Vol. VIII No. 42 - Tuesday
October 20 - October 26, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


SPORTS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Robson presented as new Thailand coach

Armstrong calls 2010 Tour hard and wide open

Montgomerie wary of Woods’ team form

Robson presented as new Thailand coach

Bangkok (AP) - Bryan Robson promised Friday to bring the same determination and drive he showed as a player to his new job as Thailand coach.
Robson was officially presented by the Thai Football Association in Bangkok, and told reporters he would teach an already technically talented team a “patient passing game.”
Thailand heads into Asian Cup qualifiers next month against Singapore, and Robson said he would waste no time in getting the team ready.

New Thai soccer coach Bryan Robson poses with a team jacket after a news conference in Bangkok, Friday, Oct. 16. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

“I give 100 percent to anything I try to do in life, and the one thing the Thai people can be guaranteed of is I will give 100 percent to try to make Thailand as successful as we possibly can,” Robson said.
He received a vote of confidence from his former manager Alex Ferguson, who described Robson as his best captain during his long stint in charge at Manchester United.
“A marvelous motivator, a great instinct for the game, a powerful dressing room influence, the best captain I’ve ever had,” Ferguson said via phone hookup to the news conference. “He can only do well in his career with the Thailand national team.”
Robson, 52, takes over the Thai job after the resignation of Peter Reid, who has returned to England to be an assistant coach at Stoke City.
Robson had been out of management since the end of his spell at Sheffield United last year. He had previously managed Middlesbrough, Bradford City and West Bromwich Albion.
Robson said he had held discussions with Reid about the strengths and weaknesses of the Thai team, saying Reid praised the players’ technical ability while noting the difficulties of management in a society that frowns upon direct criticism.
“I know that the Thai players have very good technique so I want to try to play a patient passing game with the team,” Robson said. “Peter said the one thing Thai players don’t particularly like is really telling them off in front of team mates.
“I respect the culture of Thailand. For me you have to adapt, you work with the players to get the best out of them and that’s what I will try to do.”


Armstrong calls 2010 Tour hard and wide open

Greg Keller
Paris (AP) - With the return of cobblestones and three punishing summit finishes scheduled for the 2010 Tour de France, seven-time champion Lance Armstrong called next year’s race difficult and wide open.

Lance Armstrong crosses the finish line during an individual time-trial at the 2009 Tour de France in Annecy. In a change from this year, the route for the 2010 race will feature only one time trial in the penultimate stage. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours/file)
“I think it will be much more open than last year because the TTT (team time trial) really eliminated some people last year and you won’t have that again,” Armstrong said last Wednesday after next year’s route was announced. “Whereas this year you had three or four guys who could win the Tour, next year you’ll go into the tough sections with 10 guys.”
The inclusion of some of the infamous cobblestone sections that make up the Paris-Roubaix classic will be especially destabilizing in the race’s early stages, the 38-year-old Texan said.
“I think the first week is potentially complicating for guys, with the wind and the mix of the Ardennes and also the cobblestones,” said Armstrong, who finished third this year following three weeks of intense rivalry with then teammate and eventual winner Alberto Contador. “It’s a very untraditional start to a Tour. It’s going to be a hard Tour.”
The first complicated bit for the peloton will come in the race’s third stage on July 6. Riders will speed over seven cobblestone sectors with a total distance of 13.2 kilometers (8.2 miles). The last time Tour riders have faced that dangerous task was in 2004.
The cobblestones will weigh heavily on Armstrong’s decision on which races to include in his pre-Tour preparations, he said. The Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in Belgium are races he is considering entering, Armstrong said.
“I think you have to plan your season according to what you see here, too. I think even a race like the Tour of Flanders is interesting now because you don’t want your only cobblestone experience to be the day you show up here. You need to practice that so we’ll build the season around this, too,” Armstrong said.
The race organizers’ decision to stage only a single individual time trial, a 51-kilometer (32-mile) race through the Bordeaux vineyards in the penultimate stage, could work in the American’s favor.
“Based on my time trials this year I have to be glad there’s less,” said Armstrong, who finished 90 seconds behind Contador in last year’s time trial in Annecy, and 22 seconds behind the Spaniard in the shorter time trial at the race’s start in Monaco.
“That last TT is 51K and the day before Paris it’s going to be decisive.”
Armstrong, who came back to competition this year following a 3-year retirement, named Luxembourg brothers Andy and Frank Schleck and British rider Bradley Wiggins, as well as Contador, as among his toughest potential rivals next year.
Armstrong, who lunched with French president Nicolas Sarkozy last Wednesday, said he is still considering whether to compete in the Tour of California or the Giro d’Italia, races that conflict on the calendar in May.
“I still don’t know. There’s more things that factor in there, too, RadioShack being an American company and California obviously being an American race,” Armstrong said, referring to his new team.
One race that likely won’t figure in Armstrong’s Tour preparations is the grueling Milan-San Remo, the spring classic he used to stage his comeback to European racing this year, finishing in 125th place.
“I think I have another appointment that day,” Armstrong joked. “A doctor’s appointment or something, a dentist appointment.”


Montgomerie wary of Woods’ team form

Robert Millward
Newport, Wales (AP) - European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie believes that Tiger Woods’ perfect performance for the United States in the Presidents Cup will make his own team’s task even tougher next year at Celtic Manor.
Woods, who missed the Americans’ Ryder Cup victory at Valhalla last year because of knee surgery, made the clinching putt in last Sunday’s 19-14 win over an International team in San Francisco.

Team Europe Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie (right) and US counterpart Corey Pavin hold the Ryder Cup before their exhibition golf match at Celtic Manor golf course, Newport, Wales, Monday, Oct. 12. Celtic Manor will host the 2010 Ryder Cup. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)

“It was very interesting that he seems to have his team game down as well as his individual one now,” Montgomerie told reporters last week at a news conference at Celtic Manor. “We’re all thrilled,” he added with hint of irony.
“Five points out of five. There’s never been a European who has ever achieved that feat in Ryder Cup play. This will be difficult enough to try and regain the Ryder Cup without Tiger Woods (on the American team) never mind if he’s back to his top form and winning five points out of five. It makes our job even tougher.”
Appointed in February, Montgomerie now has to turn around a European team which was outplayed 16 to 11 at Valhalla last year.
“So we have to counteract that by playing as well as we can against him and also the other 11 players on the team. But I think it makes it, I hate to say it in front of Corey Pavin and our American friends, but it makes it a better win if we can regain the Ryder Cup with Tiger Woods in it.”
Woods and Steve Stricker won all four of their matches together in the Presidents Cup but U.S. Ryder Cup captain Pavin said he hadn’t yet decided whether they would be paired at Celtic Manor a year from now.
“It’s not safe to say (that),” he said. “I haven’t made any pairings yet and you have to assume that both Tiger and Steve Stricker both made the team as well. They are both in tremendous form right now. If you put two players together who are playing well they are going to be a tough team to beat.”
Unbeaten in singles matches, Montgomerie has played in eight Ryder Cups and been on five winning teams. He and Pavin, who has played in three, are considered two of the most competitive team players and both captains said that would continue next year despite their own personal friendship.
“We were friends before we were made captains of our respective Ryder Cup teams and will remain so. Of course this is not an exhibition match,” Montgomerie said.
“So this is a highly competitive competition and, the more competitive it is and the more passion that is brought to it, it just fuels people watching and viewing the Ryder Cup. But it’s not OK to cheer for a missed putt and never has been and never will be.”
Pavin said the two players had frequently shared dinners but that would all change on the course.
“Colin and I are both very competitive and we have played Ryder Cup matches against each other and we both understand how it works. Once on the tee, it changes into a very competitive match,” he said.
“We are out there trying to beat each other’s brains in and do the best we can to win our matches.”



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