HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Cavendish wins again, Renshaw expelled for head-butt

Bolt beats Powell in 100 meters at Paris Diamond League

Watson says goodbye to Old Course but not Open

North stars as Australia beat Pakistan in 1st test

Chiang Mai edge Singburi in tough encounter

Cavendish wins again, Renshaw expelled for head-butt

Bourg-les-Valence, France (AP) - In the frenzied and dangerous mass sprints at the Tour de France, competitors often need to keep their heads.

Mark Renshaw decided to use his.

The Australian lead-out man for sprint specialist Mark Cavendish was expelled from the race last Thursday after head-butting a rival, which cleared a path for his British teammate to win his third stage at this year’s Tour.

Mark Cavendish, Alessandro Petacchi, and Thor Hushovd, from left to right, sprint towards the finish line at the end of the 11th stage of the Tour de France cycling race, Thursday, July 15. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski)

“This is cycling. It’s not wrestling,” said course director Jean-Francois Pescheux, who called Renshaw’s aggressive tactics “flagrant” and the punishment necessary.

“There are rules to respect,” Pescheux said.

With the sprinters’ teams barreling toward the finish at about 64 kph (40 mph), Renshaw rammed his head three times into the shoulder of Julian Dean of New Zealand, the lead-out man for American sprinter Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Transitions. It was an apparent bid to push Dean, who was then in the lead, out of the way during the final sprint.

After reviewing video of the finish, the race jury said Renshaw was “removed from the competition for a particularly serious case.” They also said the HTC Columbia rider was fined 200 Swiss francs (US$192) for a grave case of “irregular sprinting.”

“I’m extremely disappointed and also surprised,” Renshaw said. “I never imagined I would be removed from any race, especially the Tour de France. I pride myself on being a very fair, safe and a straight-up sprinter, and never in my career have I received a fine or even a warning.”

After the head-butts, causing Dean to shake his head in apparent exasperation, he appeared to swerve in front of Farrar. That allowed Cavendish to spurt ahead in the final 300 meters, with Alessandro Petacchi of Italy in second and Farrar in third.

“I only saw open space on my left. I had no idea Tyler Farrar was there,” Renshaw said. “By no means would I ever put any of my fellow riders in danger.”

Cavendish rushed to Renshaw’s defense, alleging that Dean had tried to elbow his teammate.

“Mark used his head to get away,” Cavendish said. “There’s a risk when your elbow’s that close (that) the bars are going to tangle. That puts everybody behind in danger. Mark gave us a bit of space which kept everybody upright.”

The 25-year-old Cavendish, one of the world’s top sprinters, claimed the 13th Tour stage of his young career to move past sprinting greats Mario Chipollini, Erik Zabel and Robbie McEwen, who all have 12 stage victories each. Cavendish is now also only the seventh rider in the event’s history to win at least three stages in three consecutive Tours.

Andy Schleck of Luxembourg retained the yellow jersey going into the weekend, remaining 31 seconds ahead of defending champion Alberto Contador. The winner of this year’s Tour will almost certainly be decided this week when the race reaches the mountains in the Pyrenees.

Bolt beats Powell in 100 meters at Paris Diamond League

Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell, left, and Usain Bolt, right, frame Christophe Lemaitre of France in the Men’s 100 meters at the Stade De France in Paris, Friday, July 16. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Samuel Petrequin

Saint-Denis, France (AP) - Olympic and World champion Usain Bolt recovered from a poor start to win the 100 meters at the Paris Diamond League meet in 9.84 seconds on Friday.

Bolt set a new meet record and beat fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell, who finished second in 9.91. Another Jamaican sprinter, Yohan Blake, was third in 9.95.

“It wasn’t the best race I’ve ever had in my life,” said Bolt, who returned to competition in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 9 following an Achilles injury.

“My first part was awful. At the 50 meters, I thought he (Asafa) had me. I had to work a little bit harder to get back in the race.”

Bolt, the world record holder in the 100 and 200, pulled away in the final meters to stay unbeaten at 100 for 14 consecutive finals.

“It’s all about determination,” he said. “I want to be the best, to stay on top. When you run against the best, it always pushes you to do your best all the time. I’m happy, I escaped injuries and I won the race.”

Bolt and Powell, who share the fastest time this year at 9.82 seconds, met for the first time this season. Powell is the last man to have beaten Bolt in the 100, two years ago in Stockholm.

Watson says goodbye to Old Course but not Open

Nancy Armour

St. Andrews (AP) - Tom Watson put one hand on the Swilcan Bridge, bent over and kissed the ancient stones.

This was no tearful goodbye. Rather, a fond farewell.

Tom Watson stands on the Swilken Burn bridge and gives the thumbs up on his final round at St. Andrews, during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, Friday, July 16. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Watson played his last round in a British Open at St. Andrews on Friday, assured of missing the cut after shooting a 3-over 75.

“St. Andrews, when I first played here, I didn’t like it,” he said. “But I learned to like it. And, eventually, to love it.”

Several hundred fans stuck around in the fading light for one last glimpse of Watson on the Old Course, and he didn’t disappoint. With playing partners Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa well ahead so as not to steal his moment, Watson kissed the bridge and then took a last, nostalgic walk over it.

As applause and shouts of “We love you, Tom!” rang out, Watson stood on top of the bridge, took off his cap and waved it at the crowd. He gave a thumbs up and then stood still, soaking it all in — just as his old friends and rivals Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus had done before him.

“It just seemed the right thing to do,” Watson said. “I thought of Arnold on the bridge and I thought of Jack on the bridge. Their last Opens were both right here at St. Andrews. My last Open is not, the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.”

Thanks in large part to Watson, the Royal and Ancient now allows past champions to play the Open until they are 65.

Caddie Neil Oxman put his arm around Watson when he caught up to him, and the two resumed their last stroll up the 18th fairway.

“The main thing is the respect I have for the way the game is played here. And the respect that the people have for their game,” Watson said. “The Scots invented golf, and they love the game with a passion unlike any other people. I enjoy that.”

And Watson gave them one last thrill, chipping on and rolling to the very edge of the cup. The ball refused to drop for an eagle, but it allowed him to walk away with one last birdie. Just like Jack.

Watson never did win the claret jug on this course, but he leaves with no regrets.

“None at all,” he said. “I had my opportunities here.”

North stars as Australia beat Pakistan in 1st test

Richard Sydenham

London (AP) - Australia beat Pakistan by 150 runs on the fourth day of the first test at Lord’s, with part-time spinner Marcus North claiming six wickets to be the surprise match-winner on Friday.

Australia’s Marcus North, right, celebrates after claiming the wicket of Pakistan’s Umar Amin during the 4th day of the first test match at Lord’s cricket ground, London, Friday July 16. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)

Pakistan were bowled out for 289 before tea while attempting to chase a world record victory target of 440.

Afterwards, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, playing his first test in four years, said he will quit test cricket after the second and final test this week if he can overcome a side injury.

“I think I am not good enough for test cricket, I do not have the temperament, you could say I am not strong enough mentally,” Afridi said with remarkable honesty.

“My shot selection was not good - Ricky Ponting probably only expected to bowl North for one or two overs.”

North took 6-55 in less than 19 overs, first taking the prize wicket of top scorer Salman Butt (92) with his first delivery of the match. Another occasional bowler, Shane Watson, was the bowling hero in the first innings with 5-40.

It meant Australia won their seventh test in succession and 14th over Pakistan, who must claim their first test win over the Australians in 15 years at Headingley this week to draw the two-match series. Pakistan are playing as the home team even though the matches are being staged at a neutral venue because of the precarious security situation in their homeland.

“It was a good game of cricket and one that we all enjoyed,” Ponting said afyerwards. “Test matches are not easy to win as we all know.”

Pakistan, who won the toss in bowler-friendly conditions on Tuesday, limited the Australians to 252 in their first innings but ultimately were behind the game as soon as they were dismissed for just 148. Australia made 334 second time round to set the challenging run chase.

“Australia are beatable,” Afridi said when asked if his team still believed they could win against the Australians, “but in test cricket they are very strong and you need to be very, very strong mentally.”

Chiang Mai edge Singburi in tough encounter

Staff Reporters

Chiang Mai FC, the leading team in the Thai League Division 2 Northern Region standings, visited the Central Sports Stadium of Singburi FC last week, July 10, with the welcome news that star striker Anucha Chaiyawong was now fit enough to return to first team action and resume his partnership with Sarun Sridej.

The ‘Lanna Tigers’ would face a stern test from fourth placed Singburi however, the hosts boasting their own star players in Danny Camara and Theeraporn Klinkorsilp, backed up by the playmaking ability of Kittitat Chanthongfai.

Indeed it was the hosts who carved out the first opening of the match in just the first minute when Klinkorsilp got to the byline and cut the ball back to Panmongkol, but the latter was unable to make contact with the ball as it slid across the face of the Chiang Mai goal.

A second chance would follow shortly after for Singburi but Klinkorsilp could only head over the bar following a fine cross from Ahmed Sano.

Gradually Chiang Mai began to exert some degree of control on the match and they created their first real chances in quick succession on the half hour mark but, unfortunately for the visiting Chiang Mai fans, Benjamin Musa was unable to find the target on either occasion after some good build up play from Thongkrid and Chaiyawong.

The remainder of the half was played out without either team managing to threaten their opponents’ goal and it was clear that Chiang Mai would have to up their game if they were to consolidate their lead at the top of the table.

The second half saw both teams come out in determined mood but the enthusiasm threatened to boil over on several occasions as nasty challenges were put in by players from both sides and referee Nittayachart had his hands full keeping control of the game.

Eventually Chiang Mai were able to force a breakthrough in the 74th minute after Musa pounced on a loose ball in the area to fire the ‘Tigers’ into the lead.

Tempers became even more frayed as the match drew to a conclusion however, and Mongkol Takerngwitsathaporn, the substitute striker for Singburi was red carded for an elbow on Musa and was quickly followed off the pitch by Chiang Mai’s defender Zakireen, who was dismissed for retaliation.

With both teams reduced to 10 men the final few minutes were played out without any further goal mouth incidents and Chiang Mai could celebrate another tough but hard fought win against one of their main rivals.

Chiang Mai manager Sarit Wutchuay said he was satisfied with the performance of his team despite the narrow scoreline and paid respects to the plucky Singburi side, remarking that perhaps luck was not on their side today.

The win enabled the ‘Tigers’ to retain their four point cushion at the top of the league despite second placed Chainat FC’s victory at Uttaradit. Phichit FC maintained the pressure on the top two by thrashing bottom placed Tak 7-1.

Chiang Mai FC’s next fixture is an away game against Kamphaeng Phet on Sunday, July 25. Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Thai League Div. 2 Northern Region
Standings July 11

Team                                P    W     D       L      +/-    Pts.

Chiang Mai                    20   17     1        2     +34    52

Chainat                           20   15     3        2     +32    48

Phichit                             20   14     3        3     +36    45

Singburi                           20   11     4        5     +10    37

Nakhon Sawan              20    9      6        5     +13    33

Phrae United                  20    8      9        3     +10    33

Phitsanulok                    20    8      5        7      +3     29

Sukhothai                       20    8      4        8       “4     28

Phetchabun                    20    7      6        7      +7     27

Chiang Rai                     20    6      3      11     -11     21

Uttaradit Morseng         20    6      2      12     -11     20

Kamphaeng Phet          20    5      5      10    “14    20

Lampang                        20    5      4      11      -8      19

Phayao                            20    4      1      15    “32    13

Uthai Thani Forest        20    3      3      14    “31    12

Tak                                  20    3      3      14    “34    12

Results (July 10 & 11):  Singburi 0-1 Chiang Mai,
Phrae United 0-0 Sukhothai, Phichit 7-1 Tak,
Chiang Rai 2-3 Phetchabun, Uttaradit Morseng 0-2 Chainat,
Uthai Thani Forest 0-4 Phitsanulok, Lampang 1-0 Phayao,
Kamphaeng Phet 1-1 Nakhon Sawan.