tour de France
Spain's Sanchez captures climb for first stage win
Spain's Samuel Sanchez thrilled fans of his Basque-based team with the stage win Thursday, and France's Thomas Voeckler surprised himself by keeping the yellow jersey on Bastille Day as the Tour de France finally hit the mountains.
Defending champion Alberto Contador ran into more, if modest, trouble in the 12th stage by losing ground to other race favorites. The 131-mile run from Cugnaux to the Luz-Ardiden ski station featured three tough ascents — including two that are among the hardest in pro cycling.
Sanchez and Jelle Vanendert of Belgium overtook a group of breakaway riders in the final climb and the Spaniard then won their two-man sprint in the last several hundred yards, crossing 7 seconds in front of Vanendert.
"It's incredible," Sanchez said of his first Tour stage victory. The Euskaltel-Euskadi rider, who finished fourth overall last year, said he got extra inspiration from spectators waving the red, green and white flag of the Basque country — a nearby region along the border between France and Spain.
Voeckler leads Frank Schleck of Luxembourg by 1 minute, 49 seconds overall, and Australia's Cadel Evans is third, 2:06 back. Contador is seventh overall, 4 minutes behind.
71 first-year athletes make honor roll
A total of 71 University of Kentucky student-athletes were named to the Southeastern Conference First-Year Academic Honor Roll after achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, the league office announced Thursday. Kentucky's 71 honorees equal the third-highest mark in the league, followed by South Carolina's 80 and Alabama's 74. Tennessee is tied for third with Kentucky with 71. For a complete list of UK's honor-roll athletes, go to Kentucky.com.
Breeders' Cup plans to prohibit drugs
The Breeders' Cup board voted Thursday to eliminate the use of all race-day medication, including anti-bleeder drugs, in the championship races by 2013. The move was strongly supported by Breeders' Cup members during their annual meeting on July 13, the board said in a news release.
As a first step, the board said it plans to prohibit race-day drugs in 2-year-old races at the 2012 championships. New policy would be implemented for 2013 and beyond. The move comes after growing industry discussion about race-day medication.
"Given the high level of international participation in our championships and the increasing support for our nominations program throughout the global Thoroughbred breeding and racing community, Breeders' Cup feels strongly that the time has come to modify our medication policies to be consistent with international practices," said Tom Ludt, Breeders' Cup chairman.
TNT adds Shaq to studio show
Get ready for the Big Analyzer, Big Commentator, or whatever other nickname he takes in the next phase of his career. Shaquille O'Neal agreed Thursday to a multiyear deal with Turner Sports to become an analyst on its NBA coverage, where he will fold his 7-foot-1 frame into the fourth chair on the TNT set alongside Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. "I'm just going to try to make it more fun than it already is," said O'Neal, who retired this past season after a 19-year career.
Oldest rule book sells for $1.42 million
The world's oldest soccer rule book has been sold for $1.42 million. The handwritten pamphlet from 1857 was put on auction at Sotheby's in London as part of an archive of Sheffield FC, the world's oldest soccer club. Sheffield FC sold the 154-year-old document to raise money for the club, which plays seven tiers below the Premier League. The rule book contains many innovations that are still part of the modern game, such as the corner kick, cross bar and indirect free kick.
Ga. Tech gets 4 years of probation, fine
The NCAA put Georgia Tech on four years of probation, fined the school $100,000 and stripped its ACC title-game win from the 2009 football season on Thursday for violations that also included problems in the men's basketball program. Georgia Tech did not lose scholarships and was not ruled ineligible for post-season games in either sport, but the basketball team had the number of recruiting days and official visits reduced for the next two seasons.
The NCAA said Georgia Tech should have declared an unidentified football player ineligible after he allegedly accepted $312 worth of clothing from a friend of a sports agency employee. The NCAA said the school failed to cooperate with its investigation, and said it was hindered by a school staff member who alerted the player about potential eligibility concerns before his interview with NCAA investigators.
Three straight eagles — and still a 77
Kyle Brossia was struggling in the third round of the Ohio Amateur golf championship on Thursday. Then he suddenly became an eagle eye. The 26-year-old from Findlay was 5 over through three holes before he dramatically turned things around. He holed his 115-yard second-shot approach on the par-4 fourth hole, chipped in for a 3 at the par-5 fifth and then rolled in a 20-foot putt for eagle at the par-5 sixth at NCR Country Club's South Course in Kettering.
He ended up with a 6-over 77 and said he was a little embarrassed that he had three nearly perfect holes in an otherwise mediocre round. "I had a 77, which is pretty bad for three eagles," he said. "But it's still something I'll always remember."
The last word
After Charles Barkley joked to The Golf Channel's David Feherty that his horrible golf swing might drive him to kill himself, Feherty replied:
"No, but you may kill somebody else."