National Sports Briefs: Armstrong third; Contador wears yellow jersey
PARIS ó Lance Armstrong’s kids were dressed in yellow. He was not.
When the seven-time Tour de France champion returned to the Tour podium Sunday, his family was there. His fans were there. And so was rival and teammate Alberto Contador ó wearing the coveted and hard-won yellow jersey.
Four years after his seventh Tour win, Armstrong capped his return with an impressive third-place finish. He had his clan on hand ó son Luke, twin girls Grace and Isabelle, his mom, Linda, ex-wife, Kristin, and his girlfriend Anna Hansen, with their baby Max, sporting bright yellow shoes.
They were among the massive crowd that poured out onto Paris’ most famous avenue for the finish ó Norwegians in Viking helmets, flag-waving Britons and an American in a stars-and-stripes top hat among them.
Contador cruised down the Champs-Elysees to win the Tour for a second time Sunday after 2,141 miles over three weeks of racing. He repelled challenges in the mountains, excelled in the two time-trials ó winning a pivotal race against the clock in the 18th stage ó and won the first Alpine stage.
Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, Contador’s toughest rival in the mountains, was second overall.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. ó Terrell Owens wants Michael Vick to be reinstated immediately by the NFL, and said any extension of the quarterback’s suspension would be similar to “kicking a dead horse.”
Speaking after the Buffalo Bills training camp practice Sunday morning, the star receiver referred to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of Vick’s status as “unfair.” Owens also lobbied to have more of the league’s high-profile players voicing their opinion in support of Vick and asked the NFL Players Association to become more involved.
“I think he’s done the time for what he’s done. I don’t think it’s really fair for him to be suspended four more games,” Owens said, referring to reports that the NFL is considering to further punish Vick. “It’s almost like kicking a dead horse in the ground. … The guy’s already suffered so much. And to add a four-game suspension on a two-year prison sentence, that’s ridiculous.”
– ENGLEWOOD, Colo. ó The Denver Broncos signed second-round pick Alphonso Smith to a four-year deal Sunday, a day before rookies were scheduled to report to camp.
Smith, a defensive back out of Wake Forest, is expected to compete for a spot in the nickel package with Champ Bailey and Andre’ Goodman already penciled in as the starting cornerbacks.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J ó Finally, a win against the Americans on U.S. soil for Mexico.
And, finally, the charmed run by the young hosts in the Gold Cup ended in a crushing defeat.Mexico snapped a decade victory drought against the Americans in the United States on Sunday with a 5-0 rout for its fifth CONCACAF regional championship.
SUNNINGDALE, England ó Loren Roberts won his second Senior British Open title on Sunday, beating Mark McNulty on the third hole of a sudden death playoff.
Fred Funk also took part in the playoff, but was eliminated on the first extra hole when he made par as Roberts and McNulty birdied.
– OAKVILLE, Ontario ó Jason Dufner played six holes in 1 under to top the Canadian Open leaderboard before play was washed out because of the latest round of heavy rain and lightning, forcing the tournament to at least a fifth day.
– EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France ó Ai Miyazato of Japan won the Evian Masters with a birdie on the first playoff hole, beating Sophie Gustafson of Sweden to clinch her first victory on the LPGA Tour.
EDMONTON, Alberta ó Will Power led from the pole and won under a caution flag at the Rexall Edmonton Indy Sunday in a race marred by a pit fire that burned driver Tony Kanaan’s hands and face.It was the first IndyCar series win for the 28-year-old from Australia, in his first season with Penske Racing.