Tag Archives: rogers

Australia announce Ashes squad: Brad Haddin recalled as Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus miss out

Veteran Haddin recalled as Australia announce 16-man squad heading to England in bid to win back the Ashes

PUBLISHED:

02:22 GMT, 24 April 2013

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UPDATED:

02:30 GMT, 24 April 2013

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has been named as Australia vice-captain for the upcoming Ashes series in England.

The 35-year-old replaces Shane Watson, who stepped down as Michael Clarke's deputy after the troubled tour on India but remains part of the 16-man squad.

National selector John Inverarity said: 'We feel it's important to have a senior, seasoned player support Michael at this time.

Return the Urn: Michael Clarke (centre), Steve Waugh (left) and Mark Taylor before today's squad unveiling

Return the Urn: Michael Clarke (centre), Steve Waugh (left) and Mark Taylor before today's squad unveiling

Key dates

June 26-29: v Somerset

July 2-5: v Worcs

July 10-14: 1st Test, Trent Bridge

July 18-22: 2nd Test, Lord's

July 26-28: v Sussex

August 1-5: 3rd Test, Old Trafford

August 9-13: 4th Test, Durham

August 16-17: v Northants

August 21-25: 5th Test, The Oval

'When Shane Watson advised of his
decision to stand down, the NSP (national selection panel) viewed Brad
as the exceptional candidate to step into this leadership void.'

Matthew Wade, who has been Australia's first-choice wicketkeeper of late, will also travel to England.

'Matthew Wade is a very good cricketer and remains central to our plans for the future,' Inverarity added.

Left-arm seamer James Faulkner is the only uncapped player to be named, with Mitchell Johnson missing out.

Chris Rogers, the 35-year-old batsman
who has just one Test cap to his name, also makes the squad and seamer
Ryan Harris returns.

'Chris Rogers is a hardened
first-class cricketer and has been given a deserved opportunity on the
back of sustained run-scoring in both Australia and England over many
seasons,' said Inverarity.

Eyes on the prize: Brad Haddin has been recalled to the Australia squad to tour England this summer

Eyes on the prize: Brad Haddin has been recalled to the Australia squad to tour England this summer

'James Faulkner has also been given
an opportunity after impressing in recent months as an all-rounder. His
performance in last month's Bupa Sheffield Shield final was compelling
and he has now produced three consistently good seasons with the ball at
Shield level for Tasmania.

'He is a player who is seldom out of the game for long. He takes wickets, forms partnerships and makes valuable runs.

'Ryan Harris has regained fitness and
it is great to have such a very highly regarded and well-performed pace
bowler back in the mix.'

Fawad Ahmed, the Pakistan-born
leg-spinner who has not yet received his Australian passport, has not
been included, leaving Nathan Lyon as the only spinner in the 16.

Ahmed also misses out on the 14-man
Australia A squad to tour the British Isles ahead of the Ashes, which
contains a number of players from the senior squad including Haddin, who
will captain the side, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Harris, Jackson
Bird and Nathan Lyon.

Steven Smith, who misses out on a
place in the Ashes squad despite some creditable performances in India,
is vice-captain of the A side.

Smith is one of five men to drop out
from the India squad – along with Johnson, Moises Henriques, Xavier
Doherty and Glenn Maxwell – which slipped to a 4-0 series defeat amid
high-profile problems with discipline.

Revenge: England were convincing 3-1 series winners in the 2010-11 series

Revenge: England were convincing 3-1 series winners in the 2010-11 series

Inverarity added: 'The tour to India was very demanding and a learning experience for all.

'The result was unacceptable and the
players, coaches, support staff and NSP are smarting from those
performances and are galvanised to ensure that we play tough,
competitive cricket throughout the Ashes.'

The first Ashes Test begins at Trent
Bridge on July 10, with two tour matches before that, while Australia A
will take on Scotland, Ireland and Gloucestershire, with the first match
getting under way in Edinburgh on June 7.

Lawrence Booth, Sportsmail cricket writer and editor of Wisden, gives a run down on the Australian squad heading to England for the Ashes series this summer

Michael Clarke

MICHAEL CLARKE (c)
AGE: 32
CAPS: 92
VERDICT: World cricket's in-form batsman in 2012, the captain will need to score three hundreds to give Australia a chance.

Brad Haddin

BRAD HADDIN (vc)
AGE: 35
CAPS: 44
VERDICT: Ousted by Wade behind the stumps, he's a spiky character who England would rather not have to deal with.

JACKSON BIRD

JACKSON BIRD
AGE: 26
CAPS: 2
VERDICT: Seam bowler who is not particularly fast but his ability to swing the ball both ways has proven very successful in domestic cricket.

Ed Cowan

ED COWAN
AGE: 30
CAPS: 17
VERDICT: Steady, cerebral left-handed opener, but unlikely to frighten the England attack.

Phillip Hughes

PHILLIP HUGHES
AGE: 24
CAPS: 24
VERDICT: England have exploited his vulnerability outside off stump in the past – expect more of the same, plus a peppering of short stuff.

David Warner

DAVID WARNER
AGE: 26
CAPS: 19
VERDICT: Another left-handed opener, he has the potential to destroy the opposition, but inconsistent at Test level. Jimmy Anderson will fancy swinging the ball into him.

Urn the victory: Former England captain Andrew Strauss led Eng;and to victory in the last series

Urn the victory: Former England captain Andrew Strauss led Eng;and to victory in the last series

James Faulkner

JAMES FAULKNER
AGE: 22
CAPS: 0
VERDICT: A left-arm seamer and hard-hitting batsman, the 22-year-old Faulkner is an outsider for a Test spot – but look out for him in the shorter stuff.

USMAN

USMAN KHAWAJA
AGE: 26
CAPS: 6
VERDICT: Left-handed top order batsman who was one of the four players dropped ahead of the third Test in India following a breach of discipline.

Shane Watson

SHANE WATSON
AGE: 31
CAPS: 41
VERDICT: Averaging only 25 since the start of 2011, he needs a big series to prove he was right to quit the vice-captaincy. Could do with bowling too.

Matthew Wade

MATTHEW WADE
AGE: 25
CAPS: 12
VERDICT: His batting can be punchy, but his glovework is shaky. And he's a place too high at No 6.

Nathan Lyon

NATHAN LYON
AGE: 25
CAPS: 22
VERDICT: Australia's first-choice spinner is tidy but unthreatening, and his confidence was knocked recently when he was dropped in India.

Ryan Harris

RYAN HARRIS
AGE: 33
CAPS: 12
VERDICT: Fast and hostile, as he showed when England lost at Perth in 2010-11. Only trouble is, he's rarely fit.

Home of cricket: The first Test in the five match series will take place at Lord's in north London

Home of cricket: The first Test in the five match series will take place at Lord's in north London

cHRIS rOGERS

CHRIS ROGERS
AGE: 35
CAPS: 1
VERDICT: Another left handed top order batsman whose one and only cap came against India in 2008. Played country cricket so is used to English conditions.

James Pattinson

JAMES PATTINSON
AGE: 22
CAPS: 10
VERDICT: Young, hungry, angry and highly talented. He will be the bowler England's batsmen fear most.

Rain on their parade: The Aussies will be hoping they have their own reasons to celebrate on English soil

Rain on their parade: The Aussies will be hoping they have their own Sprinkler Dance on English soil

Peter Siddle

PETER SIDDLE
AGE: 28
CAPS: 41
VERDICT: The workhorse of Australia's seam attack, he has improved hugely over the last year. But will he be bowled into the ground

Mitchell Starc

MITCHELL STARC
AGE: 23
CAPS: 9
VERDICT: Tall left-arm seamer who could be Australia's best chance of keeping Alastair Cook quiet. Can bat a bit too.

Liverpool have not made new bid for Tom Ince – Michael Appleton

No new Liverpool offer for 7m-rated Ince, claims Blackpool boss Appleton

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:10 GMT, 2 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:11 GMT, 2 January 2013

Blackpool manager Michael Appleton insists Liverpool have yet to return with an improved offer for winger Thomas Ince.

The 20-year-old initially left Anfield 18 months ago and has blossomed at Bloomfield Road, scoring 13 goals in the Championship this season.

Wanted: Thomas Ince is expected to complete his return to Liverpool

Wanted: Thomas Ince is expected to complete his return to Liverpool

Liverpool had an offer rejected for Ince last month and Appleton is confident the youngster will be in the side to face Fulham in the FA Cup on Saturday.

'We have not heard anything since an initial Liverpool approach a couple of weeks ago,' he said.

'As far as I am aware Thomas will have a day off tomorrow like everyone else and come back to prepare for the next game with us.'

Back in the day: Ince (right) played for Liverpool before leaving for Blackpool

Back in the day: Ince (right) played for Liverpool before leaving for Blackpool

Blackpool are believed to be holding out for 7million a player who left Liverpool for just 250,000 in compensation.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers is
planning to unveil a new attack in January with Chelsea's Daniel
Sturridge set to join in the coming days.

Steven Gerrard can win title at Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers hits back at Sven Goran Eriksson

Rodgers hits back at Eriksson barb, saying Gerrard can win title at Liverpool

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UPDATED:

18:27 GMT, 29 August 2012

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has scoffed at suggestions by former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson that Steven Gerrard should leave Anfield to win a league title.

Gerrard, the influential Reds and England skipper, has claimed winners' medals in most of the major competitions open to Liverpool but the Barclays Premier League is a glaring exception.

With the Merseysiders finishing eighth last term and the team being rebuilt by Rodgers, Eriksson has suggested that, at 32, Gerrard is running out of time to fulfil his league dream.

But Rodgers said: 'I think Steven, over the years, has had a number of chances to leave here. He has always felt this is the club where he could still win it and he has still got a number of years left in his career.

Challenge: Steven Gerrard (right) will not have to leave Liverpool to win the title, says Brendan Rogers

Challenge: Steven Gerrard (right) will not have to leave Liverpool to win the title, says Brendan Rogers

'We understand how difficult it is going to be but I think he will still feel the dream is here. I don't think he needs to move anywhere. Of course we will go through difficult moments – but his dream is to win the Barclays Premier League with Liverpool.

'I, along with everyone else and the supporters, will fight for our lives to try to make that possible.

'He is an iconic figure for this football club. His status and everything he has gained in the game has been through Liverpool Football Club.

'He has won every major honour you could possibly win at this club, but obviously there is one missing and he will want to fight for the rest of his career to win it here.

'Thankfully with Steven, he is realistic as well. He knows the reality. He is not misguided with anything.

'Sven obviously has his reasons for saying that but I have been delighted with Steven's contributions since I have been here.

Happy: Rodgers is over the moon with Gerrard's contribution

Happy: Rodgers is over the moon with Gerrard's contribution

'I have seen him from the outside but from the inside working with him as a man, as a player, he is a wonderful role model for everyone here.

'Let us see if we can fight to win it ourselves and hopefully he can stay here and be a real ambassador for the club.'

Rodgers is considering making changes to his squad in the final two days before Friday's transfer deadline.

The club have been linked with a number of players in recent days, with Arsenal and England winger Theo Walcott the latest high-profile example.

Rodgers, speaking at a press conference to preview his side's Europa League qualifying round play-off second leg against Hearts, was unwilling to comment on speculation.

He said: 'There is nothing on any player. I will speak about a player after Friday if he is in the door.

'In these next 48 hours speculation and gossip will be rife, I could be here all day answering speculation. I have no need.

'We have got the end of the window coming up. I want to work with a tight-knit group between now and the end of January and then we can assess it from there.'

There is also uncertainty over the futures of a number of the current Liverpool squad, including Andy Carroll, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Joe Cole and Jay Spearing.

Uncertain future: Charlie Adam is one of several players whose destiny is not known

Uncertain future: Charlie Adam is one of several players whose destiny is not known

Rodgers said: 'We have had a number of
enquiries about some of our players. I have been open and up front with
all the players. You can see from Sunday's game our spirit is very
strong in the group, but the reality is players want to play.

'Everyone knows where they stand at this moment. One or two of them may have decisions to make as to whether they want to be a squad player or play regularly somewhere else.'

After crashing 3-0 at West Brom in their Premier League opener, Rodgers hopes his side's pulsating 2-2 draw with champions Manchester City on Sunday will kickstart their season.

Their most immediate task is to claim a place in the Europa League group stages by completing the job against Hearts after claiming a 1-0 aggregate lead from the first leg at Tynecastle last week.

The likes of Gerrard and Luis Suarez were rested for the trip to Edinburgh but could feature despite the proximity of Sunday's home clash with Arsenal.

Rodgers said: 'It is easier when you have two home games. With the travel in that last week and the recovery process, it is easier to go Thursday-Sunday with a reasonably strong side.

'Tomorrow we'll be strong. We're looking to win the game and keep the momentum going.

'Our performance levels at the weekend were excellent and we want to just keep that going forward'

West Brom 3 Liverpool 0: Rodgers suffers baptism of fire as Gera fires Baggies

West Brom 3 Liverpool 0: Rodgers suffers baptism of fire as Gera fires Baggies

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UPDATED:

15:56 GMT, 18 August 2012

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers endured a nightmare start to the Premier League season as West Brom made a flying start under former Reds No 2 Steve Clarke.

Liverpool made a promising start and dominated possession but fell behind to Zoltan Gera's thunderbolt just two minutes before half-time.

Daniel Agger was shown a red card for bringing down Shane Long in the box but Jose Reina saved Long's weak penalty in the 58th minute.

But West Brom were awarded a second penalty six minutes later and Peter Odemwingie made no mistake from the spot before on-loan Romelu Lukaku sealed victory in the 77th minute.

More to follow

Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers

Nightmare: Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers

MATCH FACTS

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Rafael Nadal doubt for US Open after withdrawal from Western & Southern Open

Nadal's US Open hopes under threat after injury withdrawal from Cincinnati Masters

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UPDATED:

19:24 GMT, 9 August 2012

Rafael Nadal's US Open hopes remain in doubt after he confirmed he will not be ready to return to action at the Western & Southern Open, which starts on Saturday.

The world No 3 has been sidelined since his shock second-round defeat to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon after his long-standing knee problem resurfaced during his successful run at the French Open.

The injury meant Nadal, who reached the quarter-finals of the event last year, was unable to defend his Olympic title last week and he was also forced to miss the Rogers Cup in Canada. He remains a doubt for the US Open, which starts on August 27.

Shock: Rafael Nadal was beaten by Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon

Shock: Rafael Nadal was beaten by Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon

Shock: Rafael Nadal was beaten by Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon

Nadal reached the semi-finals in Cincinnati in 2008, taking over the world No 1 ranking soon after and officially ending Roger Federer's record four-and-a-half year reign at the top.

The Spaniard tweeted: 'I won't be playing at Cincinnati Open. I am still not ready to play. I have unforgettable moments in 2008. I am continuing with my recup.'

Andy Murray wins in Toronto just days after Olympic heroics

Murray already back in business after Olympic heroics as Scot easily beats Cipolla

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UPDATED:

07:25 GMT, 9 August 2012

Andy Murray expects a tough test against home favourite Milos Raonic after cruising into the last 16 of the ATP Rogers Cup in Toronto on Wednesday night.

Buoyed by his gold medal triumph at the Olympics, the world No 4 dominated from start to finish against Italy's Flavio Cipolla – ranked 93 places lower in the world rankings – and swiftly wrapped up a 6-1 6-3 win.

The 25-year-old will meet Canadia's Milos Raonic tonight for a place in the quarter-finals, and acknowledges the 16th seed will provide tricky opposition.

Brit of all right: Andy Murray in action against Flavio Cipolla

Brit of all right: Andy Murray in action against Flavio Cipolla

'It will be tough. He'll obviously be very motivated playing in his own country,' Murray said.

'He's improved a lot over the last year, year and a half. He's playing really, really good tennis. Very big guy with a big game. Serves well and hits the ball very hard.'

Murray, bidding to win his third Masters 1000 title in Toronto and his ninth overall, needed just one hour and 21 minutes to beat Cipolla with the first set lasting half an hour thanks to two breaks of serve.

The Roman beat Estonian Jurgen Zopp in the first round, but looked second best throughout against Murray, who was given a first-round bye.

Great Scot: Murray signs autographs after his win

Great Scot: Murray signs autographs after his win

Murray fired three aces and seven winners as Cipolla struggled to keep pace with the Scot, who found great success coming forward as well as from the back of the court.

The trainer was required with Murray having knee trouble and Cipolla briefly took advantage by forcing the British number one to charge around the court.

Murray was unable to maintain his first-set intensity and Cipolla fared better in the second before the Scot's break in the fifth game proved decisive.

'After playing for eight weeks on grass pretty much, it's very different here,” the second seed said. “The ball is very quick compared with Wimbledon. It also bounces much higher.

'The court is much slower as well, so there are a lot of things to change. I only got a couple of hits on the court, so it was good to play a match and get a win fairly comfortably.'

Kevin Nolan wants Andy Carroll to come to West Ham

Join me! Nolan begs old pal Carroll to link up with him at West Ham

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UPDATED:

08:38 GMT, 6 August 2012

Kevin Nolan has admitted he would love to link up again with his former Newcastle team-mate Andy Carroll at West Ham.

The Hammers captain believes Liverpool's target man is the ideal player to bring to Upton Park as his team prepare for their return to the Barclays Premier League.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce hopes Nolan can use his friendship with Carroll to persuade him to move down south, although he has admitted signing the striker is becoming unlikely.

Big fan: Kevin Nolan said Andy Carroll was a quality player

Big fan: Kevin Nolan said Andy Carroll was a quality player

Carroll went to live with Nolan at Newcastle as it was a condition of his bail for an assault charge which was later dropped.

'I would be delighted if Andy Carroll would come and join us here,' Nolan told the Mirror.

'I am not too sure whether Brendan (Rogers) will let him out but there is lots of speculation but there always is surrounding Andy.

'If there is a chance we would be in the reckoning with him because he is such a quality player.'

It'll be fun: Nolan (right) wants a re-union

It'll be fun: Nolan (right) wants a re-union

West Ham's offer includes a 2million loan deal with a fixed arrangement to buy him for a total of 17m should they stay up. Carroll will earn 100,000-a-week.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is prepared to let Carroll go because he is not sure the striker fits into his preferred system.

Allardyce recently admitted the club's chances of picking up the striker were slimming.

'I would probably have stuck my neck out and said we would almost certainly stay up with him on board,' he said.

'We wouldn't have thought we would have had any chance of signing a player of Andy Carroll's capabilities but it became clear a couple of weeks ago there was a possibility of a loan. Unfortunately at this moment, it's not the case.'

London 2012 Olympics: Cadel Evans pulls out of time trial

Wiggins' medal chances boosted as Evans pulls out of time trial with fatigue

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UPDATED:

20:01 GMT, 29 July 2012

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Bradley Wiggins' chances of winning a fourth Olympic gold medal were handed a boost on Sunday, when former Tour de France champion Cadel Evans pulled out of Wednesday's time trial.

Evans has been withdrawn from the Games time trial due to fatigue, the Australian Olympic Committee announced.

The 2011 Tour de France champion finished 80th in the 250-kilometre Olympic road race on day one, but after a gruelling season will now not take to the start line for the 44km race against the clock.

Out: Cadel Evans (centre) will not be competing in Wednesday's time trial

Out: Cadel Evans (centre) will not be competing in Wednesday's time trial

A statement read: 'Cadel Evans will not compete in the men's individual time-trial event.

'He has been seen by the cycling doctor Dr Mark Fisher and Olympic team medical director, Dr Peter Baquie, and they have confirmed he is fatigued and will not recover in time for Wednesday.

'Cycling has advised he will not be replaced with another athlete in that event.

'Michael Rogers will be the only Australian athlete to compete in the men's individual time-trial.'

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara, the defending champion, crashed during the road race and rated his chances at 50-50 for the event, which Tour winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain will begin as favourite.

Boost: Bradley Wiggins (left) is hoping to win the time trial

Boost: Bradley Wiggins (left) is hoping to win the time trial

Bradley Wiggins wins Tour de France

Bradley the history man: Wiggins seals Tour de France win as Brits take over Paris

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UPDATED:

23:16 GMT, 22 July 2012

Just when you thought the British makeover of the Champs-Elysees was complete, Bradley Wiggins stepped up on to the podium to add a finishing touch that was all his own.

Grasping a microphone that had been thrust in his hand to replace the trophies which will for ever proclaim him as winner of the Tour de France, the 32-year-old Londoner surveyed the faces — half a million of them — pressed towards him from every angle.

It seemed a daunting task to set a bike rider and Wiggins looked to be struggling for the words to express his joy and gratitude. He wasn’t.

Triumphant: Bradley Wiggins celebrates as he crosses the line in Paris

Triumphant: Bradley Wiggins celebrates as he crosses the line in Paris

Top of the tree: Wiggins (centre) is crowned Tour de France champion after three weeks on the road

Top of the tree: Wiggins (centre) is crowned Tour de France champion after three weeks on the road

Cheers: Bradley Wiggins is congratulated by team-mate Michael Rogers after winning the Tour de France

Cheers: Bradley Wiggins is congratulated by team-mate Michael Rogers after winning the Tour de France

‘We’re just going to draw the raffle numbers,’ he said with a face as straight as that which had betrayed no emotion to his rivals across the mountains and valleys of France over the past three weeks.

We could have been in a bingo hall in Wigan, near where Wiggins lives. Instead we were on the most exclusive avenue in the world witnessing history as Britain acclaimed its first winner of Le Tour in its 99-year history.

Roars of laughter broke out in pockets of the grandstands lining the cobbled avenue.

In other sections there was silence. Language was one barrier, humour a greater one.

Magnifique: Mark Cavendish celebrates his fourth successive win on the Champs-Elysees

Magnifique: Mark Cavendish celebrates his fourth successive win on the Champs-Elysees

Out in front: Cavendish sprints for the finish line to win his 23rd stage of the Tour de France

Out in front: Cavendish sprints for the finish line to win his 23rd stage of the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish celebrates

Bradley Wiggins of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey is followed by teammate Mark Cavendish

Perfect ending: Cavendish celebrates his fourth successive win in Paris as Wiggins leads him out (right)

Wiggins continued, warming to his audience.

‘Some dreams do come true. My old mother over there, her son’s just won the Tour de France.

‘Thank you, everyone. Cheers. Have a safe journey home and don’t get too drunk.’

And they say English comics don’t travel well.

It was an offbeat end to an afternoon without precedent.

Tour de France 2012 winner, Yellow jersey British Bradley Wiggins, (C) kisses his wife Catherine

Fans dressed as Bradley Wiggins celebrate as the cyclist became the first British rider to win the Tour de France during the Investec first test match at the Kia Oval

Party time: Wiggins with his wife Cath (left) while fans at the England vSouth Africa cricket match celebrate

Teamwork: Bradley Wiggins in his yellow jersey with his Sky team-mates during the final stage

Teamwork: Bradley Wiggins in his yellow jersey with his Sky team-mates during the final stage

Unrivalled: Cavendish is honoured after winning his third stage of this year's Tour de France

Unrivalled: Cavendish is honoured after winning his third stage of this year's Tour de France

Wiggins won the yellow jersey, Mark Cavendish crossed the line first, just as he had for the previous three years in Paris.

The Brits had conquered cycling and they had snaffled France’s jewel of a race.

The French Tricolore hung from the arms of every lamppost along the Champs-Elysees, but at ground level it was the Union Flag that was omnipresent.

That and the colour yellow.

Family affair: Cavendish celebrates with his daughter Delilah Grace after winning the final stage

Family affair: Cavendish celebrates with his daughter Delilah Grace after winning the final stage

Funny farm: Wiggins is joined by several sheep as the Tour de France comes to an end

Funny farm: Wiggins is joined by several sheep as the Tour de France comes to an end

Team Sky had replaced the blue stripe on every one of their vehicles for the day, as well as the staff T-shirts, to match the colour of the outfit Wiggins wore as the peloton swept along the avenue time and again.

Eight circuits they made. And with each passing lap a British enclave near the Arc de Triomphe bellowed its partisan approval.

Wiggins added: ‘That turn was just a sea of Brits and the noise was incredible.

British one-two: Wiggins celebrates with team-mate Chris Froome who finished second in the Tour

British one-two: Wiggins celebrates with team-mate Chris Froome who finished second in the Tour

The end is in sight: The pelaton races towards the Eiffel Tower as the Tour de France comes to its conclusion

The end is in sight: The pelaton races towards the Eiffel Tower as the Tour de France comes to its conclusion

‘It was close to what it was like at the Olympics in Athens when I was coming into the home straight. It’s that kind of feeling. It’s phenom-enal. You couldn’t fail to hear it.’

There is only one battle on the final Sunday of the Tour — the final dash to the line.

Etiquette dictates that the man leading the race when the final stage begins will be crowned the victor later in the afternoon.

Brit pack: British fans await the finish of the final stage of this year's Tour de France

Brit pack: British fans await the finish of the final stage of this year's Tour de France

Jerseys: Tejay van Garderen (young) Wiggins, Peter Sagan, (sprinter) and Thomas Voeckler (climber)

Jerseys: Tejay van Garderen (young) Wiggins, Peter Sagan, (sprinter) and Thomas Voeckler (climber)

Even if etiquette had been forgotten, Wiggins’s nearest rival was his own Sky team-mate Chris Froome three minutes back. Third-placed Vincenzo Nibali of Italy was more than six minutes down.

It would have been impossible for Nibali to have overhauled the two Britons, but how much more civilised it is to enjoy a ceremonial roll into Paris from its suburbs, to congratulate the winners of the various coloured jerseys and each one of the 153 (out of an original 198) riders who survived a 2,200-mile slog along coastal roads, through farmlands and over the fearsome peaks of the Alps and the Pyrenees.

Of the 21 stages, including the opening prologue in the Belgian city of Liege, British riders won seven — Wiggins the two time trials, Cavendish three sprints, Froome the final climb to the Planche des Belles Filles and David Millar a defiant breakaway victory.

For the thousands of Brits who had
travelled across the Channel to witness history, there was a joyous
inevitability about Cavendish’s victory, imperious as ever. But there
was even greater delight in watching Wiggins, in sun-kissed yellow, lead
him into the final turn as the peloton exited the Place de la Concorde
for the final time.

Champagne moment: Wiggins takes a drink of bubbly from his team car during the final stage

Champagne moment: Wiggins takes a drink of bubbly from his team car during the final stage

As he crossed the line, Wiggins stretched out his arms in elation. Messages of congratulations had besieged him since he confirmed victory in Saturday’s time trial in Chartres, including one from his style guru Paul Weller, lead singer of The Jam and a musical hero for the ‘Mod’ Wiggins.

‘It’s a strange sensation. Very surreal,’ Wiggins concluded.

It will continue to be so as it unfurls within him as the weeks progress.

Another
tilt at Olympic glory awaits. So, too, for Cavendish although he may
not be a Sky rider next year, with team general manager Dave Brailsford
hinting that they will allow the Manx Missile to leave if it is in his
best interests.

Brailsford
said: ‘We want to become the best cycling team the world’s ever seen.
It’s quite clear we will be coming back next year to try to win the race
again, hopefully to defend it with Bradley.’

An encore on the Champs-Elysees Wiggins will be writing his one-liners already.

Champion: Wiggins leads out Cavendish to win the final stage of the Tour de France

Champion: Wiggins leads out Cavendish to win the final stage of the Tour de France

What they said about King Brad

To see a British rider and a fellow member of British Cycling win is a dream come true for me and all at British Cycling. This is a monumental day for sport in the UK. British Cycling president Brian Cookson

How amazing will it be to welcome back @bradwiggins and @MarkCavendish for #london2012 road race — perfect sporting start to the Olympics. Former Olympic triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards (@JDE66) on Twitter

@bradwiggins a real life legend, congratulations to all involved, amazing moment in British sporting history #allezwiggo Olympic sprint cycling champion Victoria Pendleton (@v_pendleton) on Twitter

This is a great British story and less than a week away from the Olympics this will inevitably give the Team GB cycling squad 6a lift. Team Sky chairman Robert Tansey

The perfect finish! Delighted for @MarkCavendish great win. What a team Sky are. And we all bow down before @bradwiggins on such a win! Former England rugby player Will Carling
(@will_carling) on Twitter

As a nod to the champagne ritual of the last day in Paris Wiggo should toast team and fellow riders with a pint of best. #TdF #SirBrad Former Olympic rowing champion Matthew Pinsent (@matthewcpinsent) on Twitter

Congrats to @bradwiggins on his historic Tour de France victory. Very impressive. Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) on Twitter

Tour de France results

Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain and SKY Procycling in action during the twentieth and final stage of the 2012 Tour de France

Brendan Rodgers to build Liverpool around Lucas

Rodgers ready to build new-look Liverpool around returning Brazilian midfielder Lucas

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UPDATED:

12:08 GMT, 21 July 2012

Brendan Rodgers has given Lucas Leiva the ultimate endorsement as he explained why he is ready to build a team around the Brazilian midfielder.

Liverpool play their first match of pre-season on Saturday evening against FC Toronto here in Canada and, while the game will be special for Rodgers, it will be equally poignant for Lucas, who will be making his first appearance since rupturing his cruciate ligament last November.

Such injuries often mean nine months on the sidelines but Lucas has shown consummate professionalism and a relentless determination to shave eight weeks off his rehabilitation; he will figure at some point at the Rogers Centre, an iconic stadium in North American sport.

Welcome back: Lucas hasn't featured since rupturing his cruciate ligament in November

Welcome back: Lucas hasn't featured since rupturing his cruciate ligament in November

If impressing a new manager is one of a footballer's main task when there is a change of staff, Lucas has certainly delivered as Rodgers felt compelled to describe him as 'the ultimate professional' as he sat next to the 23-year-old in a press conference last night.

Some words are delivered for effect but Rodgers was not offering hollow platitudes when he was asked for his views on Lucas.

It was no surprise Liverpool's results dipped when he was out of the team last season and Rodgers is in no doubt how much the young man from Porto Alegre will offer.

'I have only been at the club a short period of time and when I arrived, people told me how special he was as a player and how special a character he is,' said Rodgers.

In the spotlight: The Brazilian midfielder will feature against FC Toronto on Saturday night

In the spotlight: The Brazilian midfielder will feature against FC Toronto on Saturday night

'But he is even better than that. When you meet him in real life, you see how hard he works.

'The injury he had should have kept him out for nine months but he is back two months early. You can only do that through two things – determination and hard work. He is the ultimate professional and he is going to be a brilliant player in my career here.

'I am just looking forward to seeing him back fully fit. But I know that every day he is fighting hard to get there. Not only is he a top footballer but he is a top guy as well. He is doing fantastic at this stage of his recuperation.'

Fan: Rodgers was quick to laud Lucas

Fan: Rodgers was quick to laud Lucas

To hear Rodgers speak so endearingly made it impossible not to think about the journey Lucas has been on. Not so long ago, he was a figure derided by the Kop, one who was booed during a game against Fulham.

It would have been easy to give in but, instead, he kept fighting. After winning the club's Young Player of the Year award in 2010, he was almost sold after Rafa Benitez was sacked but, again, he knuckled down to be name the club's Player of the Year in 2011 and last season he was playing the best football of his career before injury struck.

'It's been a long seven months for me in recovery, but I'm feeling well, better and recharged,' said Lucas, who could have expected to be part of Brazil's Olympic squad had he been fit.

'I'm getting my confidence back and pre-season will be an important step. I've missed wearing the Liverpool shirt.

'At the beginning, the time of the recovery was nine months but luckily I could come back a bit earlier by working with the physio and doctors, who helped me. I had a target in my head to be available for pre-season, and thankfully I'm available now. But it is still a new step every day.

'It's always difficult to compare managers because each one has their own principles – (Rodgers is the fourth manager Lucas has worked with at Anfield since May 2010) – and how they want to play. I enjoyed it under the previous managers and it will be same under Brendan.

'It is a different style and different principles, but it is the same target, to have a successful season and to enjoy how he wants to play. I'm not worried because I think I will get to the level I was before and I can't rush myself. I just want to improve every day.'