Goran admits defeat


DIGEST/TENNIS: Goran Ivanisevic yesterday pulled out of the defence of his Wimbledon title after admitting defeat in his battle to overcome a long-standing injury. He will undergo surgery to repair the damaged rotator cuff in his left shoulder later this week in Germany.

The Croatian was hoping prolonged rest during the clay- court season would allow him to take his place on Centre Court at Wimbledon from June 24th.

He has finally had to schedule surgery on the injury he has suffered for so long, and which also troubled him during last year's epic Grand Slam victory, when he defeated Britain's Tim Henman in the semi-finals and Australian Pat Rafter in a thrilling five-set final.

Ivanisevic needed a wild card from the tournament committee simply to get into the draw as he was ranked 125th in the world.

CYCLING: Jan Ullrich, winner in 1997, has pulled out of this year's Tour de France with a knee injury.

The 28-year-old, who also missed the 1999 event, believes there is no chance of recovering his fitness in time to mount a serious challenge. "It makes no sense, if I train more intensively, the pain returns," he said.

The German's medical team had worked on steadily increasing the training load put on the joint, but realised that the chances of Ullrich competing against the world's best was unrealistic.

Ullrich, who has finished second by Lance Armstrong for the last two years, first noticed the pain last Tuesday in training. This year's tour starts on July 6th.

CYCLING: Marco Pantani was yesterday cleared to start the Tour of Italy when the country's cycling federation postponed a decision on a doping case.

Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping chiefs had demanded a four-year ban on the former Tour of Italy and Tour de France winner but yesterday's hearing shelved the decision. The federation will not meet again for at least a fortnight and therefore Pantani will be able to start the May 11th to June 2nd race.

Pantani has been implicated in several different judicial cases involving alleged doping and last year had a suspended three-month prison term overturned on appeal on a technicality.

CYCLING: Following on from his fine win on the second stage, Dermot Nally secured victory in the green jersey classification of the Giro d'Abruzzo in Italy when he placed fourth on the final stage.

The 21-year-old Maltinti Lampadari rider was part of a seven-man breakaway group which raced clear 35 kilometres from the end of stage three and swiftly built a lead of one and a half minutes.

Fending off a late charge from the main bunch, the group reached the finish with 21 seconds to spare. Here Nally gained fourth place in the sprint behind Italians Alessio Ciro and Luigi Bonfrate, plus the Ukrainian Maksym Rudenko, and thus took the points classification.

SOCCER: A penalty 13 minutes from time ensured that Drimnagh Castle took the honours in the FAIS Under-15 Cup final at Castlecomer where they defeated De la Salle Waterford 1-0.

David Dennison was in fine form between the posts for De la Salle. He saved two point-blank shots in either half before Dale Gannon finally beat him from the penalty spot after John Paul Kelly had won the award.