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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Swift wins delayed start to Tour of California

Posted: 16 May 2011 06:32 PM PDT


Ben Swift (centre) takes the cheers, flanked by Peter Sagan (left) and Matthew Goss.— Reuters pic

LOS ANGELES, May 17 — British cyclist Ben Swift broke free from the pack to win the belated opening to the weather-hit Tour of California yesterday.

The 23-year-old Swift, a former track specialist, surged clear in the sprint finish to win the 123-km stage by a single bike's length in two hours 47 minutes and 12 seconds.

Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who claimed two stages of the tour last year, was second while Australia's Matt Goss was third.

"The team was awesome, they worked perfectly," said Swift.

The stage, originally scheduled to begin at Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, was shortened by more than 80km because of heavy rain in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

It was the second day in a row the tour had been hampered by foul weather, with the entire first day abandoned because of unseasonal snow.

"The rain helped; I'm from England and I grew up riding in the rain," said Swift. "It puts fear into some riders, but it helped us control the race."

The seven-day tour continues today with a 192-km road race from Auburn to Modesto. — Reuters


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Ancelotti left in limbo amid Chelsea silence

Posted: 16 May 2011 05:49 PM PDT

The Boss on tenterhooks: No room for runner-up? — Reuters pic

LONDON, May 17 — Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti still has no idea whether he should be calling a removal van, after the club stayed silent amid fervent speculation over his future.

The Italian waved to fans, not knowing if it was arrivederci or a final goodbye as the team walked round the pitch on Sunday after their 2-2 draw with Newcastle United, their last appearance at Stamford Bridge this season.

They visit Everton on the final day of the Premier League on Sunday, effectively assured of second place behind champions Manchester United, but whether that will be enough for owner Roman Abramovich after a trophyless season remains to be seen.

Last season's double in Ancelotti's first season is a distant memory, and a look back at how ruthless Abramovich has dealt with previous managers does not make happy reading for Ancelotti.

Claudio Ranieri was axed after finishing runner-up in the Premier League and reaching a Champions League semi-final.

Back-to-back league titles did not save fans hero Jose Mourinho when a sticky patch of form arrived, and Avram Grant was sacked after being one John Terry slip away from winning the Champions League final. Luiz Felipe Scolari lasted seven months.

"I don't know what happens, we have to wait and after that I can explain," said Ancelotti, whose side also lost to Manchester United in the Champions League last eight. "We have to just wait one week; it is not a long period and see what happens.

"If my job is good I will stay. If they think my job was not good I have to go. In my opinion sometimes I did a good job, sometimes I could do better."

Roma vacancy?

His future may hinge on who Chelsea could bring in.

Former Russia coach Guus Hiddink, who won the FA Cup as Chelsea caretaker between Scolari's sacking and Ancelotti's arrival and is reported to be a favourite of billionaire Abramovich, is under contract with the Turkey national team.

Hiddink's agent Cees van Nieuwenhuizen told Reuters last month there was "no chance" of him leaving Turkey before November, and he was set to honour a four-year deal signed in 2010.

Porto's highly rated boss Andre Villas Boas has said reports linking him with a move were "absurd" and that he planned to stay.

Mourinho has talked of having unfinished business at his beloved Chelsea but is not likely to leave his Real Madrid project after one season. And he had fallen out with Abramovich anyway.

Ancelotti may have an exit strategy, with former club AS Roma yet to announce what is happening with their coaching situation.

The Serie A side, who missed out on a Champions League place, appointed Vincenzo Montella as interim coach until the end of the season after Ranieri resigned in February.

Recent poor results may mean Montella is not kept on by the club's new American owners.

"It's a punishing verdict for Roma," Montella said after Sunday's late 2-1 loss at Catania ruled them out of fourth spot. — Reuters

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