A round-up of today's other stories in brief
Wiggins backtracks on decision not to defend Tour title
CYCLING: Bradley Wiggins has gone back on his decision not to defend his Tour de France title, raising the prospect of going head-to-head with his Sky team-mate Chris Froome for cycling’s ultimate crown.
Following a successful return to training in Mallorca, Wiggins appears to have changed his mind. Although in September and October he was saying he would most probably focus his attention on the Giro d’Italia and then support Froome in the Tour.
“My goal is to win the Tour next year,” said Wiggins. “Whether that is realised or not, I don’t know really.”
He apparently completed 28 hours in training in one week recently in Mallorca and clocked up another 15 hours in the first three days of this week, with a seven-hour ride on Wednesday.
However, Wiggins repeated his assertions of earlier this year that he is prepared to support Froome if the team appoint him leader.
Stirling gets new three-year deal at Middlesex
CRICKET:Former England bowler Angus Fraser believes Ireland international Paul Stirling will soon be attracting the attention of the England selectors.
Now the managing director of cricket at Middlesex, Fraser has handed the 22-year-old a new three-year deal at the county yesterday.
Commenting on the deal, Fraser, said: “Paul is without doubt one of the most exciting young cricketers in the world. I have watched a lot of cricket in the past 30 years but I have seen very few batsmen strike the ball as cleanly and hit the ball as far as Paul.
“It can and should not be long before the England selectors begin inquiring about his availability as he would add a great deal to their one-day and T20 teams.”
Meanwhile, the draw for both the RSA Irish Senior and National cups was made yesterday, with the fact that 62 teams from 16 counties will compete in both showing the healthy state of the club game in Ireland.
Defending champions The Hills face a tough opening tie against Instonians, the losing side in the 2011 decider, although a home draw for the Leinster side will give them a big advantage.
Brammeier looking forward to new challenge at Champion
CYCLING:Confirmed earlier this week as moving to the Champion System team for the 2013 season, Irish road race champion Matt Brammeier has said he is determined to make the most of what should be some bigger personal opportunities for him in the season ahead.
The Liverpool-born Irishman has spent two years with the WorldTour HTC and Omega Pharma Quick Step set-ups and while they were amongst the biggest teams in the sport, the presence of so many top riders meant that he was often required to play a domestique role for others.
The Pro Continental Champion System team is a smaller setup and management there will be looking to Brammeier to clock up results himself, something he feels is in line with his own ambitions.
“I need to win. I have came close over the last two seasons but I think with this team I can really take more chances, be given more freedom in breakaways, and hopefully win some more,” he told The Irish Times. “My first big goal will be the Classics. I want to be in top shape and try to ride a finale in one of those races.”