Different American tops race in cycling

By wire services
Published March 14, 2005

NICE, France - Bobby Julich became the first American to win the Paris-Nice cycling race, finishing in the main pack trailing Alejandro Valverde of Spain across the finish line Sunday.

Valverde won the seventh stage, an 84-mile ride that began and ended in Nice, in a sprint finish. The ride took 3 hours, 28 minutes, 29 seconds.

"I'm like a good wine. With a bit more age, I've become a better rider," said Julich, 33, who won in a total time of 22:32:13. "I couldn't be happier than right now."


Friedel's team in semis

American goalkeeper Brad Friedel stopped Dion Dublin 's header in the 47th minute to preserve the shutout and Paul Dickov made a penalty kick as Blackburn beat Leicester 1-0 to reach the FA Cup semifinals. In the other quarterfinal, Newcastle defeated Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 on Patrick Kluivert 's fifth-minute goal.

REF FIGHTS BACK: A Brazilian referee punched a fan who attacked him on the field during a match, Pele's Web site reported. Luiz Carlos Silva fought back after the fan ran on the field and started punching and kicking him in a match between America and Atletico Mineiro. Police arrested the fan, who was shirtless and shoeless. America won 1-0.

U.S. WOMEN WIN: Behind two goals by Kristine Lilly , the U.S. women defeated Denmark 4-0 in V.R. Santo Antonio, Portugal, for a place in the Algarve Cup final. On Tuesday the Americans face Germany, which defeated China 2-0.


Trainer issues apology

Trainer Jeff Mullins apologized for calling bettors idiots in a Los Angeles Times story March 6. On a TV interview he said, "I obviously said some things I didn't mean and I shouldn't have said. Believe me, if I could take these things back I would."

TAMPA BAY DOWNS: With a win in the 10th race, Jesus Castanon , last year's leading rider at the Oldsmar track, tied Terry Houghton for the top spot this season. Both have 62 wins.

SANTA ANITA OAKS: Sweet Catomine took the lead around the stretch turn and won by 3 lengths in the $300,000 race for fillies.


Tightest title race ends

Sweden's Anja Paerson won the overall World Cup title by the smallest margin - three points - since skiing's current point system was introduced 13 years ago. With one skier left in the season-ending giant slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, Croatia's Janica Kostelic was seventh and Paerson was out of the top 15, a scenario that would have given Kostelic the title. But Maria Jose Rienda Contreras of Spain won the race, bumping Kostelic to eighth in the race and giving Paerson the title. On the men's side, Mario Matt of Austria won the slalom.

SPEED SKATING: The Canadian men set a world record in the 5,000-meter relay at the short-track World Championships in Beijing. Apolo Anton Ohno was second overall behind Ahn Hyun-soo . of South Korea.


TENNIS: No.1 Roger Federer opened defense of his Pacific Life Open title with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Tampa's Mardy Fish in Indian Wells, Calif. In an upset on the women's side, teenager Evgenia Linetskaya defeated No.2 Amelie Mauresmo 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in a third-round match. Also, No.5 Elena Dementieva defeated Severine Beltrame 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

IDITAROD: Norwegian Robert Sorlie left the checkpoint in Kaltag, Alaska, with the lead in the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, 260 miles from the finish in Nome. Rachael Scdoris , the legally blind rookie from Bend, Ore., was running, though nearly in last place.

RUNNING: In his home country, Alberico Di Cecco beat Kenyans Philip Manyim and Daniel Yego to win the Rome Marathon in 2:08:02. Silvia Skvortsova won the women's race in 2:28:01.