Norway's Hagen wins Tour's sixth stage; American crashes
Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway led a sprint to win the rain-splattered sixth stage of the Tour de France, while his countryman Thor Hushovd retained the yellow jersey on Thursday.
The pack battled slippery roads and brisk winds over the hilly, 141-mile ride across northwest France from Dinan to Lisieux in Normandy — the longest stage in the race this year.
Hagen, a sprint specialist with Team Sky, broke out of the barreling pack near the finish line and held on, jutting his arms in the air as he crossed for his first Tour stage victory.
"I really surprised myself," Hagen said. "Lots of people say that I'm a talented guy, so it's nice to show it by winning a stage."
Matt Goss of Australia was second, and Hushovd third.
Overall, Hushovd retained a one-second lead over Cadel Evans of Australia. Frank Schleck of Luxembourg was third, four seconds back. Three-time champion Alberto Contador, who lost time in a Stage 1 crash, was 34th overall, 1:42 behind.
Despite the rain and slippery conditions, the stage was marked by fewer crashes than a day earlier, when many riders including Contador and Britain's Bradley Wiggins went down. Still, it was yet another bad day for the U.S. RadioShack team because American veteran Levi Leipheimer crashed with about 3 miles left and lost time in the title hunt.
■ Doctors treating Colombian cyclist Juan Mauricio Soler say he's showing signs of "serious cognitive deficits" after waking from an induced coma three weeks after crashing in the Tour of Switzerland. A spokesman for St. Gallen Hospital in eastern Switzerland said the 28-year-old rider can follow simple commands and move all four limbs but isn't able to speak. The Movistar rider appears to have suffered brain injuries when he crashed and fractured his skull on June 16.
Nets' Williams might play in Turkey
Turkish team Besiktas says it is close to reaching a deal with locked out NBA All-Star guard Deron Williams. Besiktas Manager Murat Murtezaoglu told The Associated Press on Thursday that talks are under way with the New Jersey Nets player and U.S. Olympian.
Coach Ergin Ataman told the state-run Anatolia news agency that a deal was close. He also told The New York Times that an agreement had been reached.
Jeff Schwartz, Williams' agent, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
The Nets were not able to comment because the NBA has told teams not to comment on players during the lockout, which the owners initiated last week after the old collective bargaining agreement expired. It is uncertain how Williams' contract with the Nets would be affected if he were hurt playing for another team. He had wrist surgery last season.
Alabama freshman has knee surgery
Alabama running back Dee Hart underwent surgery Thursday to repair a torn knee ligament. Coach Nick Saban said Hart's status for the season is unknown. The highly touted freshman, who enrolled in January, was hurt during summer conditioning.
Rivals.com rated Hart a five-star prospect and the nation's top all-purpose back. He was the U.S. Army national player of the year.
■ Running back Stephen Houston has joined the Indiana football program, the school announced. The 6-0, 220-pound Houston rushed for 1,082 yards and five touchdowns at Independence (Kan.) Community College in 2010.
Animal Kingdom has surgery
Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom is recuperating in Maryland after surgery to repair a slab fracture in his left hind leg. The colt's ownership, Team Valor International, said Thursday that Dr. Dean Richardson performed the surgery on June 30 and inserted two screws to compress the hairline fracture that was discovered with a CAT scan. The surgery was done at New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa. Richardson says the fracture would have healed on its own, but by using two screws instead of one, Animal Kingdom has the best chance to minimize any arthritis that might occur in his leg.
Legends' game rained out
The Lexington Legends-Hickory Crawdads game scheduled for Thursday night in Hickory, N.C., was rained out. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Friday. The first of two seven-inning games will begin at 4 p.m.
Ga. Tech gunner transfers to Seton Hall
Brian Oliver, a 6-foot-6 three-point specialist who averaged 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds last season, has transferred from Georgia Tech to Seton Hall. Oliver, who hit six threes and scored 32 points in a 80-76 loss to Syracuse on Nov. 27, will have two years of eligibility left.
Borg vs. McEnroe, 31 years later
Bjorn Borg will face longtime rival John McEnroe in a World Team Tennis match, replacing injured Jimmy Connors. Borg's Philadelphia Freedoms will play McEnroe's New York Sportimes on July 14 at Randall's Island in Manhattan. Borg will appear in his first WTT match in 17 years. Borg and McEnroe were featured in a recent HBO documentary highlighting their rivalry. The cool Swede won the epic 1980 Wimbledon final that included an 18-16 fourth set captured by McEnroe.
The last word
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, after Angels pitchers issued eight walks Wednesday with umpire Joe West behind the plate:
"Joe West is definitely not on my Christmas card list."