Valverde keeps Tour lead

Et Cetera

July 07, 2008

With villagers calling out to him as he sped through the countryside, Alejandro Valverde hung on to his lead in the Tour de France yesterday and basked in the honor of wearing the yellow jersey.

The Spaniard held back as Norwegian sprint specialist Thor Hushovd won the second stage in a sprint in completing the 102-mile ride from Auray to Saint-Brieuc.

"It was an incredible thing to spend today with the yellow jersey on my shoulders," Valverde said.

One of the favorites in the three-week race, Valverde finished 12th and ruled out trying to win a stage that featured a tricky uphill finish.

Hushovd, who rides for the Credit Agricole team, won a Tour stage for the sixth time. He bolted from the pack with about 50 yards to go and finished in 3 hours, 45 minutes, 13 seconds.

Team Columbia riders Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg and Gerald Ciolek of Germany were second and third.

Valverde, the Caisse d'Epargne team leader, is one second in front of Kirchen and Oscar Freire of Spain.

Auto racing -- Ryan Hunter-Reay took the lead after a late restart and won the IndyCar Series' Camping World IndyCar Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, N.Y. ... Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix in Silverstone, England, for the first time and took the lead in the Formula One drivers championship.

WNBA -- Becky Hammon scored 28 points and combined with Sophia Young to score San Antonio's final 24 points, and the Silver Stars (12-6) held off the host Washington Mystics (6-11) for an 83-75 victory. Alana Beard led the Mystics, who have lost three straight games, with 20 points.

Lacrosse -- The United States rallied from a five-goal deficit with less than seven minutes left and beat Canada, 16-15, in overtime in Coquitlam, British Columbia, in the International Lacrosse Federation U-19 World Championship. The U.S. improved to 4-0 and clinched a spot in the semifinals.

Et cetera -- Mint Lane earned a second straight stakes win, rolling to a 2 3/4 -length victory over Tizbig in the $200,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. The winning time was 1 minute, 44.29 seconds for the 1 1/16 miles. ... Louisville receiver JaJuan Spillman was dismissed from the team after his second arrest in 18 months.

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