dealing a further blow to the brittle confidence of the tourists ahead of the first Test which starts at Lord’s on Thursday. Joe Root (115 not out) and Michael Carberry (72 not out) led the Lions to victory in Northampton, England, with a session to spare on the final day of the four-day game, finishing on 197-0 after the West Indies had been bowled out for 390 in their second innings. As well as defeat, the West Indies also saw seam bowlers Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul suffer new injuries. The tourists’ mid-match fightback — by Kieran Powell (108) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (77) — came to nothing on the final day after they were dismissed after just 30 minutes in the morning session. The Lions moved to 61 without loss at lunch, while the West Indies — without Roach, who took a blow to his right hand batting against Stuart Meaker — also saw Rampaul leave the field after four overs with the new ball. Darren Bravo was required to bowl only his second spell in first-class cricket, and Root and Carberry were predictably untroubled.
Salzburg claim seventh title
Salzburg claimed their seventh Austrian league title on Sunday after winning 5-1 at Wiener Neustadt in their penultimate game of the season. The emphatic victory took them six points clear of nearest rivals Rapid Vienna. It was a fourth title for Salzburg since the club were taken over by Dietrich Mateschitz, founder of energy drink company Red Bull, in 2005. Salzburg will attempt to complete the double for the first time in their history when they meet Ried in the Austrian Cup final on Sunday.