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Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees.
“Now that I find myself on the highest step on the Champs-Elysees podium, it’s more beautiful than I ever imagined,” Nibali, the Arc de Triomphe behind him, told the crowd. “I’ve never been this moved in all my life.”
Nibali, who calls himself “a flag-bearer of anti-doping,” is the sixth rider to win all three Grand Tours — France, Italy and Spain.
"I think it’s very important for cycling in Italy because at the moment there isn’t a lot of trust,” said spectator Massimo Solaroli, a 47-year-old physical education teacher from the Italian town of Imola. “We don’t believe an Italian champion can win an important race without doping.”

Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees.

“Now that I find myself on the highest step on the Champs-Elysees podium, it’s more beautiful than I ever imagined,” Nibali, the Arc de Triomphe behind him, told the crowd. “I’ve never been this moved in all my life.”

Nibali, who calls himself “a flag-bearer of anti-doping,” is the sixth rider to win all three Grand Tours — France, Italy and Spain.

"I think it’s very important for cycling in Italy because at the moment there isn’t a lot of trust,” said spectator Massimo Solaroli, a 47-year-old physical education teacher from the Italian town of Imola. “We don’t believe an Italian champion can win an important race without doping.”

Rory McIlroy had to work a little harder and sweat a little more. No matter. Just like his other two majors, this British Open was never really in doubt.
With two key birdies around the turn, and a powerful tee shot at just the right moment, McIlroy completed a wire-to-wire victory Sunday at Royal Liverpool and captured the third leg of the career Grand Slam. The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland joined some elite company beyond the names on the silver claret jug.
Jack Nicklaus (23) and Tiger Woods (24) are the only other players to capture three different majors by the time they were 25. McIlroy won the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional and the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, both by eight shots. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Rory McIlroy had to work a little harder and sweat a little more. No matter. Just like his other two majors, this British Open was never really in doubt.

With two key birdies around the turn, and a powerful tee shot at just the right moment, McIlroy completed a wire-to-wire victory Sunday at Royal Liverpool and captured the third leg of the career Grand Slam. The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland joined some elite company beyond the names on the silver claret jug.

Jack Nicklaus (23) and Tiger Woods (24) are the only other players to capture three different majors by the time they were 25. McIlroy won the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional and the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, both by eight shots. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

So much for those second-round doldrums. Rory McIlroy is holding up just fine on Day 2 of the British Open.As for Tiger Woods, it looks as though he’s still a bit rusty.McIlroy, who has struggled on Fridays throughout the year for reasons that are a mystery to him and everyone else, was 9 under par coming down the stretch at Royal Liverpool, putting him three shots ahead of the field.Woods, on the other hand, went tumbling off the leaderboard with a double-bogey at the first hole and a bogey at the second. Looks like that 15th major title will have to wait a little longer, which really shouldn’t be surprising for someone playing for only the second time since back surgery. (Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

So much for those second-round doldrums. Rory McIlroy is holding up just fine on Day 2 of the British Open.

As for Tiger Woods, it looks as though he’s still a bit rusty.

McIlroy, who has struggled on Fridays throughout the year for reasons that are a mystery to him and everyone else, was 9 under par coming down the stretch at Royal Liverpool, putting him three shots ahead of the field.

Woods, on the other hand, went tumbling off the leaderboard with a double-bogey at the first hole and a bogey at the second. Looks like that 15th major title will have to wait a little longer, which really shouldn’t be surprising for someone playing for only the second time since back surgery. (Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Jason Dufner of the United States hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during the first round of The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on July 17, 2014 in Hoylake, England. (A polarizing filter was used in the creation of this image.) (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Jason Dufner of the United States hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during the first round of The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on July 17, 2014 in Hoylake, England. (A polarizing filter was used in the creation of this image.) (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

She hadn’t done splits and high kicks since her cheerleading days in high school, but 40-year-old dance instructor Kriste Lewis set a lofty goal: to try out for the New Orleans Saints cheerleading squad, known as the Saintsations.Faced with competition from women who mostly ranged in age from 18 to 28, Lewis never thought she’d make the team. And then, she did.“I wanted to set a goal for myself, and the audition was a specific date that required specific training, so my goal was just to make it to the audition,” said Lewis, who lives with her husband and two sons in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, about 100 miles northeast of New Orleans. “Honestly, I really did not think I was going to make it.” (Photo: Bill Haber/The Associated Press)

She hadn’t done splits and high kicks since her cheerleading days in high school, but 40-year-old dance instructor Kriste Lewis set a lofty goal: to try out for the New Orleans Saints cheerleading squad, known as the Saintsations.

Faced with competition from women who mostly ranged in age from 18 to 28, Lewis never thought she’d make the team. And then, she did.

“I wanted to set a goal for myself, and the audition was a specific date that required specific training, so my goal was just to make it to the audition,” said Lewis, who lives with her husband and two sons in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, about 100 miles northeast of New Orleans. “Honestly, I really did not think I was going to make it.” (Photo: Bill Haber/The Associated Press)

The Hirsute Derby: Baseball’s best beardsIf ever there was a mismatch between sponsor and event, it was Gillette and anything related to baseball’s all-star festivities this week. The wire services on Monday filed many photographs of major league baseball players shaving with Gillette’s assuredly capable products.It’s mostly a losing battle, getting ballplayers to shave nowadays. The accompanying graphic is proof.

The Hirsute Derby: Baseball’s best beards
If ever there was a mismatch between sponsor and event, it was Gillette and anything related to baseball’s all-star festivities this week. The wire services on Monday filed many photographs of major league baseball players shaving with Gillette’s assuredly capable products.

It’s mostly a losing battle, getting ballplayers to shave nowadays. The accompanying graphic is proof.

Derek Jeter soaked in the adulation from fans and players during one more night on baseball’s national stage, set the tone for the American League with a pregame speech and then delivered two final All-Star hits.Mike Trout, perhaps the top candidate to succeed the 40-year-old Yankees captain as the face of the game, seemed ready to assume the role with a tiebreaking triple and later a go-ahead double that earned the 22-year-old MVP honours.On a summer evening filled with reminders of generational change, the AL kept up nearly two decades of dominance by beating the National League 5-3 Tuesday for its 13th win in 17 years."I think let Mike be Mike. I don’t think people have to necessarily appoint someone to a particular position," Jeter said. "He’s got a bright future ahead of him. I don’t know how much better he can get, but if he consistently does what he’s doing, then he will be here for a long time." (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

Derek Jeter soaked in the adulation from fans and players during one more night on baseball’s national stage, set the tone for the American League with a pregame speech and then delivered two final All-Star hits.

Mike Trout, perhaps the top candidate to succeed the 40-year-old Yankees captain as the face of the game, seemed ready to assume the role with a tiebreaking triple and later a go-ahead double that earned the 22-year-old MVP honours.

On a summer evening filled with reminders of generational change, the AL kept up nearly two decades of dominance by beating the National League 5-3 Tuesday for its 13th win in 17 years.

"I think let Mike be Mike. I don’t think people have to necessarily appoint someone to a particular position," Jeter said. "He’s got a bright future ahead of him. I don’t know how much better he can get, but if he consistently does what he’s doing, then he will be here for a long time." (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

At a party 24 years in the making, hundreds of thousands of Germans showed their admiration and adoration for their World Cup winners at a victory parade to the Brandenburg Gate on Tuesday.German soccer players from left:  Lukas Podolski, Jerome Boateng and Mesut Ozil celebrate on stage. An estimated 400,000 people packed the “fan mile” in front of the Berlin landmark to welcome home coach Joachim Loew’s team and the trophy. (Photo: Alex Grimm/The Associated Press)

At a party 24 years in the making, hundreds of thousands of Germans showed their admiration and adoration for their World Cup winners at a victory parade to the Brandenburg Gate on Tuesday.

German soccer players from left:  Lukas Podolski, Jerome Boateng and Mesut Ozil celebrate on stage. An estimated 400,000 people packed the “fan mile” in front of the Berlin landmark to welcome home coach Joachim Loew’s team and the trophy. (Photo: Alex Grimm/The Associated Press)

Contador crashes out: Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali stamped his dominance on the Tour de France by winning Stage 10 in the Vosges mountains on Monday — shortly after his biggest rival for the title, two-time champion Alberto Contador, crashed out with a fractured shin after a high-speed spill.

According to his spokesman, Contador said he wasn’t exactly sure what caused the crash — which happened while he was speeding downhill at over 70 kph about halfway through the stage. Contador began the stage in ninth place overall — 4 minutes, 8 seconds back of Gallopin.

TV images showed thick streams of blood pouring from Contador’s right knee after the crash, his hip was scraped up, and the back of his jersey torn. Team director Bjarne Riis rushed over and bandaged the knee. Philippe Mauduit, a team sporting director, said initial X-rays showed that a Contador had a fractured shin.

The Spaniard rode on for about another half-hour, clearly in pain, and finally stopped, got off, wiped his eyes and climbed into a team car. (Photos: Christophe Ena/The Associated Press, Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors kept on saying it. It did not matter if it was Dwane Casey, Masai Ujiri or Kyle Lowry who was speaking. Their seven-game series against the Brooklyn Nets, the one that ended with a gut-punch of a one-point defeat on home court, was a “learning experience.”
The thing about such opportunities is you can never really know if anybody went ahead and learned anything tangible. For the Raptors, we will not start to see the answer until November, and will probably not be fully informed until next season’s playoffs are over, assuming the Raptors make it back there.
Of all of the Raptors’ pupils, Terrence Ross endured the harshest lesson. He started each of the seven games, sure, but that was more about the Raptors’ lack of options on the wing than Ross’s play. He shot just 30% from the field, averaging only 5.0 points per game. (Photo: Darren Calabrese/National Post)

The Toronto Raptors kept on saying it. It did not matter if it was Dwane Casey, Masai Ujiri or Kyle Lowry who was speaking. Their seven-game series against the Brooklyn Nets, the one that ended with a gut-punch of a one-point defeat on home court, was a “learning experience.”

The thing about such opportunities is you can never really know if anybody went ahead and learned anything tangible. For the Raptors, we will not start to see the answer until November, and will probably not be fully informed until next season’s playoffs are over, assuming the Raptors make it back there.

Of all of the Raptors’ pupils, Terrence Ross endured the harshest lesson. He started each of the seven games, sure, but that was more about the Raptors’ lack of options on the wing than Ross’s play. He shot just 30% from the field, averaging only 5.0 points per game. (Photo: Darren Calabrese/National Post)