Tag Archives: spurt

Volta a Catalunya: Sir Bradley Wiggins in third place

Wiggins third overall and well in contention at Volta a Catalunya after stage three

PUBLISHED:

19:38 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:38 GMT, 20 March 2013

Team Sky's Sir Bradley Wiggins climbed to third place at the Volta a Catalunya after stage three's summit finish.

The 2012 Tour de France champion put in a late spurt on the ascent to the ski resort at Vallter 2000-Setcases at the end of the 180-kilometre route from Vidreres, but finished fourth as Colombia's Nairo Quintana (Movistar) claimed the day's honours.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) moved into the race lead by finishing second, and he is six seconds ahead of nearest challenger Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who was third today, and 10 clear of Wiggins in the overall classification.

In contention: Wiggins finished fourth in stage three at Volta a Catalunya

In contention: Wiggins finished fourth in stage three at Volta a Catalunya

Sir Alex Ferguson to rotate striker for Manchester United"s festive programme

Fergie ready to rotate up front for busy festive programme

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UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 22 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to break up his dream team pairing of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney over Christmas, despite their goals firing Manchester United to top spot and heading towards a Premier League scoring record.

Ferguson, who has avoided rotating his 50million strikers so far, feels he has to change his policy to cope with a run of four games in 10 days, starting against Swansea City on Sunday afternoon.

Fringe players including Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Ryan Giggs can be expected to play a part in fixtures against Swansea, Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Wigan, with Ferguson confident that a maximum 12 points over the holiday period will lead to them reclaiming the title from Manchester City.

Quite an understanding: Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney may be split up over Christmas

Quite an understanding: Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney may be split up over Christmas

‘December has already been a hectic month and now we have this run of four games in 10 days — and then the FA Cup begins. That’s quite a programme,’ said Ferguson. ‘Using our pool of players will be important for us.

‘It will be a different team every game, absolutely no doubt about that. All the players will be involved, I will definitely be making changes.’

Any rotation would carry some risk. Van Persie and Rooney have blossomed as a partnership by playing regularly together and have netted 19 of United’s 43 league goals this season.

Van Persie has scored in each of United’s last four games — all of which have been won — and Rooney has also netted five times in the same period.

With the league campaign approaching halfway, the scoring spurt of 11 goals in four games — including a famous 3-2 derby triumph against City — has given Ferguson’s men a chance to eclipse the Premier League scoring record of 103 set by Chelsea in 1999-2000.

Ready for a game, lads Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck are likely to feature for United over the festive season

Ready for a game, lads Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck are likely to feature for United over the festive season

United’s best in the modern era is 97 goals in 1999/2000, when they had their great strike quartet of Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham.

It is unlikely Ferguson will start with his star men against Swansea and then Newcastle at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, which will give Hernandez a chance to shine after falling out of favour this season.

However, Ferguson admits United will have to be on guard at the other end, with Swansea’s 2million surprise package Michu starting the weekend as the joint-top scorer in the league alongside Van Persie.

‘It was first-class business by Swansea to cherry-pick Michu. I’d never even heard of him — I think I should have a word with my scouting department,’ joked the United boss.

‘He can play up front or drop into the middle, so it could give us a problem. We need to be aware. He’s shown he is a good finisher, his goals against Arsenal were composed even when he went through on the keeper.’

United captain Nemanja Vidic is likely to be held back following his recovery from knee surgery until Boxing Day’s game against Newcastle.

Charlie Austin: Profile of Europe"s leading goalscorer

Austin heaven! Former bricklayer leading Ronaldo, Messi and Falcao in Europe's goalscoring charts

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UPDATED:

13:35 GMT, 7 November 2012

EUROPE'S LEADING SCORERS

Charlie Austin (Burnley) 20

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 18

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 17

Tom Pope (Port Vale) 17

Picture the scene, you’re taking part at your local pub quiz and the following question gets asked: Who is the top scorer in Europe this season

Cristiano Ronaldo, right No, no, it’s Lionel Messi. Hang on, what about Radamel Falcao All wrong, it’s a Berkshire-born boy called Charlie Austin, who scored yet again for Burnley on Tuesday night to take his tally to 20 for the season.

So who is he

A strapping 6ft 2ins centre-forward, equally adept on the deck or in the air, and now looking a snip at the 1million Burnley shelled out for him in January 2011.

Austin heaven: Charlie Austin has scored a remarkable 20 goals already this season

Austin heaven: Charlie Austin has scored a remarkable 20 goals already this season

Austin heaven: Charlie Austin has scored a remarkable 20 goals already this season
Why the long road to prominence

The short answer is he was deemed too short as a boy. Like Steven Gerrard before him, he underwent a significant growth spurt in his late teens, after he was released from Reading’s academy as a 15-year-old in 2004.

What's so special about this season

Good question. His partnership with Jay Rodriguez was one of the obvious plus points of Burnley’s mid-table return last season, but he's reveled as the main man since the England Under 21 international’s 7million switch to Southampton.

Austin has shown great adaptability, looking equally at ease in a 4-4-2 formation or leading the line alone this campaign. Quite simply, he has the gift of getting into the right place at the right time.

IN HIS OWN WORDS….

'In my first season, I got 20, but only 19 were league goals, the other I scored one in the play-off semi-final against Charlton. That’s the only time I’ve done it before.

'It has been as good as it gets and hopefully it continues for me personally, and for the football club.

'It is nice to break records, and if they keep coming then great, but it is all about winning and getting the three points.'

'To score 20 goals in any season is brilliant. I am happy to have got there but I am a team player and my goals help the team. Against Leeds it did for a 1-0 win.

'I don’t have a target. I’ll just keep working hard in training and bring it out on the pitch.'

Burnley manager Sean Dyche: 'The thing that I like is his team mentality. He is staying nice and steady with himself. He keeps going in there.

'That’s what I love about real goalscorers: they don’t give it up, they always think they’re going to nick one, and in tight games they’re the sort of people that you need to win'

Who discovered him

Intriguingly, former Swindon Town chairman Andrew Fitton can take some credit for giving Austin his break in the Football League. Fitton was previously chairman of Hungerford Town, one of the 23-year-old’s former clubs, and recommended him to then Robins manager Danny Wilson in September 2009.

Had his record caused a stir amongst other clubs

Yes. In fact, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe knew he had plucked a rough diamond from the rubble of the town’s building sites in the summer of 2009.

As a semi-professional, Austin bumped up his 80 weekly pay packet by working as a bricklayer for his dad’s business, but Howe offered him the chance to go full-time only to be scuppered by a Football League-imposed transfer embargo, allowing Swindon to step in.

How many more can he score this season

Sean Dyche, the new manager at Turf Moor, refused to cap his potential following his latest strike – a powerful header – downing Leeds, and pointed to the 49 goals Clive Allen netted for Tottenham in 1986-87 as a target to aim for.

That is one more than Austin managed during 2008-09 for Poole Town in the Wessex League, seven tiers below his current level.

Can he go all the way to the top

Don’t rule it out. Austin is something of a throwback to the 1980s when Stuart Pearce, Ian Wright and Vinnie Jones – electrician, plasterer and hod-carrier respectively – emerged as part-timers and rose to the international stage.

Dyche, and Howe before him, waxed lyrical about his team ethic, suggesting he has the attitude to match his talent.

London 2012 Olympic Basketball: United States 109 Argentina 83: Dream Team make final

United States 109 Argentina 83: Dream Team have shot at gold after making final

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UPDATED:

22:32 GMT, 10 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

The United States will face Spain for gold on Sunday in a rematch of the 2008 Olympic final after ruthlessly dispatching Argentina.

In similar fashion to the group stage meeting, the United States wore down the Argentinians in the second half before pulling away for a big win.

Argentina, featuring five members of the 2004 squad who won gold in Athens, kept pace until midway through the third quarter when LeBron James and Kevin Durant powered an American spurt that effectively killed off the game, and they piled on the points down the stretch.

Dunk for glory: USA's Kevin Durant scores against Argentina

Dunk for glory: USA's Kevin Durant scores against Argentina

Kobe Bryant picked up where he had left off in his 20-point second-half explosion against Australia, scoring 11 points over four and a half first-quarter minutes to power the United States into an 18-6 lead.

Argentina replied with nine straight, bringing it back to 18-15 on a three-pointer from Andres Nocioni.

The United States led 24-19 at the end of the first quarter but Luis Scola quickly cut the gap and Carlos Delfino began raining in threes to keep it close.

That was James' cue to go off for a stunning seven points in 79 seconds to hand the Americans a double-digit lead, 37-27.

Final chance: Durant jumps for the ball during a men's semi-final

Final chance: Durant jumps for the ball during a men's semi-final

Fight for possession: Carmelo Anthony vies for the ball

Fight for possession: Carmelo Anthony vies for the ball

Another Delfino three and one from Leonardo Gutierrez made it 43-35 and when Ginobili had another shot from range on the buzzer, Argentina went in trailing 47-40.

Ginobili started it with a three-pointer to give Argentina further hope, but then Nocioni was charged with a controversial simulation call, and the Americans capitalised on the free throws and extra possession to go 51-43 clear on Tyson Chandler's tip-in.

Ginobili was still battling, and he made a tough lay-up while drawing a foul on Bryant, making it 51-46 from the line.
Argentina responded to a pair of three-pointers from Kevin Durant with a Nocioni three and a Ginobili lay-up that made it 59-51.

We've done it! The US players celebrate after winning 109-83 against Argentina

We've done it! The US players celebrate after winning 109-83 against Argentina

But then the Americans exploded with a 13-2 run that saw Durant score six and James seven, putting them 72-53 up and effectively out of sight.

The game was over, and the Americans then started making it look easy with Carmelo Anthony pouring in three quick threes to put them 93-64 up.

They broke the 100-point barrier for the fifth time in their seven Olympic contests so far when James Harden hit a three with 2:52 left in the game and there were more big shots to come from Chris Paul and Deron Williams as the United States finished 18-of-42 (43%) from three-point range in the game.

Durant led the Americans with 19 points while James and Anthony had 18 each, James also collecting seven rebounds and seven assists.

Bryant added only two to his early haul to finish with 13 points, while Paul finished with 10.

The outstanding Ginobili had 18 points for Argentina, while Scola and Delfino added 15 apiece.

Great Britain 75 Australia 106: Horror show for GB as blow lead to crash out of tournament

Great Britain 75 Australia 106: Horror show for GB as blow lead to crash out of basketball tournament

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UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 4 August 2012

Great Britain blew a 15-point lead in a horror show of a second half as their dream of reaching the Olympic quarter-finals ended in a crushing defeat to Australia.

An excellent first half left Britain in control of their destiny, needing a win here and in their final game against China to go through, but it all fell apart after the break.

Britain's discipline and composure deserted them in the face of a sustained Australian onslaught, and a 46-36 half-time lead became a 66-60 deficit by the end of the third period.

Bowing out: British forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu vies with Australian forward Brad Newley

Bowing out: British forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu vies with Australian forward Brad Newley

Things got no better in the final stanza as Australia scored the first 18 points to end the game as a contest.

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Slipping behind: Great Britain's Luol Deng argues a call during the defeat to Australia

Australia started the second quarter on a charge, and back-to-back dunks for Aron Baynes sliced Britain's lead to 27-24.

When Deng swished a three it was 31-24.

Australia took advantage of a careless pass from Pops Mensah-Bonsu to close the gap to three when Brad Newley dunked but Britain quickly pulled away again, going on an 11-0 spurt to go 42-28 up on Reinking's jump-shot with 3:29 left in the half.

Australia came back in the final minutes of the quarter but Freeland hit a pair of free throws to give Britain a double-digit lead at the break, 46-36.

The second half began with Deng saving a fast break with an interception and Freeland scoring five quick points to give Britain a 51-36 lead.

Going out: Pops Mensah-Bonsu fights for the ball as Great Britain crashed

Going out: Pops Mensah-Bonsu fights for the ball as Great Britain crashed

But just as quickly, Matt Dellavedova hit a three and Mills completed a three-point play from the line to close the gap to nine.

Dellavedova hit another long three and after Mensah-Bonsu's lay-up for Britain, a messy turnover gave Mills the chance to cut it to three, 53-50.

More sloppy play then saw Mills tie with another three-point play, and another three from Dellavedova had the Boomers on top 56-55.

The Australian onslaught just kept coming as Mills and Maric both sank free throws.
A Clark dunk briefly lifted British hearts, but Australia were drawing foul after foul as frustration grew, and Newley made it 66-57 from the line.

Clark hit another three to slice the gap to three at the the end of the third, but the period concluded with Australia having outscored the hosts 30-14.

Australia scented blood and were relentless in the fourth quarter, with Sean Ingles' shot giving them an 84-60 lead midway through the quarter as Britain looked powerless to stop them.

Australia will now go on to the quarter-finals, while Britain must somehow pick themselves up for Monday's group finale against China – their last chance for a win in London.

Mills torched Britain for 39 points while David Anderson had 13 and Ingles 11.
Freeland led Britain with 16 and Clark had 14.

London 2012 Olympics: Great Britain 62 Brazil 67 in basketball

Great Britain 62 Brazil 67: Deng's magic fails to inspire hosts to basketball victory

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UPDATED:

18:08 GMT, 31 July 2012

Olympics 2012

Great Britain's men came within touching distance of an Olympic victory over Brazil but fell away at the end against the South Americans.

Like the women on Monday, Britain held a late lead – albeit narrow – but could not hold on down the stretch. The game had remained close throughout with the teams trading baskets and the lead all the way.

But after Luol Deng had given Britain a one-point lead with back-to-back three-pointers four minutes from the end, Brazil went on a 7-0 spurt to make it 63-57.

Leap of faith: Luol Deng jumps to score against Brazil in the Basketball Arena

Leap of faith: Luol Deng jumps to score against Brazil in the Basketball Arena

Nene was called for illegal goaltending against Joel Freeland to make it 63-59 with 64 seconds to go, but Tiago Splitter's lay-up extended Brazil's advantage.

Deng could only make one of three free throws to leave Britain five adrift with 30 seconds left and Marcelinho Huertas killed Britain off from the line.

The ugly opening few minutes will not want to be remembered by either team. Freeland had to leave the court almost immediately after taking a blow from Anderson Varejao and Brazil built a quick 4-0 lead.

Dan Clark, who has been battling ankle problems since before the Games began, entered and gave Britain a spark with six quick points and Pops Mensah-Bonsu made it 8-4.

Cut above: Without Deng, Great Britain would have been brushed aside

Cut above: Without Deng, Great Britain would have been brushed aside

Mike Lenzly then entered the game for his Olympic debut following a calf injury and made his mark with a three-pointer that increased the gap to 11-4. But the good news soon turned bad as he went down off the ball and had to be helped off the court and likely out of the Olympics.

There was more bad news for Britain when Brazil were guilty of blatant goaltending with the score 13-9, but the basket was not given. They kept fighting and Deng turned a steal into two easy points, only to then turn the ball over himself seconds later and give Varejao free passage to the basket.

Deng made it 24-19 from another steal but Brazil came back again and a careless pass from Mensah-Bonsu let Larry Taylor tie it 27-27 before the break.

The third quarter was a tight affair with neither team able to get much separation as they traded baskets and the lead.

Freeland made a pair of nice reverse jump-shots and Britain could be grateful for Splitter's poor free throw shooting as the two teams remained locked together.

Delight: Brazil's team celebrate at the end of their victory over the hosts Great Britain

Delight: Brazil's team celebrate at the end of their victory over the hosts Great Britain

Brazil began to edge clear towards the end of the quarter, though, with Varejao making it 48-43 with a lay-up after Robert Archibald could only split his free throws. Varejao then made it 50-43 to start the final stanza, but Clark countered with a three-pointer and Nate Reinking made it 50-48 to lift the crowd.

Moments later Reinking swished a three to put Britain back in front but Splitter and Huertas snatched the lead right back. Splitter's free throws made it 56-51 but Deng found his shooting range with back-to-back three-pointers to put Britain on top.

But just as quickly, Splitter regained the lead and Marquinhos Sousa's three had Brazil 61-57 up. A quick Brazil break then ended with Nene dunking the ball in and drawing the foul, with the game starting to get out of Britain's reach. Reinking and Mensah-Bonsu led Britain with 13 points each while Deng had 12. Splitter poured in 21 points for Brazil.