Contador joins Danish outfit


SPORTS DIGEST:CYCLING: Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has joined Denmark’s Saxo Bank team on a two-year contract, team manager Bjarne Riis announced yesterday.

“I am proud and honoured that I am able to introduce Alberto Contador to our team next year,” Riis said. “It is an impossible opportunity that has occurred and that we are able to realise.” added Riis.

Spaniard Contador announced last week he would not renew his contract with Kazakh-funded Astana who he joined in 2008.

“I think I’ve chosen the best option and I’m confident that Riis will build a great team in 2011,” Contador said.

Contador won his third Tour de France title last month, finishing the three-week race 39 seconds ahead of Saxo Bank team leader Andy Schleck.

Riis said he was convinced Contador’s full potential is yet to be seen and added that he has great ambitions for the Spanish rider.

Flintoff suffers another setback

CRICKET: England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff suffered yet another injury setback yesterday when, days before he was due to return from a year on the sidelines, he was ruled out of action for the rest of the season.

Flintoff (32), who has retired from Test cricket, had been hoping to feature in Twenty20 action in India, Australia and New Zealand during the Southern Hemisphere summer but his prospects look slim after this latest setback.

Noh invited to play in USPGA

GOLF:TEENAGER NOH Seung-yul has become the first South Korean to be invited to play at the USPGA Championship.

The 19-year-old was invited with Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Britain’s Simon Khan for the season’s last major at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, from August 12th-15th.

Noh, who qualified for this year’s British Open, made his breakthrough earlier this year after winning the Malaysian Open in March when he edged out compatriot KJ Choi by one shot.

“It is an honour to be invited,” Noh said.

Six Koreans will play at the USPGA Championship, including defending champion Yang Yong-eun, who last year became the first Asian man to win a major golf title.

Sri Lanka reach a solid 293 for four

CRICKET:Sri Lanka countered a pitch assisting seam and spin to reach a solid 293 for four on the first day of the third and final Test against India in Colombo yesterday.

Thilan Samaraweera became the third Sri Lankan batsman to pass 50 and was unbeaten on 65 at the close with Angelo Mathews on 26.

The hosts only need a draw to win the three-test series 1-0.

Mahela Jayawardene’s wicket was the solitary success for India in the final session when he was lbw to Pragyan Ojha for a a subdued 56.

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, dropped by Suresh Raina in the slips on 23, had looked set for his third hundred of the series but, on 75, he lifted a ball from left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha straight to Virender Sehwag at long-on.

Earlier, India struck in the final over before lunch when Murali Vijay produced a sharp piece of fielding at silly point to claim the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was on 41.

NFL keen to expand use of technology

AMERICAN FOOTBALL:The National Football League (NFL) are in discussions about employing chip-in-ball technology to help rule on contentious touchdown and first down calls.

“Yes, we are talking. There is a demand in American Football,” German manufacturer Cairos Technologies sales director Mario Hanus said on the sidelines of the Soccerex Asian forum in Singapore.

The NFL would not deny or confirm the talks. However, a spokesman for the league said yesterday that they are looking at expanding their use of technology.

“We are always exploring ways in which we can be innovative with technology to improve our game and our fans enjoyment of the game,” spokesman Michael Signora said.

Currently NFL team coaches are able to use video replays to challenge two contentious calls a game.

Magee’s first defence at Stadium live on television

BOXING:European super middleweight champion Brian Magee will make his first defence of his title against Armenian Roman Aramian at the National Stadium in Dublin on September 11th – the Hunky Dorys fight night will be televised live on RTÉ, writes Gavin Cummiskey

The event will also include Kiko Martinez against another Armenian, Arsen Martirosyan, for the European (EBU) super bantamweight belt.

Martinez yesterday called for former WBA world and European champion Bernard Dunne to come out of retirement and fight him should he prove successful against Martirosyan. Martinez famously took the EBU belt off Dunne at the old Point Depot in 2007.

The Brian Peters promotion of Belfast man Magee is a curious development, considering Magee’s manager and promoter Pat Magee had taken legal proceedings against Peters due to a dispute prior to the staging of Dunne’s world title defence, and last fight, against Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym in September 2009.

It is believed the failure of Pat Magee and Peters to reach an agreement forced Dunne to fight the mandatory challenger, Poonsawat, just six months after he won the world title by defeating Ricardo Cordoba

Both Pat Magee and Peters confirmed yesterday the current event is an “accommodation” and that a “confidential agreement” has been reached to avoid a public court case.