Froome pads his lead in time trial
Halfway through the Tour de France, Chris Froome appears unstoppable after extending the lead on his rivals in the time trial on Wednesday. Although Froome missed out on his second stage win by 12 seconds to winner Tony Martin of Germany, the stage 11 performance felt like a big victory for the British rider because his challengers were at least two minutes slower.
"My biggest race today was with the other GC riders," Froome said. "I've extended my lead so I'm very happy with that."
Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde is still in second place overall but 3 minutes, 25 seconds behind Froome, while Alberto Contador improved to fourth but is 3:54 behind.
Meanwhile, the 2010 Tour champ Andy Schleck and 2011 winner Cadel Evans lost massive time.
"I'm happy with my shape," Froome said. "I think I've shown in the mountains that I can hold my own and time trial, also."
Martin, a two-time world time trial champion, did not disappoint over the 20.5-mile route in Normandy from Avranches to the breathtaking island citadel of Mont-Saint-Michel.
■ Mark Cavendish believes a roadside spectator sprayed him with urine during the Tour de France time trial Wednesday, his team manager said. Patrick Lefevere said it may have been linked to anger among some fans who claimed — unfairly in his view — that Cavendish intentionally bumped into Dutch rider Tom Veelers and caused him to crash in the final sprint a day earlier.
"(Cavendish) explained to the other guys in the bus that the public was not very fair with him, and then somebody put some urine on him," Lefevere said. "We are always happy in cycling that there is no hooliganism, but of course, when there are 100,000 or 200,000 people on the road ... somebody had bad behavior."
Heels investigating possible misconduct
North Carolina Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said Wednesday the school is gathering information on potential improper conduct by members of the men's basketball team a month after the drug arrest of leading scorer P.J. Hairston.
Cunningham's statement didn't name any player. "We take these matters very seriously and are looking into these reports and the inferences they contain with all due diligence," he said.
The school started gathering information after Hairston was arrested June 5 during a license checkpoint in Durham. Hairston and two passengers were each charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. Officers also seized a 9mm handgun and ammunition during the stop, with Durham police spokeswoman Kammie Michael saying the pistol was found on the ground outside the rental vehicle during the search. Police haven't linked the gun to Hairston or his passengers. All three are scheduled for an August court hearing.
Leland Mitchell starred in historic game
Leland Mitchell, a former Mississippi State basketball star who played in the renowned MSU-Loyola game in 1963, has died at the age of 72. Mitchell died Saturday at his home in Starkville.
The 6-foot-4 Mitchell starred at guard on the MSU team that won the Southeastern Conference championship and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. State law prohibited the all-white Bulldogs from traveling to East Lansing, Mich., to face an integrated Loyola University of Chicago team, but MSU Coach Babe McCarthy sneaked the team out of town to play the game.
"We wanted to play," Mitchell later said. "We had just won the SEC championship for the third year in a row and we hadn't been allowed to play in the NCAA Tournament the past two years. For us the biggest thing was getting the opportunity to play in the tournament because it was something we felt we deserved. It was much more than a basketball game. We were making history. We were ambassadors for the South, though none of us realized it at the time."
Eventual national champion Loyola won 61-51 with Mitchell scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a losing cause.
London Olympics official expelled
The top London Olympics official in rhythmic gymnastics has been expelled from the sport's governing body after it found "irregularities" in judges' examinations.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has stripped Olympics technical delegate Maria Szyszkowska of Poland of her membership. "(The disciplinary commission) has further decided to suspend the members of the former Technical Committee ... until December 31, 2014," the governing body said Tuesday. The six technical panel members include Caroline Hunt of the United States.
■ The U.S. men's soccer team jumped on Belize with Chris Wondolowski's first-half hat trick and cruised to a 6-1 victory to open the CONCAF Gold Cup tournament Tuesday in Portland, Ore.
Landon Donovan had a goal and two assists, becoming the first national team player with at least 50 career goals and 50 assists.
■ Linebacker Kaluka Maiava was charged with assaulting two men during a brawl at a Maui bar March 17, days after signing with the Oakland Raiders. Maiava, 27, and his brother Ilima Maiava, 30, are charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and fourth-degree criminal property damage, a petty misdemeanor, said Maui Prosecuting Attorney John Kim.
■ Tennessee has self-reported seven NCAA secondary violations, including two in football. One of the football violations involved a prospect making an unofficial visit before he had completed his first year at a junior college. Also, a prospect making an unofficial visit attended an off-campus meal intended only for official visitors.
The last word
John Rocker is still making noise, a decade after the disgraced pitcher last played in the big leagues. Rocker told a Cleveland radio station this week that performance-enhancing drugs made Major League Baseball "more entertaining" during the Steroids Era.
"When people are paying their $80, $120 whatever it may be, to buy their ticket and come watch that game, it's almost like the circus is in town. They wanna see some clown throw a fastball 101 mph and some other guy hit it 500 feet. That's entertainment."