Sports in brief - 2011-06-30

  • 2011-06-29

Estonia’s Rein Taaramae and Lithuania’s Tomas Vaitkus have both been confirmed as starters in the field of 208 riders who will participate in this year’s Tour de France, which begins on Saturday, July 2. Riding for Cofidis le Credit en Ligne, 24-year old Taaramae is considered as having a real chance of finishing the grueling 21-stage race in the top ten. It will not be so glorious, however, for Vaitkus, who will be working as a domestique for leading Astana rider, Alexander Vinokourov of Kazahkstan. In his role as a domestique, Vaitkus will be expected to put in a heavy workload through the opening hours of each stage before fading back into the pack by day’s end. With each of the 22 teams also naming up to four reserve riders when their teams were announced earlier this week, up to two more Baltic riders may also feature in the tour when racing commences. Latvian Aleksejs Saramotins has been named as a reserve rider for Taaramae’s Cofidis le Credit en Ligne while a second Estonian, Tanel Kangert, may yet ride alongside Vaitkus in Team Astana.

Baltic players have failed to fire in yet another tennis grand-slam with Ernests Gulbis and Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, alongside Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, all failing to make it past the first round of their respective singles draws at Wimbledon. The result was particularly embarrassing for Sevastova, who – with only a few days of the tournament remaining – holds the unenviable record of the shortest stay at the tournament, with her 6-1, 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany’s Sabine Lisicki, lasting just 45 minutes. Although Gulbis and Kanepi enjoyed longer stays on court, their results left them destined to the same fate. Gulbis featured in one of the most intriguing first round battles by pushing Russia’s Dmitri Tursunov to a fourth set before losing out 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (14-12), 7-6 (7-1). With a ladies singles draw seeding of 17, Kanepi had been expected to go the best of the Baltic players but a poor serving performance cost her dearly as she lost out heavily to Sara Errani of Italy, 6-1, 6-4.

Latvian ice hockey club Riga Dinamo wants to build its new sports complex near Riga International Airport, says the municipal construction company Rigas pilsetbuvnieks’ spokesperson, Ivo Kirsblats, reports The municipality has received a letter from Dinamo in which the club’s chairman, Juris Savickis, says that the club has decided to build its new sports complex on a land plot next to the airport. Therefore Riga Vice Mayor Andris Ameriks (Latvia’s First Party/Latvia’s Way) has ordered Rigas pilsetbuvnieks, which is the owner of the land plot, to draft the land lease agreement, assess potential cooperation possibilities and terms of agreement. According to Savickis, the project’s cost could amount to 30 to 50 million euros. The club also wishes to build a six-story hotel, a rehabilitation center and other facilities in the area.