Sports in brief - 2011-03-31

  • 2011-03-30

Lithuania has picked up two medals at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Track Cycling Championships, held in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. Simona Krupeckaite claimed silver in the women’s individual sprint on Saturday to go with a bronze medal won by Vilija Sereikaite in the women’s individual pursuit on Friday. It is the second time that Krupeckaite has picked up silver in the individual sprint, having previously done so back in 2008. This was followed up by bronze medals in 2009 and 2010. Krupeckaite is arguably the most celebrated Lithuanian female athlete of all time, having also claimed a further seven medals in other events at previous world championships. She was also named Lithuanian sportsperson of the year in 2009 and 2010. It is the third consecutive time that Sereikaite has won the bronze medal in the individual pursuit.

Latvian Gatis Smukulis has finished 78th overall in the Tour of Catalunya after wearing the yellow jersey for the second and third stages of the seven stage tour. After being a surprise winner of the first stage, Smukulis maintained the yellow jersey following a sprint finish at the end of the second stage, in which he finished comfortably inside the pelaton. The tour began to move into the hills on day three, seeing Smukulis fade, and ultimately had him relinquishing the cherished yellow jersey at the end of the day. Smukulis was never expected to challenge again and in the end finished the race 16 minutes and 27 seconds behind eventual winner Alberto Contador of Spain, who completed the seven stages in a total time of 29 hours, 24 minutes and 42 seconds. Estonia’s Tanel Kangert finished in 68th position, 12 minutes behind Contador.

All three Baltic players participating in the Sony Ericsson Classic in Miami have failed to fire with the trio all falling in their opening matches. Having retired with an injury in his previous outing, Lithuania’s Richard Berankis appeared to still be suffering from his back injury, falling to Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 3-6, 7-6, 6-3. Berankis rushed out to a 3-0 lead in the final set before his back began to cause him problems, seeing him drop the next six games to lose the match. Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi was granted direct entry into the second round on account of her tournament seeding, but the extra rest did not seem to do her any favors as Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano dealt with her in two sets, 6-3, 7-6 (5). Another who was unable to capitalize on their direct entry into the second round was Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis. Playing against lesser-ranked Carlos Berlocq of Argentina, Gulbis lost in three sets, falling 6-1, 2-6, 6-4. Gulbis has now failed to win back-to-back matches since appearances in the final eight of his opening two tournaments of the season, back at the beginning of January.