National sports briefs: Armstrong climbs to third
LA GRANDE-MOTTE, France ó Lance Armstrong jumped from 10th to third place at the Tour de France on Monday, positioning himself for a shot at the yellow jersey after evading trouble on a windy ride along the Mediterranean.
Britain’s Mark Cavendish won his second straight stage. He and Armstrong and overall leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland kept up with a breakaway group that bolted from the pack with 18 miles left in the 122-mile third stage.
Armstrong, a seven-time champion coming out of retirement, is 40 seconds behind. He was able to make his big jump because riders in front of him at the start of the day got trapped in the main pack.
The Tour said Armstrong will be fined the equivalent of $92 for failing to sign in before the stage. His Astana team said the Texan was delayed because of autographs and interviews.
WIMBLEDON, England ó Wimbledon runner-up Andy Roddick withdrew from the U.S. Davis Cup team’s quarterfinal at Croatia, citing a right hip flexor injury.
Roddick slipped and tumbled to the grass in the eighth game of the fourth set Sunday. He stayed down for a few moments, then rose, grimacing, and toweled off.
He is being replaced on the U.S. Davis Cup team by Mardy Fish.
* WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. ó Andre Agassi is coming back to the U.S. Open.
The two-time champion will headline the Grand Slam tournament’s opening night ceremony on Aug. 31, celebrating athletes’ charity work.
* KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. ó Anna Kournikova, who has long been linked to singer Enrique Iglesias, showed up for Monday’s World Team Tennis match with a huge diamond ring on her left ring finger.
When asked the significance of the ring by The Associated Press, Kournikova replied, “I thought you were the good press.” She put her hand behind her back and did not elaborate.
MADRID ó Cristiano Ronaldo received a rapturous welcome from 80,000 Real Madrid fans, an outpouring so exuberant the soccer star had to be hustled away when spectators leaped barriers and took the field.
Ronaldo, who joined the famed club following his record transfer from Manchester United, appeared before the capacity crowd at Santiago Bernabeu wearing the same No. 9 jersey worn by Real Madrid great Alfredo di Stefano.
n LIVERPOOL, England ó American midfielder Anton Peterlin is poised to move from the top level of amateur soccer in the United States to the Premier League.
The 22-year-old Peterlin impressed on a 10-day trial last season at Everton, which is set to sign him to a one-year deal. Peterlin would join from the Ventura County Fusion in California, a team in the fourth-tier Premier Development League.
RALEIGH ó New N.C. State women’s basketball coach Kellie Harper has hired another assistant.
Harper named former Baylor assistant Richard Barron to her staff. He replaces Walter Mebane, who resigned last week for personal reasons.
Barron was Princeton’s coach for six seasons before joining Baylor’s staff in 2007.
AUCKLAND, New Zealand ó Howard Thompkins III scored 22 points and the United States stayed perfect with an 85-69 win over Greece in a second-round game at the FIBA under-19 world championships. Duke’s Seth Curry had eight points and a team-high six rebounds.
In other action, Rutgers guard Michael Rosario scored a tournament-high 54 points as Puerto Rico edged France 90-89.
The United States (4-0) will face Puerto Rico (3-1) today.
Rosario made 18 of 29 shots from the field, nine of 13 from three-point range and nine of 10 free throws.
DALLAS ó Jason Kidd has agreed to sign a three-year contract for more than $25 million to remain with Dallas. The New York Knicks were among Kidd’s suitors.
* DETROIT ó Charlie Villanueva posted a message on his Twitter account, informing his followers he will sign with Detroit.
“It’s a clear summer day in LA. I got my workout this morning,” Villanueva tweeted. “Now I’m off to Motor City: the process continues… physicals, signing on Wed.”
* MIAMI ó Dwyane Wade will remain in Miami on one condition. He wants the Heat to become a championship contender again, the quicker the better.
Wade said Monday that simply getting to the playoffs “is not enough” to satisfy him anymore and that his long-term commitment to Miami hinges entirely on the franchise getting back into the mix for the title trophy he hoisted just three years ago.
“I’m going to listen. I owe the Miami Heat that much. I’m going to listen to what they have to say and I’m going to think about it,” Wade told The Associated Press. “But right now, the way I feel, I want to make sure that we’re on track to where I want us to be on track to before I sign back.”
* MILWAUKEE ó First-round pick Brandon Jennings has yet to break a sweat in practice for the Bucks, but he’s already doing a little backpedaling on defense.
Jennings drew unwanted attention last week when his telephone conversation with a rapper was videotaped and posted on YouTube. In the video, Jennings insisted that Ramon Sessions would not return, boasted that he will beat out Luke Ridnour as a starter and made a profane comment about the New York Knicks for not drafting him.
Jennings said Monday that he did not know the conversation was being recorded, but he acknowledged that he was wrong and pledged to learn a lesson.
PHOENIX ó Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Docket says he will report to training camp and not allow his contract issues to affect his performance.
* ALLEN PARK, Mich. ó Hall of Fame offensive lineman Lou Creekmur, who starred on Detroit’s three NFL championship teams of the 1950s, died Sunday. He was 82.
CHICAGO ó The Blackhawks resolved some of the administrative problems surrounding their restricted free agents by signing five of those players.
The Blackhawks announced they had agreed to two-year deals with forward Troy Brouwer and goaltender Corey Crawford. Forwards Ben Eager and Colin Fraser, and defenseman Aaron Johnson each signed one-year contracts.
Notably absent from the list of signed players were forward Kris Versteeg, an NHL rookie-of-the-year finalist, and defenseman Cam Barker.
Although it’s unlikely, both Versteeg and Barker could be declared unrestricted free agents in light of a grievance filed by the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA).
“The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) confirms today that it has filed a grievance regarding the failure of the Chicago Blackhawks to submit qualifying offers to its 2009 restricted free agents prior to the deadline stipulated in the CBA,” the NHLPA said in a statement. The NHLPA said the case is pending before an arbitrator.
* VOORHEES, N.J. ó Chris Pronger says he’s willing to discuss a contract extension with the Flyers that will keep him in Philadelphia beyond next season and help keep the organization a perennial Stanley Cup contender.
* VANCOUVER, British Columbia ó The Vancouver Canucks added depth by signing free agent goalie Andrew Raycroft to a one-year deal on worth $500,000.
* TORONTO ó The Maple Leafs have reached an agreement with defenseman Francois Beauchemin on a three-year deal.
* OTTAWA ó The Senators have signed forward Alex Kovalev to a two-year deal.
* NEW YORK ó The Rangers agreed to terms on a one-year, $2.25 million deal with Chris Higgins, a restricted free agent acquired last week in a six-player trade that sent Scott Gomez to Montreal.
* DETROIT ó The Red Wings signed free agent forward Ville Leino to a two-year deal.
PARKERSBURG, Iowa ó The man accused of killing an Iowa high school football coach has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
Coach Ed Thomas was fatally shot on June 24 in a weight room in front of about 20 students at Aplington-Parkersburg High School in northeast Iowa.
Twenty-four-year-old Mark Becker, a former player, pleaded not guilty in a written plea. Online court records show that Becker demanded a speedy trial, which means he will have to stand trial within 90 days.
Becker remains in the Cerro Gordo County jail on $1 million cash bond.