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Dave Brailsford on Egan Bernal's Tour de France: 'Clearly something is wrong' – VeloNews



Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal lived up to his promise.

With his yellow jersey chances buried under the Jumbo-Visma train on the slopes of the Grand Colombier on Sunday, Bernal said he’d be fetching water bottles for his teammates in the final week. And that’s what he was doing in Tuesday’s 164-kilometer stage 16. 

If Monday’s rest day was a day of reckoning for cycling’s fallen dynasty, Tuesday was about getting back into the race. Ineos Grenadiers knows it won’t be winning this year’s yellow jersey, but the team still wants to take something home.

More for pride than anything else.

“It was hard to accept, but in cycling, the wheel keeps turning,” said Ineos Grenadiers Michal Kwiatkowski on Tuesday morning. “We obviously have to change our plan for this Tour. We had hoped to win with Egan. Now we have to try to win a stage.”

That’s what happened Tuesday. With Bernal on domestique duty, the team put Richard Carapaz, Andrey Amador and Pavel Sivakov into a long-distance breakaway. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) spoiled the party, with Carapaz trailing through second.

How fast the mighty have fallen.

Team boss Dave Brailsford said the team will try to win a stage before Paris, and then regroup before unpacking what happened in 2020. Brailsford did not reveal the causes for the team’s implosion Sunday.

The team is hoping Bernal, who did complain of back pain before the Tour started, can at least arrive to Paris.

“That’s the aim, but we are monitoring him carefully,” Brailsford said. “He’s not in pain. It’s more a case of assessing what went wrong, which is what we are doing. Clearly there was something wrong because that wasn’t his normal performance on Sunday.

“He wouldn’t normally be out of that lead group — he might be 30 seconds better, 30 seconds worse — but he’d be in the mix,” he said. “But he’s proud. It’s not in his nature to quit.”

Bernal confirmed reporters at the finish line Tuesday that due to his back pain, he was over-compensating in his pedal stroke, and provoking knee pain. That fueled speculation that the team might pull Bernal to avoid a possibly more serious injury.

Brailsford was quick to shield Bernal from criticism, and said that the setback might actually help ease some of the media pressure and expectations that come with winning the Tour at such a young age.

“I think without doubt he’s had a successful young career,” Brailsford said. “Not many come back after winning their first Tour and win again. He’s very mature, talented and capable but he’s still only 23. I was worried that he might get old before his time because he needs to be allowed to be 23.

“He can 100 percent come back from this,” Brailsford said. “In sport, sometimes you need to lose and then you can go again.”

But will Bernal be the  leader in next year’s Tour? Brailsford left some wiggle room.

“It’s way too early to say, we have to go through the Giro and the Vuelta first,” Brailsford said. “Then of course there will be a question about who does what race in 2021.”

Bernal seemed to be struggling again Tuesday. In the lumpy route, he hid in the gruppetto, finishing more than 10 minutes from the GC group. The goal is to reach Paris.

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Thornton spoke to Joe Montana before signing with Maple Leafs



“Jumbo Joe” got some help from another Joe who knows all about leaving Northern California after spending most of his career there.

Joe Thornton said he talked to NFL legend Joe Montana before the veteran NHL forward chose to join the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Joe gave me some good advice,” Thornton told reporters Sunday. “He just talked about leaving San Francisco and going to Kansas City.”

The 49ers traded Montana to the Chiefs amid a quarterback controversy in 1993. He played 13 years with San Francisco, guiding the team to four Super Bowl titles. The all-time great suited up for two seasons with Kansas City before retiring in 1995.

Thornton spent nearly 15 of his 22 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, who acquired him from the Boston Bruins in a 2005 trade. Though the Sharks never won a championship, he helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2016 and the Western Conference Final three other times.

The 41-year-old also said Sunday he signed with the Maple Leafs because he believes they’re “ready to win now.” He inked a one-year contract with Toronto at the league minimum of $700,000.

Source: – theScore

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Cody Bellinger's no-doubter completes Dodgers' NLCS comeback over Atlanta –



The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated as Cody Bellinger’s drive soared deep into the Texas night. Bellinger flung his bat off to the side and strutted up the first-base line.

All the way to the World Series.

Bellinger hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning, and the Dodgers advanced to the Fall Classic for the third time in four years by topping Atlanta 4-3 in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday night.

“This year is our year,” manager Dave Roberts said.

Bellinger connected an inning after Kiké Hernandez became the first pinch hitter with a game-tying or go-ahead homer in a winner-take-all-game. His homer tied it at 3 and, like Bellinger’s, came on the eighth pitch of the at-bat.

The Dodgers, who matched an LCS record with 16 homers, overcame a 3-1 series deficit by winning three consecutive games when facing elimination for only the second time in the team’s storied history.

“Defensively, pitching, game-calling, planning, everything. we grinded all the way through this series,” said shortstop Corey Seager, who was named NLCS MVP after bashing a record five homers in the series.

“We’re glad to be on top.”

After winning both their NL Division Series and the NLCS in the new $1.2 billion US Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the Dodgers get to stay in place for the World Series. Game 1 against the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays is Tuesday night.


Julio Urias closed with three perfect innings as the Dodgers won their 24th NL pennant, their 12th since moving to Los Angeles. They are coming off their eighth consecutive NL West title.

It was the 16th consecutive playoff appearance in which NL East champion Atlanta did not win a World Series, the most for any team.

But Atlanta have won three consecutive NL East titles and have a bunch of young players surrounding NL MVP candidate Freddie Freeman, who had never been to the NLCS in his previous 10 seasons in Atlanta.

“We’re taking strides in the right direction. And we did it with our young players and the experience they got,” manager Brian Snitker said. “A lot of our young players grew up a lot in these last three months.”

The Dodgers again will try to win their first World Series title since 1988. They lost Game 7 at home three years ago to the Houston Astros, and then lost in five games to the Boston Red Sox in 2018 when Mookie Betts was the AL MVP and playing against Los Angeles.

Tampa Bay’s win in Game 7 of the ALCS late Saturday night wiped out the chance for an October rematch with the Astros, whose 2017 World Series victory over the Dodgers has been heavily tarnished by the revelations of Houston’s sign-stealing tactics that season.

Betts, the first-year Dodger signed for 12 more years, made another incredible defensive play, robbing NL MVP candidate Freddie Freeman of a solo homer in the fifth. He had run-saving plays in all three of their potential elimination games.

“This is really the first time we’ve had our backs against the wall,” Betts said. “It seemed like we were getting handled a little bit early on. We were able to get ahold of ourselves and fight back. we’re never going to give up.”

Julio Urías, the fifth Dodgers pitcher, retired the last nine batters for his fourth win in four appearances this post-season. The 24-year-old right-hander, already in his fourth post-season, has a 0.57 ERA in these playoffs.

“That’s his moment right there. That was his game to win and he went out there and did it,” Seager said.

The massive shot to right by reigning NL MVP and 2018 NLCS MVP Bellinger came on a 94-mph sinker after fouling off three pitches in a row by Chris Martin, the fifth Atlanta pitcher who started the seventh with strikeouts of Max Muncy and Will Smith.

Hernandez led off the sixth with a 424-foot drive to left-centre off A.J. Minter.

“Game 7 of the NLCS, win or go home, I was ready from first pitch of the game on. Mentally prepared, physically ready, envisioning AB situations,” Hernandez said.

Dansby Swanson homered for Atlanta, which hasn’t been to the World Series since 1999.

Rookie starters square off

Before the late drama, it was the first winner-take-all game in post-season history matching rookie starters.

The Dodgers scored twice in the third to tie it at 2, the first runs allowed by Ian Anderson in his four post-season starts — the 22-year-old right-hander started only six games for Atlanta in the regular season. His scoreless streak of 17 2/3 innings was the third-longest to start a post-season career.

Justin Turner drew a two-out walk, Muncy doubled and Will Smith bounced a two-run single through the open gap near second created by the defensive shift.

The Dodgers’ Dustin May became the first pitcher to walk the first two batters in a winner-take-all-game — and the 23-year-old from nearby Justin, Texas, did so without throwing a strike to Ronald Acuña or Freeman. Atlanta didn’t even swing at a pitch until Marcell Ozuna’s sharp single through the left side of the infield on an 0-1 curveball for a 1-0 lead.

“We believed we should have been in the World Series,” Freeman said. “It’s just the Dodgers came, and they won three games in a row. I feel like you can hang your head high. We gave it everything we had.”

Atlanta had just taken a 3-2 lead on Austin Riley’s RBI single when the Dodgers turned an unconventional double play in the fourth. With runners on second and third, and the infield playing back, Nick Markakis hit a hard grounder to third baseman Justin Turner. Swanson got caught in a rundown between third and home. He was tagged out when Turner dived at him before getting up and throwing to Seager at third to get Riley.

Asked about momentum changes in the game, Roberts said that play “started it, to kind of keep the game where it was at.”

Swanson became the 14th different player to homer in the series, the most ever in an NLCS. He was the sixth Atlanta player to go deep, while the Dodgers had eight. The two teams combined to hit 25 homers, tied for the second-most in any LCS.

The Dodgers and Rays last played in 2019, when they split two games in Los Angeles and split two in Tampa Bay. That was the same as when they had previously played in 2016.

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Claypool scores, Steelers continue domination of Browns in Pittsburgh –



PITTSBURGH — Not yet Cleveland. At least, not in Pittsburgh.

James Conner ran for 101 yards and a touchdown and the Steelers battered the Browns in a 38-7 blowout victory on Sunday to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1978. Ben Roethlisberger added 162 yards passing and a score.

Pittsburgh emphatically ended Cleveland’s four-game winning streak and extended the Browns’ skid at Heinz Field to 17 and counting.

The Browns (4-2) were unable to get anything going against a defence that sacked aching Baker Mayfield four times, picked him off twice and chased him late in the third quarter with the game out of reach. The NFL’s top rushing offence managed 75 yards on the ground — 113 below its season average — as the Steelers dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage in easily their best performance in 2020.

Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick stepped in front of a Mayfield pass and raced 33 yards to the end zone fors an early 10-0 lead. The Browns, off to the franchise’s best start since 1994, never really recovered in a stadium where they haven’t won since Mayfield was in elementary school.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Lamar Jackson threw for a touchdown and ran for a score and the Ravens held on.

The Eagles (1-4-1) came in missing seven offensive starters, including four offensive linemen, and then lost two more when running back Miles Sanders left in the third quarter and tight end Zach Ertz exited in the fourth.

Still, the Ravens (5-1) needed to prevent a 2-point conversion with 1:55 remaining to secure the win. Carson Wentz was stopped by L.J. Fort and Matthew Judon trying to run it in. The Eagles wouldn’t have needed the conversion after Wentz sneaked in from the 1 if coach Doug Pederson kicked the extra point when they scored early in the third quarter to cut Baltimore’s deficit to 17-6.

Wentz tossed two TD passes, was sacked six times and managed to finish the game along with centre Jason Kelce as Philadelphia’s only healthy starters.

Jackson, the reigning NFL MVP, was efficient, passing for 186 yards. He ran for a 37-yard TD and had 108 yards on the ground.


FOXBOROUGH, Mass (AP) — Brandon McManus kicked six field goals and linebacker Malik Reed came up with a big sack late in a game twice delayed following positive coronavirus tests for both teams.

Sunday’s game was originally scheduled for last week but got postponed twice, first by a day, then by seven. The delay was caused after multiple Patriots players tested positive for COVID-19, including quarterback Cam Newton and reigning Defensive Player of the Year cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

New England (2-3) rallied from an 18-3 deficit and nearly pulled off the comeback, but had three turnovers.

Drew Lock finished 10 of 24 for 189 yards in his first start since injuring his shoulder in Denver’s Week 2 loss to Pittsburgh. He was steady early, but had back-to-back interceptions in the fourth quarter to let the Patriots back into the game.

Denver’s defence entered the game with two takeaways on the season. It forced three on Sunday, coming up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. That underscored a rough day for New England, which was held to 288 yards.

It was the first game back for Newton, who returned after missing New England’s Week 4 loss at Kansas City. He finished 17 of 25 for 157 yards. He also rushed 10 times for 76 yards and touchdown.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derrick Henry took a direct snap and ran 5 yards for a touchdown 3:30 into overtime and the Titans remained undefeated.

The Titans (5-0) overcame two turnovers, Stephen Gostkowski having a field goal blocked and missing another, and the defence giving up 335 yards passing and four touchdown passes to Deshaun Watson.

Watson’s final TD pass put Houston (1-5) up 36-29 with 1:50 left, but a 2-point conversion attempt failed.

Ryan Tannehill, who had three of his 19 career winning drives to start this season, drove the Titans 76 yards before finding A.J. Brown on a 6-yard TD pass with 4 seconds left. Gostkowski made the extra point.

Henry, last season’s rushing leader, ran for 202 yards in regulation, including a 94-yard TD sprint. In overtime, he took a screen pass 53 yards on the second play. He capped the six-play, 82-yard drive with a wildcat snap for his second TD, finishing with 212 yards rushing and 52 yards receiving.

The Titans have their second-best start in franchise history since winning the first 10 games in 2008. Their win, combined with Pittsburgh’s victory over Cleveland, sets up a showdown between the AFC’s last two undefeated teams here in a week.

The Texans (1-5) nearly gave interim coach Romeo Crennel a second straight victory.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Nick Foles threw for one touchdown and ran for another, Chicago’s defence forced three turnovers and sacked Teddy Bridgewater four times.

Foles finished with 198 yards passing and a touchdown and David Montgomery added 58 yards on the ground as the Bears (5-1) opened the season 3-0 on the road for the first time since 2006, when they reached the Super Bowl.

Bridgewater was under duress most of the game. He was held to a season-low 216 yards passing and was intercepted twice.

Chicago improved to 2-1 with Foles as the starter. The 2018 Super Bowl MVP also rallied the Bears past the Falcons when coach Matt Nagy benched Mitchell Trubisky in Week 3.

The Panthers (3-3) had their three-game winning streak snapped.


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Joe Judge and the New York Giants have finally won, and they have rookie Tae Crowder and a risky gamble by Washington coach Ron Rivera for making them relevant again.

Crowder, the last player taken in the NFL draft — Mr. Irrelevant — scooped up a fumble and ran 43 yards for a touchdown with 3:28 to play.

The game wasn’t decided until Rivera rolled the dice after a 22-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Allen to Cam Sims with :36 left in regulation to cap a 10-play, 75-yard march.

Instead of playing for overtime, Rivera had Washington (1-5) go for the win with a 2-point conversion in an attempt to get back in the mediocre NFC East race. Allen found no one open, scrambled to his left and had his pass under pressure fall incomplete.

It gave the 38-year-old Judge his first win as an NFL coach and allowed the Giants (1-5) to avoid a second 0-6 start since 2013.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Julio Jones returned from injury to catch two of Matt Ryan’s four touchdown passes, as the Falcons got their first victory of the season — one week after the firing of head coach Dan Quinn.

Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions in the first half for the first time in his career, and the Falcons (1-5) turned those picks into 17 points to build a 20-0 lead at the break. That proved to be solid enough for even this falter-prone team.

The depleted Vikings (1-5) surrendered 40-plus points for the second time this year after going five straight seasons without any such games. After another injury left them with only rookies available at cornerback for more than half the game, Ryan completed 30 of 40 passes for 371 yards to rebound from a three-week stretch during which he only found the end zone once.

Jones, who missed all but one half of the previous three games with hamstring trouble, had eight receptions for 137 yards. Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurt each chipped in a touchdown catch, Younghoe Koo kicked four field goals, and the Falcons rewarded interim coach Raheem Morris with a win in his debut after Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff were dismissed less than four years after the infamous blown 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl.


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — After trailing 21-0, Philip Rivers rallied the Colts with three touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score on the first play of the fourth quarter. It equaled the largest comeback in the franchise’s regular-season history. None of the previous four came at home, and the last time Indianapolis (4-2) achieved the feat came in 2003 at Tampa Bay. Only a 28-point comeback in the 2013 playoffs against Kansas City was a larger margin.

It’s the fifth time the Bengals (1-4-1) have blown a 21-point lead in franchise history, their second-worst all time.

Rivers was sensational. He wound up 29 of 44 with 371 yards, one interception, and threw the go-ahead 14-yard score to Jack Doyle. Rodrigo Sanchez added a 40-yard field goal and Julian Blackmon picked off Joe Burrow with 39 seconds left to seal it.

Cincinnati, down 28-27, could have taken the lead with a 48-yard field goal with 8:02 to play, but Randy Bullock hit the right upright.

The on-time kickoff came as a relief in Indianapolis after Friday morning’s scare. Four people inside the Colts’ facility initially tested positive for COVID-19. Second tests performed on the four proved to be false positives.


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Rookie D’Andre Swift ran for a career-high 116 yards and two touchdowns, and Matthew Stafford got an elusive TD pass against the only team he hadn’t thrown one against in 12 NFL seasons.

Detroit (2-3) made this one look easy, somewhat surprising considering the Lions had lost six straight in which they led by double digits. They’ve already done it three times this season, collapsing in losses to Chicago, Green Bay and New Orleans.

It probably helped that this one came against hapless Jacksonville (1-5), which has now lost five straight and allowed at least 30 points in each. It’s the first time in franchise history the Jaguars have done that, putting the jobs of coach Doug Marrone and defensive co-ordinator Todd Wash in more jeopardy.

Lions coach Matt Patricia can breathe easy for a week. He had lost 15 of his previous 17 games, raising speculation about his future with the franchise.


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes and the Dolphins held the Jets without a third-down conversion until the fourth quarter.

The game was so lopsided that Miami rookie Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in mop-up duty with 2:27 left. The Dolphins’ potential franchise quarterback ran onto the field to a big roar from the crowd of 10,772, and a grinning Fitzpatrick waved to encourage more cheers.

The Dolphins (3-3) reached .500 for the first time under second-year coach Brian Flores and moved into second place in the AFC East behind Buffalo. The Jets (0-6) became the NFL’s only winless team and continued their worst start since 1996, increasing the heat on embattled coach Adam Gase.

The Dolphins blanked the Jets for the first time since the January 1983 AFC championship game, which they won 14-0.


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady outplayed Aaron Rodgers in a rare meeting between the Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks,

It was the 43-year-old Brady’s first signature victory since signing with the Bucs (4-2) after a historic 20-year run with the New England Patriots, which included nine NFL title game appearances and six championships.

He got his favourite target from his days with the Patriots into the mix, throwing a 12-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski for a 28-10 halftime lead. It was Gronkowski’s first TD since December 2018 and the 79th for the quarterback/tight end tandem — tied for fourth on the all-time list with Miami’s Dan Marino and Mark Clayton.

Brady also threw a 7-yard TD pass to rookie Tyler Johnson and Ronald Jones had a pair of rushing TDs for Tampa Bay, which got an even more impressive performance from its defence.

Rodgers threw two interceptions — Green Bay’s first turnovers of the season — within a three-pass span of the second quarter to turn a 10-0 Packers lead into a 14-10 deficit.

Green Bay (4-1) never recovered.

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