TOUR DE FRANCE
Cavendish sprints to green jersey; Voeckler keeps yellow
Mark Cavendish nearly lost a shoe in the final stretch but kept his cool to win a rainy 11th stage of the Tour de France in a mass sprint Wednesday, easily beating Andre Greipel of Germany at the line to seize the leading sprinter's green jersey.
French rider Thomas Voeckler kept the race leader's yellow jersey after the 104.1-mile trek from Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur. Voeckler finished 75th in the stage but with the same time as the winner.
Cavendish made the most of the last stage designed for sprinters before the race reaches the Pyrenees to claim his 18th stage win at the Tour, his third in this year's race. He won in 3 hours, 46 minutes, 7 seconds.
"It's incredible to have the green jersey. It's the most beautiful jersey in the world," said Cavendish, who got an assist from HTC-Highroad teammate Mark Renshaw.
Cavendish's efforts were almost ruined toward the end when he hit the front wheel of Frenchman Romain Feillu's bike.
"There were 10 of us close together and my shoe banged into his front wheel," he said. "My foot technically came out of the shoe — I had to reach down and slide the ratchet and redo it with 600 meters to go. I was lucky there were no swerves in the peloton. It could have been quite dangerous."
Cavendish, who took the green jersey from Philippe Gilbert of Belgium, now leads Jose Joaquin Rojas by 16 points. He will have two more opportunities to win stages before the race ends on the Champs Elysees on July 24.
Voeckler said he was expecting to lose his yellow jersey during Thursday's 12th stage, which takes the riders on the first of a three-day trek across the Pyrenees with a punishing 131-mile ride over the legendary Col du Tourmalet and finishing on top of Luz-Ardiden.
With their minds already on the big mountain battle to come, three-time champion Alberto Contador and his rivals stayed comfortably in the pack and didn't take any risks.
Report: Newton investigation not over
The New York Times is reporting that an NCAA official told Auburn Coach Gene Chizik that it is not done investigating the Tigers' football program and the recruitment of Cam Newton. The newspaper reported Wednesday that Chizik asked NCAA vice president for enforcement Julie Roe Lach several questions, including why the NCAA had not announced that the Newton investigation was finished, during a presentation at the Southeastern Conference meetings in Destin, Fla., last month.
"You'll know when we're finished," Roe Lach told Chizik, according to several coaches who were at the meeting, the Times reported. "And we're not finished."
Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings, LSU Coach Trent Johnson, Mississippi Coach Andy Kennedy and Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson all confirmed the exchange to the newspaper.
Louisville women's coach reprimanded
The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee has publicly reprimanded Louisville Coach Jeff Walz and Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey for comments and actions during the 2011 championship tournament. The NCAA said Wednesday that both coaches violated tournament policy. It said Mulkey made disparaging comments about the bracket decisions, and Walz used profane and abusive language toward game officials as well as kicking the scorer's table during a loss to Gonzaga.
Mulkey expressed displeasure after her top-seeded team was put in the same bracket with Texas A&M, a Big 12 foe it had faced three times already last season. The Aggies beat Baylor on their way to the national title.
Besides the reprimand, the NCAA said it has withheld an undisclosed championship per diem allowance for both coaches.
Xavier AD to head '12-13 tourney
Xavier University's athletics director will head the NCAA Division I men's basketball committee for the 2012-13 season. The NCAA announced in Indianapolis on Wednesday that Mike Bobinski would succeed Connecticut AD Jeff Hathaway as chairman after the upcoming season and tournament. Bobinski will this fall begin the fourth year of a five-year term on the committee.
Ohio State AD Gene Smith headed the most recent committee.
Union memo supports playing overseas
The leader of the NBA Players' Association is expressing his support for playing overseas during the lockout. In a memo sent to the players on Tuesday night and obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, Billy Hunter says the union supports all players "who are taking steps to continue to earn a living, stay in peak competitive shape, and play the game that we love while the unfortunate league-imposed lockout is in place."
New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams is working on a deal with Turkish team Besiktas, and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks have mentioned the possibility of playing overseas if the NBA lockout drags on.
Lakers assistant Shaw goes to Pacers
The Indiana Pacers introduced Brian Shaw as their new associate head coach. He will work alongside Pacers Coach Frank Vogel, a man he knows from their days on the Los Angeles Lakers staff together during the 2005-2006 season. "We really established a special connection back then," Shaw said. "A good friendship. We stayed in touch over the years."
Shaw was considered a head coaching candidate during his time with the Lakers, and Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Derek Fisher publicly supported his bid to become Phil Jackson's successor. "I don't have any hard feelings at all because things are changing there, and there's an opportunity here that I'm excited about," Shaw said.
The last word
San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, asked about the origins of his beard:
"I believe we're at the one-year anniversary of the child on my face."