|CURATING THE BEST IN SPORT|
|October 20-26, 2020|
Are the lost decades over? Let’s hope it’s real
|Road cycling has had it tough during the last two decades. Almost every single one of the top cyclists in the men’s division had been linked to a doping scandal, making a mockery of the sport. The last couple of years, however, seem to have been cleaner -at least as far as we know-. Due to the practically full generational change that we have had in the last couple of years, it meant that the sports’ biggest stars are all new. They might be the faces that men’s cycling needs.|
Last weekend’s Tour of Flanders was an example. Just one week after Wout van Aert (BEL) had claimed that Mathieu van der Poel (NED) had ruined the Gent-Wevegelm race for both of them due to the latter’s “focus on their rivalry” (Cyclingnews) – to which van der Poel said he needs to focus on beating everyone, including van Aert- both were the protagonists of a great duel for the win just by themselves for around the last 20 kilometers, which was defined literally in a photo finish in favor of the Dutch rider. Both riders are under 27 and the best might be yet to come. Could this be the rivalry that the sport needs to revive and that will ensue in the upcoming years?
Or maybe it will be a trio of riders in the group? Actually, the race was already just a three-men game with 50 kilometers to go, but with 35 to go, the current World Champion, Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) had a distraction and struck a judge’s motorbike, ending his race (he broke his hand and is recovering (Eurosport)). This could have been a three-way sprint for first, and it would not be surprising if it sets the tone for one-day classics in the near future.
But then let’s also not forget the Slovenians that dominated the Tour de France: Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič, who are be the two best Grand Tour riders in the world. Let’s also not forget the Colombians (such as Egan Bernal, 2019 Tour de France winner, or Tour de France stage winner Daniel Martínez) and Ecuadorians (such as Richard Carapaz, 2019 Giro d’Italia winner), all Mountain Masters. Or other top-5 finishers at this year’s World Championship: Marc Hirschi (SUI), Michał Kwiatkowski (POL) and Jakob Fuglsang (DEN). Or Lucas Ackermann (GER), who has been very fast in one-days, or Filippo Ganna (ITA), who is the TIme Trial World Champion and he has made it clear by taking both of the Giro’s Time Trial Stages.
And with all of those names, we might have not even mentioned whoever will win the Giro D’Italia this weekend or the Vuelta a España, which started today. Very few veterans remain. The most notable are probably Vicenzo Nibali (ITA), who sits 7th at the Giro, Geraint Thomas (WAL), who crashed out of the race, and Chris Froome (ENG), who is the last chance for all-powerful Ineos Grenadiers to save a failed season at the Grand Tours, but has had a poor start. And even if he does, he is leaving the team to Israel Startup Nation. Or it might turn out to be like at the Giro, where it looks like a new name will be added to the list of Grand Tour winners, in leader João Almeida (POR) or chaser Wilco Kelderman (NED). A safe bet could be Roglič, who took stage 1.
So many stories going on. Men’s road cycling might just have overcome its two lost decades. Let’s hope this is a reality and not an illusion.
|Five things to know from last week|
- Kiwis triumph in Australia. In a big week for Australian sport it was mostly New Zealanders that took the wins. In front of over 40,000 spectators, the All Blacks defeated Australia 27-7 in the game 2 of the Bledisloe Cup (Rugby), in Auckland. In Australia, their most prestigious car race, the Bathurst 1000 was won by Shane van Gisbergen (NZL) and Garth Tander (AUS), while Scott McLaughlin (NZL) took the Supercars Championship. In Horse Racing, the Caufield Cup was won by Kiwi-born horse Verry Elleegant, ridden by Mark Zahra (AUS), while in New Zealand, Melody Belle took her 12th Grade 1 win at the Livamol Classic. But it will certainly be an Australian team that wins the AFL Final this Saturday, between Richmond and Geelong. (The Guardian’s Preview)
- Magnus wins but loses again. Magnus Carlsen (NOR) lost his first classical game in over two years last week at Norway Chess, but he then managed to rebound and secure the tournament win with a match to go. He did lose that last match, against Levon Aronian (ARM), who secured third place, behind Alireza Firouzja (IRN). Check the moves on Chessbase.
- Swimming Series return. The Para Swimming World Series returned to action in Germany, albeit with less than ten countries competing. Elena Krawzow (GER) broke the women’s 50m breaststroke SB12 World Record and Gina Böttcher (GER) broke it in the 200 Individual Medley S4. Spain took 12 golds and 35 medals in total. The International Swimming League also returned to action; it will be fully held in Hungary. Swimming World analyses its improvements.
- Extreme Canoeing. The ICF Slalom World Cup featured Extreme Canoeing Races, which they want to make an Olympic discipline. The men’s race was won by Pedro Gonçalves (BRA), who also took bronze in Slalom Canoe. Alsu Minazova (RUS) took the women’s gold. Another sport with a World Cup was Downhill Mountain Bike in Maribor, which France keeps on dominating: Loris Vergier (FRA) took both men’s golds. Watch the winning runs of Race 2 (Red Bull TV)
- Kyle Larson’s comeback. Kyle Larson was just reinstated by NASCAR and will be able to race in 2021. He has been suspended since April for calling a friend “nigger” during a simracing event. Since, he has engaged in several activities geared at positive social change, and rehabilitation. In sport, he rebounded and is the #1 Sprint Car racer, and last weekend he won the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series Bettenhausen 100 at Illinois State Fairgrounds. He completed the triple sweep of one-mile midwest ovals, having won at DuQuoin, and Indiana State Fairgrounds. Another triplet in dirt ovals was Russia’s third straight Speedway of Nations World Championship in Poland, which was almost rained out – watch (SpeedwayGP).
|GLOBAL PODIUM OF THE WEEK|
|Gold: Jonathan Rea|
(Northern Ireland, Motorcycling)
Actually, this weekend’s races at the Portuguese Superbike Grand Prix were not the best for Johnny Rea, taking into account this was the only race weekend this year where he did not win a single race: he only managed to finish 4th, 5th and 14th, after an unusual fall. Nevertheless, these results were enough for Rea to win his sixth consecutive World Superbike Championship, which makes him the most successful Superbike rider of all time. He won eleven times year, which leave him with the all-time mark of 99 race wins. Two races this weekend were won by Toprak Razgatlıoğlu (TUR) and the other one by Chaz Davies (WAL), who bids farewell to Ducati by almost winning the Manufacturers’ World Title for them with 391 points. But thanks to Javier Forés’ 8th place, Kawasaki was able to tally 392 and win the Championship. Previously it had only been Alex Lowes (ENG) and Rea that had scored for the Japanese brand, but Forés scored the most valuable 8th place to be remembered. This is also Rea’s sixth consecutive Manufacturers’ World Championship. Andrea Locatelli (ITA) took the Supersport World Championship and Jeffrey Buis (NED) the Supersport 300 World Championship.
Watch a beautiful highlight video of this year’s season (World SBK)
|Silver: Teófimo López|
The long-awaited Lightweight unification bout between Pound For Pound #2 Vassyl Lomachenko (UKR) and undefeated World Champion Teófimo López was meant to be an excellent fight between a defensive amateur-style fast boxer and a puncher but it was underwhelming, with the fighters being very careful throughout the fight. Nonetheless, it should be recognized that Teófimo pushed on the first part of the fight and while Lomachenko tried to recover in the later part, it was already too late. López, at 23, becomes the youngest boxer ever to hold World TItles form the four main organizations on the same weight, at the same time. He was already the IBF World Champion and added the WBO, WBA Super, WBC Franchise, and The Ring World Champion belts to his collection.
Watch the fight highlights (TV Azteca)
|Bronze: Peres Jepchirchir|
Jepchirchir crossed the line in one hour, five minutes and 16 seconds to win the gold medal at the Half Marathon World Championships and post the World Record for a women’s-only Half Marathon Race, which she had set in September; and the third best Half Marathon of all time for a female runner. She also led Kenya to the silver medal in the team competition, behind Ethiopia. Jepchirchir defeated the two runners that set the fastest ever Half Marathons for female runners last February: Ababel Yeshaneh (ETH), fifth, and Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN), who had a fall and finished sixth. In the men’s division, a Ugandan won, but it was not pre-race favorite Joshua Cheptegei. Instead, it was 19 year-old Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) who took gold and led the team to the bronze medal at the team event, behind Kenya and Ethiopia.
Watch the full race (World Athletics)
|GLOBAL SPORTS AGENDA|
Major League Baseball’s World Series will be plaid between the Los Ángeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay, after both won the League “Championship” Series in seven games. The first game is tonight (Tuesday).
In Horse Racing, Japan has its Kikuka Shō (Japanese St. Leger), just a week after Kohei Matsuyama (JAP) rode Daring Tact, to win the Shūka Shō, the sixth horse to ever win the Japanese Filly Triple Crown, and the first to ever do so unbeaten.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (RUS) wants to make a case as #1 MMA Pound for Pound fighter in the world by trying to defend his UFC Lightweight Championship against Justin Gaethje (USA).
In boxing, World Title fights featuring Mexicans are usually spectacle and we will have three from México City this weekend, including the best Super Flyweight in the world, José “Gallito” Estrada (MEX), in a rematch against Carlos Cuadras (MEX) from their fight three years ago. Crowd-pleaser Julio César Martínez (MEX) will try to defend his Flyweight World Title versus last-minute replacement Moisés Calleros (MEX), since Maximino Flores (MEX) tested positive to Covid-19. Former P4P-rated Román González (NIC) might aim for a fight against the winner of Estrada and Cuadras if he is to beat Israel González (MEX).
IndyCar has its title decider and Josef Newgarden (USA, Penske) can still mathematically defend his Championship but it is way more likely that Scott Dixon (NZL) will get his sixth. Formula 1 returns to action in the inaugural race at spectacular Algarve and MotoGP races in Aragón again, after Álex Rins (ESP) became the 8th rider to win this season, which is led by consistent Joan Mir (ESP), who is yet to win.
In Road Cycling, the Giro d’Italia will be decided and the Vuelta a España just started this morning, with a stage win for Primož Roglič (SLO), who wants to redeem his Tour de France’s disappointing second place.
The Winter Sports season is on, as the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup held its first race last week and now the ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix Circuit begins.American Football:
NFL Regular Season
Towerrunning Tour 2020 – International Vertical Marathon PingAn Finance Centre
Aussie Rules Football:
Best In The Desert – (Parker, Arizona)
BOSS GP (Imola, ITA) x2
Carrera Panamericana (México)
FIA Formula 1 – Portuguese Grand Prix (Algarve, POR)
IndyCar – (Streets of St. Petersburg, USA)
Intercontinental GT Challenge, GT World Challenge powered by AWS – Spa 24 Hours (Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, BEL)
NASCAR Cup (Texas)
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (Texas)
NHRA (Houston, Texas)
Super GT (Suzuka, JAP)
World of Outlaws Late Models (Kokomo, USA; Pevely, USA)
World of Outlaws Sprint Cars (Kokomo, USA)
Major League Baseball – World Series
Nippon League – Climax Series
KBO Regular Season
World Snooker Tour – Betvictor Championship League
World Boxing Association Super World Super Fly Title – Román González (NIC) vs Israel González (MEX)
World Boxing Council World Super Fly Title – Juan Francisco Estrada (MEX) vs Carlos Cuadras (MEX)
World Boxing Council World Fly Title – Julio César Martínez (NIC) vs Moisés Calleros (MEX)
vacant World Boxing Federation World Female Feather Title – Elina Tissen (GER) vs Pasa Malagic (BIH)
interim International Boxing Federation World Welter Title – Sergey Lipinets (RUS) vs Custio Clayton (CAN)
Indian Premier League Regular Season
PDC International Darts Open (ET4)
FEI Driving World Championship for Singles
FEI Eventing Nations Cup – Italy
Arena of Valor (Garena Challenger Series Summer 2020, RoV Pro League 2020 Winter, Arena of Glory Winter 2020)
SMITE Pro League/2020 Season/Phase 2
Global StarCraft II League Season 3 – Semifinals
Quake Pro League Season 2: Stage 1
World Cyber Games 2020 Connected Group Stage
League of Legends World Championship – Semifinals
ISU Grand Prix – USA
PGA Tour ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD
LPGA Drive On Championship – Reynolds Lake Oconee
Manikato Stakes, Ladbrokes Cox Plate (Australia)
Grande Premio ABCPCC, Grande Premio OSAF, Grande Premio São Paulo (Brazil)
Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes (England)
Criterium International, Criterium De Saint-Cloud, Prix Royal-Oak (France)
XX Clásico Esmeralda, LXXIV Gran Premio Nacional, XXI Hándicap Loma de Sotelo (México)
Kikuka Shō (Japanese St. Leger) (Japan)
Clásico Enrique Ayulo Pardo, Clásico Ricardo Ortiz de Zevallos (Perú)
Ankara Stakes (Turkish St. Leger) (Turkey)
Lion City Cup (Singapore)
Mixed Martial Arts:
UFC Lightweight Championship – Khabib Nurmagomedov (RUS) vs Justin Gaethje (USA)
FIM Flat Track World Championship (Boves-Cuneo, ITA)
FIM Motocross World Championship (Lommel, BEL x2)
FIM MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 World Championship (Aragón, ESP)
UCI CHAMPIONNATS DU MONDE MOUNTAIN BIKE MARATHON
Online World Cup 5 Results
UIM PLEASURE NAVIGATION Class Endurance GR. B World Championship (Como, ITA) x3
UCI World Tour Giro d’Italia
UCI World Tour Vuelta a España
UCI World Tour Three Days of Bruges–De Panne
UCI Women’s World Tour Three Days of Bruges–De Panne
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series
GT Pro Series
WTA Ostrava Open
Sport’s best values
|Sportsmanship: Sir Stirling Moss|
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I just remember sitting on the couch with my brother watching the grands prix every Sunday, watching Michael storm ahead…We used to “Miguel Vázquez did win that fight, you know? And 117-111 is an absolute disgrace. Sometimes, you know, in a fight you judge what you like, could you have said it was a close fight, draw, for me, I don’t think so. 117-111 to Lewis Ritson was a disgrace to the card, is the only way to say it and it’s terrible for the sport.”Eddie Hearn (ENG)
After Miguel Vázquez (MEX) lost against Lewis Ritson (ENG) in England for the vacant WBA Intercontinental super lightweight title. The judge that gave 117-111 has been summoned for using his cellphone during the fight.