Sports in brief - 2012-04-24

  • 2012-04-26

Leading Estonian cyclist Rein Taaramae’s hopes of finishing in the top ten at this year’s Tour de France suffered another major setback, with the 24-year-old now set for another extended period out of the saddle after suffering a complicated elbow injury during the Castilla y Leon race in Spain just under a fortnight ago. It is understood that the injury occurred on April 15 on the final day of the race, which was serving as the Estonian rider’s comeback after earlier in the year being diagnosed with mononucleosis, or as it is more commonly referred to, as glandular fever. Writing on his personal blog, the runner-up in the youth standings at last year’s Tour de France said, “At first the arm didn’t hurt much, so I didn’t suspect anything like this and I thought I would be okay in a couple of days. On Tuesday, Tartu doctors put my arm in a cast and told me that it would be on for one month, and recovery would be 2-3 months.” According to err.ee, Taaramae, in a best case scenario, may be able to return to cycling at the beginning of June, meaning that if he is still able to compete in the Tour de France in July, he will go into the race severely under-prepared.

Latvian number one tennis player Ernests Gulbis’ career continued its downward spiral last week when the world’s former no. 21 bombed out in the opening round of an ATP Challenger Tour event on clay in Rome. Having won just two matches and lost six on the ATP tour this season, Gulbis opted to try his luck in the second tier tour in order to give himself a much needed confidence boost. But it did just the opposite, with the current world no. 86 easily bundled out in two sets by unheralded German Simon Greul, 6-4, 6-2. In a candid press conference in the United States earlier this season, the son of wealthy parents admitted that he is coming up to a decision point in his career and if his form is not to return, then he will throw the game in at the ripe old age of 23. Going on this latest dismal result, that decision may well be just around the corner, leaving many to wonder what exactly he will do with his life.

Lithuanian basketball club Lietuvos Rytas have earned a spot in the semi-finals of the Russian-based VTB League for the first time in the club’s history. Coming up against Eurocup champions Khimki in their best-of-three quarter-final series beginning in Vilnius on April 18, the red-and-blacks dominated games one and three to take the series 2-1. Renaldas Seibutis was prominent in both of the victories, scoring 25 points in the series’ opening game and 24 points in the deciding encounter. Following on from the Baltic Basketball League Final Four tournament in Siauliai this weekend, the Vilnius-based club will then travel to Russia to take on CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, with the final set to take place a day later. Lead by former NBA players Andrei Kirilenko and Nenad Krstic, CSKA have been one of Europe’s leading clubs this season and will justifiably head into the semi-final clash as the heavily favored team. Lietuvos Rytas are the only non-Russian team to qualify to compete in the last four.

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