Sports in brief - 2011-05-05

  • 2011-05-04

Young Lithuanian cyclist Ramunas Navardauskas has completed a promising week in the Presidential Tour of Turkey, held from April 24 until May 1, claiming two top ten stage finishes on his way to finishing the eight stage race 24th overall, with a total time of 33 hours, 59 minutes and 30 seconds, 13 minutes, 42 seconds behind eventual winner Alexander Efimkin of Russia. Riding for Team Garmin-Cervelo, the 23- year-old finished in the peloton on both of the opening stages before going for it on stage three, finishing a mass sprint finish in fifth. He then went one better a day later in similar circumstances to finish fourth. Stage five, however, did not go to plan for the Lithuanian as he was unable to position himself within a breakaway group of 10 riders. The best he could manage was to lead the peloton home, nearly 12 minutes in arrears. One rider who had, however, been in the group of ten was teammate Thomas Peterson, who ended the day as overall leader. Navardauskas was then required to take on the role of domestique for his teammate but, despite his best efforts, he could not help a tired Peterson retain the leader’s blue jersey as he slipped back to finally complete the tour in fourth place.

Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi has made an unsuccessful return to tennis following more than a month off after being diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis, something she was found to be suffering from after falling in her opening match at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, back in early April. Opting to make her return on clay at the Madrid Masters, the world no. 19 looked good early against world no. 27, Julia Goerges of Germany, but she visibly tired as the game progressed – something to be expected given her limited activity over the past month. After claiming the opening set 7-6 (3), Kanepi was completely outplayed by the hard serving Goerges in the second as the German went on to take it 6-1, forcing a deciding third set. At this stage, Kanepi looked to have little left in her tank and, despite breaking Goerges, the German broke back twice to take the set 6-4. It is not yet clear when and where Kanepi will next be playing.

Latvia has made a promising start to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships, despite losing both of their opening two matches. Playing current world champions, the Czech Republic in their opening match on April 31, the Latvians went up 1-0 in the opening period and again led 2-1 early in the second. The Czechs, however, struck back midway through the second and again early in the third, handing them control over proceedings. With time running out Latvia appeared to panic, forcing an easy turnover with a little over a minute remaining. The Czechs pounced on the fast break, scoring their fourth goal to take the match 4-2. Following the game, defenseman Arturs Kulda was handed a three match suspension for a check that was deemed unsportsmanlike in the opening period. Playing in their second match on May 3 against the fourth ranked Finns, Latvia went behind early but tied the game up midway through the second period. They then went into the lead in the 43rd minute, leaving them with a little over 17 minutes to hold out. It proved too much, however, with Finland finding the equalizer on a power play in the 53rd minute. With no more goals coming, overtime was needed, but still no winner was forthcoming, forcing a shootout. Finland then wrapped up the game quickly, hitting their first two shots while Latvia missed both of theirs. It was a vast improvement from a Latvian side who in April lost a two-match friendly series with the Finns, 5-0 and 5-3, respectively. Latvia’s final pool match took place against Denmark on Wednesday evening, after TBT went to print.