Tag Archives: distraction

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini dismisses sack rumours and says Premier League title race with Manchester United not over

Mancini rubbishes sack rumours as he claims United are not out of sight in title race

By
Chris Wheeler

PUBLISHED:

13:39 GMT, 15 February 2013

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UPDATED:

13:58 GMT, 15 February 2013

Roberto Mancini has dismissed fresh speculation over his job, claiming that every Premier League manager should be in fear of the axe if Manchester City decide to sack him.

Ex-City defender Danny Mills predicted yesterday that Mancini will lose his job if the champions go out of the FA Cup at home to Leeds on Sunday.

When told that former players were claiming his position is under threat, Mancini hit back saying: ‘Probably the players that won a lot of trophies in the club’s history!

Cup preparation: Roberto Mancini heads out on to the training ground ahead of Manchester City's FA Cup fifth round tie with Leeds United this weekend

Cup preparation: Roberto Mancini heads out on to the training ground ahead of Manchester City's FA Cup fifth round tie with Leeds United this weekend

‘We started our project three years
ago. In three years we are always on the top, we fight for the title, we
won three trophies, we have the chance to win more this year. All the
people who talk about this don’t understand football.

‘If Manchester City should sack me, the other 20 teams in the Premier League should be without a manager.’

Mancini is under pressure again after
last weekend’s tame surrender at Southampton left City 12 points adrift
of Manchester United.

But after overturning an eight-point
deficit with six games to go last season, the Italian warned Sir Alex
Ferguson’s team that this year’s title race is not over yet.

‘I don’t think like this, never,’ he said. ‘I have another mentality. always think we can win everything.

Welcome break: Mancini will welcome the distraction of the FA Cup having slipped 12 points behind Man United in the Premier League title race

Welcome break: Mancini will welcome the distraction of the FA Cup having slipped 12 points behind Man United in the Premier League title race

Spring in the step: Carlos Tevez goes for the ball in training yesterday

Spring in the step: Carlos Tevez goes for the ball in training yesterday

‘We have 12 games. We need to do our
best, not look at the table because it is not important now. We are a
good team. We did some mistakes and lost some stupid points. We don’t
deserve to stay 12 points behind but United deserve to stay on top at
this moment but at the moment we will see what happens.

‘I think that is a difficult moment
because we lost seven points in three games but in football sometimes it
is strange. When you think it is finished, three or four games can
change everything. While we have the points available to win, we should
believe in ourselves.’

Mancini confirmed that captain Vincent
Kompany will not be fit in time to face Leeds on Sunday as he recovers
from a calf strain, with Gareth Barry also expected to miss the game
through injury.

Mario Balotelli will be sold by Manchester City

EXCLUSIVE: Mario must go! City want quick cash deal for Balotelli after Mancini bust-up

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

22:37 GMT, 4 January 2013

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UPDATED:

23:14 GMT, 4 January 2013

Manchester City are ready to sell Mario Balotelli as soon as possible after Roberto Mancini privately conceded he cannot change the wayward Italy striker.

Despite further claims to the contrary from the City manager, it is understood that Mancini has finally decided it is time to move Balotelli out of the club.

City will not wish to say the 22-year-old is for sale, for fear of driving down his plummeting value even further.

Are you sure you should have that Mario Balotelli returned to training on Friday after his bust-up

Are you sure you should have that Mario Balotelli returned to training on Friday after his bust-up

But with Balotelli now providing virtually nothing on the field — he has scored just one goal this season in the Barclays Premier League — and proving to be a constant distraction behind the scenes, Mancini, having previously stood by the player against the advice of many of his staff, accepts he has done all he can.

Mancini spoke for the first time about the embarrassing scenes that occurred at the end of a City training session on Thursday as the manager and his striker were photographed pushing and shoving each other in front of the astonished first-team squad.

Mancini said he would give Balotelli a ‘hundred chances to change’ and confirmed that the former Inter Milan star would not be fined and would be in the squad for the FA Cup tie with Watford at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon.

Game over: Balotelli will now be sold by Manchester City despite Mancini insisting otherwise (below)

Game over: Balotelli will now be sold by Manchester City despite Mancini insisting otherwise (below)

Glum: Roberto Mancini faces the questions during his Friday press conference

But City are willing to talk to any club who may wish to make an offer. AC Milan are circling but City want a cash sale — not a loan.

This all points to Balotelli staying during the transfer window and being sold in the summer.

On Friday, further details emerged of Balotelli’s assault on team-mate Scott Sinclair that prompted Mancini’s bust-up with Balotelli. Sportsmail understands that Balotelli’s lunge on Sinclair was so wild that Mancini felt compelled to intervene.

‘This was not just a mistimed tackle that you sometimes get towards the end of training,’ a source revealed. ‘This was an horrendous, horrific slash.’

Pals again Balotelli (left) laughs with team-mate Scott Sinclair during training on Friday

Pals again Balotelli (left) laughs with team-mate Scott Sinclair during training on Friday

Meanwhile a separate issue loomed over another City striker when it emerged that Sergio Aguero has split from his wife Giannina, daughter of Diego Maradona, after four years.

It is unclear whether she will live with their three-year-old son Benjamin in Madrid or Buenos Aires, but the news is bound to raise concerns over Aguero remaining settled in Manchester.

Manchester City ready to listen to offers for Mario Balotelli as Roberto Mancini prepares 46m Falcao bid

Mancini ready to listen to offers for Balotelli as Man City boss prepares 46m Falcao bid

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UPDATED:

06:49 GMT, 13 November 2012

Manchester City will explore the possibility of selling Mario
Balotelli in January if he does not heed the latest wake-up call from
manager Roberto Mancini.

Balotelli watched Sunday's win over Tottenham from the stands after
he was left out of the squad altogether for what Mancini described as a
'technical' reason, and then flew back to Italy for Wednesday's
international against France amid fresh speculation over his future in
England.

Trim: Mario Balotelli shows off his new haircut during training with the Italy squad on Monday

Trim: Mario Balotelli shows off his new haircut during training with the Italy squad on Monday

National service: Balotelli will hope to put his recent misery with Manchester City behind him

National service: Balotelli will hope to put his recent misery with Manchester City behind him

It is understood that Mancini wants to see a dramatic improvement from the 22-year-old striker whose impact on the pitch – just two goals in 13 appearances this season – no longer justifies the distraction he causes.

Balotelli was spotted partying by City fans the night before the Spurs game. He was seen entering the Panacea Restaurant and Bar in Alderley Edge at
1am — with City kicking off at 1.30pm against Spurs that afternoon.

Balotelli had been axed from the City squad the previous day and told he was
not required at the team hotel that night.

Although Balotelli had not officially broken any rules by being out as he was not in
the squad, the latest indiscretion has not gone down well.

City's new director of football Txiki Begiristain is believed to be open to selling Balotelli, and has told Mancini that he must offload players before adding to his squad in January.

Just warming up: Italy's squad jog in training ahead of their friendly against France on Wednesday

Just warming up: Italy's squad jog in training ahead of their friendly against France on Wednesday

Mancini wants to sign Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao and has reportedly already met the player's
representative, Jorge Mendes, to discuss a 46m bid.

The problem could be finding any takers for a player who would cost in
the region of 20million and earns nearly 100,000-a-week.

Both Milan clubs are interested in taking Balotelli back to Italy, and
the player is keen to be nearer his hometown of Brescia with girlfriend
Raffaella Fico expected to give birth to their first child over
Christmas.

However, it is
unlikely that AC Milan could afford him and they are not interested in
any swap deal involving their rising star Stephan El Shaarawy.

Inter, who sold Balotelli to City for 24m in the summer of 2010, are a
more realistic option but would be unlikely to take him in January.
They already have a problem player in Antonio Cassano and are concerned
about the effect signing Balotelli in mid-season would have on their
dressing-room.

Out in the cold: Balotelli was dropped from Manchester City's team that beat Tottenham on Sunday

Out in the cold: Balotelli was dropped from Manchester City's team that beat Tottenham on Sunday

Paris Saint-Germain, who had a bid rejected in the summer, may revive their interest but the player is known to prefer Italy.

He still hopes to salvage his City career despite a demotion to
fourth-choice striker behind Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko.

In an interview withTime Magazine earlier this month, Balotelli
once again spoke of his special relationship with Mancini who brought
him through the ranks at Inter.

'My relationship with Mancini is really important,' he said. 'He's known me since I was young and he's like a father to me.

'I used to play with the young children at Inter Milan, so I know
him very well and I can tell him anything.' City won in Balotelli's
absence on Sunday with Dzeko's late strike clinching a 2-1 comeback
victory over Spurs.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart believes it was the perfect riposte to critics
who claim that City are divided and lack the togetherness to retain
their Premier League title.

'The spirit has never been in question,' said Hart. 'We have that
and we have quality. Those two combined makes us the team we are.

'It's not a quality we've developed. It's just instilled in the
people. It's a group of winners. Twenty players who play to win – we're
lucky with that. We don't turn up to tick boxes or make people happy,
we turn up to win.

'We showed why we are champions and hopefully we will be again.'

England sqaud for Sweden friendly to be named by Roy Hodgson

Friendly fire: Why Sweden test is more than a 'distraction' for England boss Hodgson…

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UPDATED:

15:14 GMT, 7 November 2012

Meaningless distraction or match of great significance While many will regard England’s trip to Sweden next week as more clutter in an already crowded calendar, for Roy Hodgson this is not just ‘another’ friendly.

Hodgson’s reign as England manager has been very much a slow-burner, a mixed bag of draws against organised teams and workmanlike victories over the nations that England have been expected to beat, but he is now entering a crucial phase.

Sweden, whom England beat at Euro 2012 thanks to a late rally, are always obdurate opponents and can be relied upon to provide England with a good examination; they showed when salvaging a remarkable 4-4 draw against Germany that they should not be underestimated.

Friendly fire: Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling could make his England debut against Sweden next week

Friendly fire: Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling could make his England debut against Sweden next week

This, however, is one game that Hodgson will not want to lose, not least because he is returning to the country where is managerial career began back in 1976. With that in mind, then, do not be surprised if the squad he announces tomorrow is sprinkled with senior names.

Of course there will be some experimentation. Young talents such as the Liverpool pair Raheem Sterling and Jonjo Shelvey have been pushing for inclusion and Sterling, in some ways, would be better served going to Sweden than playing for the Under-21s against Northern Ireland at Blackpool.

Sterling, whose performances for Liverpool have been getting stronger and braver with each passing week, was given his first taste of senior football Hodgson when he was just 15 in a pre-season friendly against Borussia Moenchengladbach. The temptation to pitch him in will be huge.

What Hodgson does with Jack Wilshere, though, will be the most intriguing aspect of all. The Arsenal midfielder has only just returned from 14-months out with injury but, in his period of absence, he experienced the curious of phenomenon of his reputation actually blossoming without him kicking a ball.

Forward thinking: England boss Roy Hodgson

Forward thinking: England boss Roy Hodgson

Wilshere’s ability to give and go, to link up play and keep Arsenal’s passing carousel turning means he will, in time, become a hugely important figure for England and Hodgson’s eagerness to get him included back in the fold is understandable. England, after all, are not blessed with midfielders like Wilshere.

But it would be rash to pitch him back into this environment so soon. Players who have been out for long spells can occasionally be susceptible to muscle injuries and it would be maddening for all if Wilshere tweaked, say, a hamstring playing in a match when he wasn’t desperately needed.

‘A full game would be too much at the moment,’ Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said recently. ‘I will speak about it with Roy, but what is important now is that he gets back to his level. People have to be a little bit patient to see the best of him again.

‘It is a friendly. Jack should skip that. What is important now is that he gets back to full fitness for this team. Once he is back he will play for England again.’

Of that there is no doubt. There are plenty of suitable dates in the future for Wilshere to wear Three Lions on his chest – against Brazil at Wembley in February, for instance.

Asking him to do it again in Sweden, however, might not be the wisest move – even if this is not just ‘another friendly’ for Hodgson.

WHO HODGSON COULD TURN TO…

Steven Caulker – Tottenham
A superb loan spell at Swansea last season has been rewarded with promotion to the Tottenham first-team under Andre Villas-Boas and the 20-year-old is adapting well.
Has international experience after representing Great Britain at the Olympics and it seems only a matter of time before England caps start to trickle in.

Carl Jenkinson – Arsenal
Jumped up two leagues to join Arsenal from Charlton a year ago and it showed in his first full season as the right-back struggled to adapt.
But Arsene Wenger’s patience and coaching has paid off well and a much improved start to this season means the 20-year-old, who is capped by Finland at Under 21 level, is firmly in Hodgson’s plans.

Raheem Sterling – Liverpool
Will he play for Jamaica or England At just 17-years-old it all seems premature but his performances since breaking into the Liverpool team have caught the eye of many and Hodgson will be keen to get him into the England set-up as quick as possible – if you’re good enough, you’re old enough as Michael Owen proved.

Mark Noble – West Ham
There’s been no way in to the centre
of England’s midfield in recent years with Gerrard, Lampard, Scott
Parker, Gareth Barry and Michael Carrick all playing regular parts, but
Hammers fans will argue a case for Noble to be capped. The 25-year-old (pictured, below)
is approaching his best years and looks confident defending or attacking
a penalty box.

In with a shout: Mark Noble

Tom Ince – Blackpool
The son of former England captain, Paul. The winger’s performances in the Championship have highlighted the attention of many Premier League clubs with Manchester United the latest to be linked with the former Liverpool player. Has no Premier League experience but it seems only a matter of time before the 20-year-old gains it one way or another.

Sammy Ameobi – Newcastle
The younger brother of 11 years to Shola is one to watch at Newcastle, with his confidence and ability on the ball in attacking areas marking out his potential. The 20-year-old’s versatility to play in a striker’s role as well as on the flank, especially the left, would also help plug a problem area for England. Needs more starts for Newcastle but is improving fast.

Charlie Austin – Burnley
Steve Bull, Dave Nugent and Jay Bothroyd have all played in an England attack while representing lower league clubs, so why can’t Austin The 23-year-old striker has scored the most goals in Europe this season with an incredible record of 20 goals from 17 games playing in the Championship.

DAN RIPLEY

England"s batsman are targets for sledging… in the nets

England's batsman are targets for sledging already… in the nets

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UPDATED:

21:44 GMT, 1 November 2012

England have prepared for their Test
trial by spin by employing unusual distraction techniques ahead of their
gruelling four-match series in India.

Practice sessions have taken place to
a backdrop of recorded crowd noises, while team psychologist Mark
Bawden has stood in adjoining nets in an effort to put the batsmen off
by clapping and sledging.

Come in No 6: Samit Patel celebrates after scoring a century against India A in Mumbai

On the pull: Patel

Come in No 6: Samit Patel celebrates scoring a century against India A in Mumbai to all but seal his Test place

India A v England

Click here for a full scorecard from Mumbai

As Samit Patel scored his first
senior century on England duty in the drawn three-day game with India A
in Mumbai, it emerged that Alastair Cook's side had used the training
methods during their pre-tour camp in Dubai.

And while team insiders concede there
is no substitute for the real thing, England have been determined to
replicate as far as possible the unique experience of batting in India's
noisy stadiums, on turning tracks, surrounded by close-in fielders.

Patel's high-class innings of 104,
following Cook's patient 119, looks to have secured him the No 6 spot
for the first Test at Ahmedabad, starting on November 15 – and suggested
the work in Dubai had not necessarily gone to waste.

Counter-attack: Wicketkeeper Matt Prior hit a run-a-ball half-century during England's innings

Counter-attack: Wicketkeeper Matt Prior hit a run-a-ball half-century during England's innings

Fast bowler Jimmy Anderson, who took
two wickets as India A closed on 124 for 4, an overall lead of only 67,
said: 'Samit was outstanding in this game. He showed great temperament,
played at his own tempo, and complemented Cooky really nicely.

'He plays spin very well. He was very
controlled and composed out there, and that's what you need in these
conditions. Often the crowd can be noisy out here, and there are a lot
of distractions and pressures created by men around the bat. That's what
you have to overcome.'

Patel also took the wicket of the
talented Ajinkya Rahane with his left-arm spin, caught by Anderson at
slip moments before the teams shook hands on the draw, and his all-round
potential has helped him leapfrog both Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow
in the race for a spot in the top six.

There were runs too for wicketkeeper
Matt Prior, who bashed 51 in 52 balls as England replied to India A's
first-innings 369 with a total of 426.

The second of England's three warm-up games before the first Test begins tomorrow against Mumbai A.

Warning signs: Part-time left-arm spinner Yuvraj Singh (right) picked up five England wickets

Warning signs: Part-time left-arm spinner Yuvraj Singh (right) picked up five England wickets

Star man: The day belonged to Patel after his fine century as England enjoyed the better of the draw

Star man: The day belonged to Patel after his fine century as England enjoyed the better of the draw

Goal from triple dummy at corner – video

Check out the triple dummy… is this the most outrageous goal from a corner ever

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UPDATED:

11:40 GMT, 3 October 2012

It's the sort of fixture that you are
likely to find on Eurosport and will only watch if the TV remote is
more than a foot away or you just watch any football that comes on the
box.

But if you was lucky enough to catch the highlights of Moldova's Under 17 match with Serbia, you
would have witnessed one of the more amusing set-pieces seen in recent
times.

Serbia Under-17s

Serbia Under-17s

From a corner kick, Serbia played a short pass to the edge of the penalty area, which resulted in three attackers performing dummies before Andrija Zivkovic buried his first-time strike into the bottom corner.

Three players performing the distraction seems a bit excessive, and the statue-like defending as well as the Moldovan keeper being anchored to the spot only aid the eventual goal.

Watch the video

Still, it beats your over-paid Premier League right winger delivering yet another corner to be easily headed away at the near post and credit must be given to Zivkovic.

The pass to the forward took a ridiculous amount of bobbles before he found the sweet spot, making him a handy option for a number of Premier League sides facing tricky FA Cup away trips to the lower leagues in a few months' time.

Ryder Cup 2012: Ian Poulter winds up American crowd on first tee

Defiant Poulter happy to fire up partisan crowd and turn the volume up to 11

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UPDATED:

20:09 GMT, 29 September 2012

It is safe to say it would never have happened in Monty’s day. Faced with attempting to quieten the manic hordes on the first tee of an away match in the Ryder Cup, Ian Poulter turned to them with a nodding, knowing look — and told them to turn the damn volume up.

A few seconds later it was even louder as Bubba Watson, who had begun the craze by stoking up the crowds the previous afternoon, struck the first blow for America.

Say what you like about these two, but give them credit for recognising that golf is in the entertainment business. And it was not all just show, either.

Conducting: Ian Poulter stirs up the crowd on the first tee

Conducting: Ian Poulter stirs up the crowd on the first tee

There was method in the apparent madness. The previous day, Graeme McDowell had been in Poulter’s shoes. He tried to cope with the startling difference between all that noise and an eerie quiet and found it difficult to take the club back. Sometimes it is easier to block out the distraction of a few thousand people shouting than it is an unnerving silence.

Poulter’s drive did not find the narrow strip of fairway but his partner, Justin Rose, played a wondrous bunker shot to five feet. So it was that, at precisely 7.31am, Poulter drained the birdie putt and let out the first familiar cry of ‘Come On!’

If truth be told, that was as good as it got for a while for the two Brits. Poulter was being outdriven by 50 yards on occasion by Watson, and the crowd loved it.

‘Hey, Poulter, did your mother hit that one’ cried a particularly sympathetic voice. When Poulter fluffed a chip shot, the cry went up: ‘Airshot! Airshot!’

Loving it: Poulter celebrates a birdie on the 9th

Loving it: Poulter celebrates a birdie on the 9th

At this stage, assistant captain Paul McGinley, who had been detailed to watch this match, cut a gloomy figure. ‘The bottom line at the moment is we are getting flat outplayed,’ he said.

The great thing about Poulter and Rose is their shoulders do not slump. Two marvellous up and downs at the sixth and seventh kept the deficit to one, before Poulter rolled in a birdie putt at the ninth to square the match. Watson might have more talent than Poulter but it pays off only when he can bring it to bear. Suddenly a few loose shots started to appear and the Englishmen seized upon them.

The Americans bogeyed the par five 10th to fall behind and then another bogey at the 12th left Europe two up. Poulter was quite pleased, as you can imagine. ‘Yessss!’ he roared. No one in the crowd was trying to bait him now.

The Americans won the 16th but Watson’s partner, Webb Simpson, could not convert a decent birdie opportunity from 12 feet at the 18th.

Rising above the crowd: Poulter

Rising above the crowd: Poulter

Sent out specifically to halt the American momentum and get Europe back in the match, Poulter and Rose closed out proceedings with a one-hole victory to do everything asked of them. It took Poulter’s Ryder Cup record to ten wins and three defeats, a scarcely imaginable rate of success.

Once more, the self-proclaimed postman had delivered. This time, not by quietening the crowd, as so often in the past, but by embracing the noise.

Quade Cooper says Australian camp is toxic evironment

Cooper labels Australian camp 'toxic environment' but Wallabies fight back

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UPDATED:

14:31 GMT, 24 September 2012

Quade Cooper has claimed there is a 'toxic environment' in the Australian camp ahead of their Saturday Rugby Championship test against South Africa.

He is missing from the squad because of knee trouble and his team-mates fired back at him on Monday, saying there was a convivial mood in the dressing room.

Cooper had launched a Twitter outburst against Robbie Deans, venting his frustration at the tactics of the coach of the Wallabies and also at the Australian Rugby Union.

Criticism: Quade Cooper labelled the camp a 'toxic environment'

Criticism: Quade Cooper labelled the camp a 'toxic environment'

The 24-year-old flyhalf, who needs a knee operation and could miss the tour of Europe in November and December, then continued his tirade in an interview with the Australian Associated Press.

'There's a lot of people who are afraid to say what they feel so they just go along with it and nothing is going to change,' Cooper said.

'That's why I feel so strongly as a player. I don't want to be involved in the toxic environment, and that's how it is at the moment.

'It's an environment where things aren't going according to plan and everyone is looking to point the finger.'

Cooper's original Twitter comments had infuriated Jim Carmichael, chief executive at his club side the Queensland Reds.

Carmichael said he would meet the player and warn him about his outburst.

'I'm fed up,' the Reds boss told the local Courier Mail newspaper. 'Quade is making silly comments that do damage to our code.'

Rejected: Adam Ashley-Cooper dismissed the claims

Rejected: Adam Ashley-Cooper dismissed the claims

On Monday utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper disputed Cooper's comments.

'This
won't be a distraction for us,' Ashley-Cooper told a news conference in
Johannesburg. 'There's a great buzz in the squad and we're excited to
be here.

'We've had two good wins in this competition and we feel we're building as a group.'

Cooper's tirade against Deans came after the coach had criticised an error-prone display by the New Zealand-born playmaker following his return from previous knee surgery.

The flyhalf also announced that he would like to join All Black Sonny Williams in the National Rugby League.

While Australia have won their last two tests against South Africa and Argentina, Deans is still under pressure at home because of his record of two wins in 16 matches against the All Blacks.

Blamed: Cooper hit out at Robbie Deans

Blamed: Cooper hit out at Robbie Deans

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer is also feeling the heat with his team having picked up just one victory in four Rugby Championship matches.

'The Springboks are facing similar challenges to us with a lot of injuries and having to give opportunities to younger players,' Ashley-Cooper continued.

'They are coming off two disappointing losses so they'll be pretty motivated and we expect it to be really tough to win in Pretoria on Saturday.'

Ashley-Cooper, 28, a veteran of 71 tests, said Loftus Versfeld would not be a place for the faint hearted.

'Playing there is always pretty tough, you're usually up against quality opposition and a hostile crowd that they feed off,' he added.

'Plus the altitude and the pace of the game there means it's always a challenge. A win is something we've never achieved before in Pretoria… so there's a lot of motivation for us.'

Australia are to name their team on Thursday while South Africa will unveil their lineup 24 hours earlier.

Lance Armstrong says he is seven-time Tour de France champion at cancer conference

I'm a seven-time Tour de France champion! Armstrong ignores title-stripping in cancer conference speech

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UPDATED:

08:08 GMT, 30 August 2012

Lance Armstrong introduced himself as a seven-time Tour de France champion while speaking at a cancer conference on Wednesday in Montreal.

The disgraced cycling star was stripped of his seven titles earlier in August after deciding to stop battling claims he was a systematic doping cheat.

Fans: Lance Armstrong still has plenty of supporters

Fans: Lance Armstrong still has plenty of supporters

'My name is Lance Armstrong. I am a cancer survivor,' he said at the start of his speech to the World Cancer Congress. 'I’m a father of five. And yes, I won the Tour de France seven times.'

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) dismissed all of his competitive victories dating back to 1998 and banned him from cycling for life.

Speech: Armstrong called himself a seven-time Tour de France winner

Speech: Armstrong called himself a seven-time Tour de France winner

Armstrong, who maintains his innocence, spoke about how he survived cancer and what work his charity foundation undertakes.

He was diagnosed with cancer and given less than 40 percent chance of living in 1996 but three years later won his first Tour title at the age of 28.

Pen in hand: Armstrong signs an autograph for a fan

Pen in hand: Armstrong signs an autograph for a fan

'After I left the doctor’s office, I was grabbing every pamphlet and flyer I could off the wall,' he said. 'You know what we did after that We went to the bookstore – remember those things'

Armstrong said his foundation would not be affected by the doping scandal.

Not affected: Armstrong says his charitable work will not suffer as a result of the titles being taken

Not affected: Armstrong says his charitable work will not suffer as a result of the titles being taken

'I think the real issue here is one of distraction,' he said. 'I’m going to tell this to you all as if you’re friends and partners and allies. I’m not going to be distracted from this fight.'

He also announced that his foundation will be donating an extra $500,000 (316,000) to a joint initiative aimed at improving and increasing access to cancer care worldwide.

Lewis McLaren will sign new McLaren deal – Martin Whitmarsh

Hamilton will sign new McLaren deal, claims team boss Whitmarsh

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UPDATED:

12:21 GMT, 22 August 2012

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has no doubt Lewis Hamilton will sign a new contract with the team.

The 27-year-old's deal runs out at the end of the season, and he has been linked with a move to Mercedes should Michael Schumacher not be retained by the German marque.

Hamilton hauled himself back into title contention with victory in Hungary before the current summer break, and Whitmarsh insists his contract situation will not be a distraction if a deal is not agreed before next weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

In the hunt: Lewis Hamilton won in Hungary but his future remains unclear

In the hunt: Lewis Hamilton won in Hungary but his future remains unclear

Phil Duncan F1 blog

Whitmarsh, who Hamilton has assured he wants to remain with the team, told Autosport: 'You get a few questions over a weekend about it, and it is clearly fascinating to some people, but I really don't think it is an issue.

'Lewis and I have spoken two or three times at length. I think we are closer than we have ever been, and I have known him since he was 11, and our conversations have been about how we are going to beat the other teams, and how we are going to try and win races.

'We don't talk about these issues at race tracks because I don't think it is the right environment.

Moving on Hamilton has been linked with a move to Mercedes

Moving on Hamilton has been linked with a move to Mercedes

'Ultimately it [the contract situation] is relatively straightforward. If Lewis wants to stay in the team, which he has told me he does, then he should do. And if we want to keep him, then we should do.

'If the answer to both those matters is yes, then I think it is eminently doable – so not something that has to have as much focus as turning up at races, trying to bring the quickest car you can and doing the best job possible.'