Tour de France
Froome win all but guaranteed
Half the height of Mount Everest, climbed on a bike, in a single day. Even by Tour de France standards, Stage 19 was hard.
"At times, you just feel like you're being tortured," was how American rider Andrew Talansky described Friday's ordeal — arguably the toughest stage of the 100th Tour — that started with two monster climbs as riders were still digesting breakfast.
The GPS mini-computer the Garmin rider carries on his bike did the sums: 14,498 feet ridden uphill — close to the height of Western Europe's loftiest peak, Mont Blanc, and half of Everest, the roof of the world at 29,035 feet.
The riders also zoomed 13,907 feet downhill. Talansky's gizmo showed he burned 5,670 calories during the six-hour suffer-fest.
The difficulty of Stage 19 made Chris Froome "quite nervous." Once he got through it with his big race lead intact, the British rider finally started to allow his mind to fast-forward to the finish on Sunday. The last Alpine stage on Saturday — 77 miles in the mountains towering above the limpid waters of Lake Annecy — won't be enough for second-place Alberto Contador to puncture Froome's cushion of more than five minutes. In all but name, the 28-year-old is champion of the 100th Tour.
Two men have been charged with directing threats toward U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart in the aftermath of USADA's decision to strip cyclist Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles. One indictment, unsealed Thursday, alleges that Gerrit Keats of Clearwater, Fla., threatened Tygart via interstate communication in October. The other, unsealed Friday, makes the same charge against Robert Hutchins of Sandy, Utah. Making threats via interstate commerce carries up to a five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.
UK's Harper scores 12 for 2-0 U.S.
University of Kentucky signee Linnae Harper had 12 points and five rebounds in 16 productive minutes Friday as the United States beat China 103-56 in the U19 World Basketball Championships in Lithuania.
Team USA improved to 2-0 in preliminary-round group play, which concludes Saturday with the U.S. taking on Mali at 1:15 p.m. Friday's victory assured the U.S. a spot in the second round, which starts Monday.
UConn sophomore-to-be Breanna Stewart led the U.S. in scoring for the second day in a row with 20 points.
"Everybody played well and stepped up to their roles," Harper said. "I think Nia (Coffey) and Bri-T (Brianna Turner) and A'ja Wilson did a phenomenal job on the glass, offensively and defensively. China had some big players, they had good depth and I think we handled it well."
Dead heat in Saratoga's Schuylerville
Brazen Persuasion and Bahnah won the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes in a dead heat Friday at Saratoga Race Course. Brazen Persuasion, ridden by Rosie Napravnik, held to a narrow advantage in the final sixteenth mile but Bahnah and jockey Corey Lanerie drew even in the final stride. They ran 6 furlongs in 1:12.12 to highlight of opening day at Saratoga on Friday.
Season to be delayed for Olympics
After weeks of tough negotiations, the NHL and its players reached a deal with the International Ice Hockey Federation on Friday to put the season on hold again so the game's biggest stars can compete next year in the Sochi Olympics. Putting a stop to another season one year after the damaging lockout created a shortened, 48-game campaign was hardly an optimal plan for the NHL. But an agreement was made to allow the top players to take part in the Olympics for the fifth straight time.
Bynum signs with Cavs
Andrew Bynum is officially a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The free agent center signed a two-year, $24 million contract at the team's suburban training facility on Friday, and he was introduced by general manager Chris Grant. Bynum sat out the entire 2012-2013 season with Philadelphia because of knee injuries, but said he will be medically cleared to practice by the start of training camp.
Creamer shares lead at Marathon
Former winner Paula Creamer shares the lead and top-ranked Inbee Park is lurking nearby through the second round of the Marathon Classic.
Creamer, who five years ago won what was then referred to as the Jamie Farr LPGA stop, shot a 3-under 68 on Friday on the heels of an opening 66 to pull even with Beatriz Recari and Alison Walshe at 8-under 134 at the tournament's midpoint.
Park, a six-time winner already this year including all three major championships, is two shots off the lead along with top amateur Lydia Ko. Defending champ So Yeon Ryu is another stroke back.
Six players are tied atop a crowded leaderboard midway through the second round of the Sanderson Farms Championship. Vaughn Taylor, Fabian Gomez, Paul Stankowski, Troy Matteson and Kyle Reifers are tied at 10 under in the clubhouse. First-round leader Daniel Summerhays also is at 10 under but only completed eight holes in the round Friday.
California junior Michael Kim and Oklahoma State sophomore Jordan Niebrugge each won two matches Friday in hot and humid conditions at Laurel Hill to advance to U.S. Amateur Public Links final.
Former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien had an eagle and three birdies Friday to take a two-point lead after the first round of the American Century Championship. Rypien finished with 27 points at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course under the modified Stableford scoring system that awards graduated points for pars or better.
Concussion suit seeks class-action status
Attorneys suing the NCAA over its handling of head injuries are asking a federal judge to let them expand the suit to include thousands of former and current athletes who may have suffered concussions. The request in a filing Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago includes allegations that NCAA rules consistently lagged behind well-publicized research about how to treat head injuries.
The NCAA has awarded a $399,999 grant to fund a study into the long-term effects of head injuries in college sports. Kevin Guskiewicz of North Carolina's Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and Michael McCrea of the Medical College of Wisconsin will conduct the research.
Minor league Baseball
Legends slip past Braves
The Lexington Legends broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the eighth inning and went on to a 3-2 win over the Rome Braves Friday night. The win gave the Legends their fifth straight victory as well as a sweep of the three-game series in Rome. Michael Antonio led off the top of the eighth with a double and scored the go-ahead run on an error.
The last word
Nicolas Colsaerts made a quintuple-bogey 9 on the 15th hole in the British Open, but he wasn't alone in his struggles. A putt from Billy Horschel went 30 feet when it was supposed to go only 15, and Zach Johnson three-putted from 10 feet. Said Johnson:
"Obviously, 15 was a bit of carnage."