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THE INSIDE TRACK | NEWSWIRE

Hot Day Brings Big Change in Tour de France Standings

July 20, 1998|From Staff and Wire Reports

With temperatures scorching at 104 degrees, two Frenchmen had a big day as the Tour de France tried to return to racing after a week of tumultuous events.

A drug scandal has rocked the cycling showcase, and Sunday's eighth stage could not completely cast aside the shadow of drug use.

Laurent Desbiens of France, who in 1995 was suspended for six months for failing a drug test, took over the overall lead. He was part of a breakaway group that finished more than seven minutes ahead of the pack.

Jacky Durand of France won the stage. He was part of the group that included Desbiens in the day's 118-mile leg from Brive-La Gaillarde to Montauban.

On Sunday, the major pack finished more than seven minutes behind Durand. That was enough to let Desbiens take the leader's yellow jersey from defending champion Jan Ullrich of Germany, who took it in Saturday's time trial.

"The pack was tired because of the heat and somehow I wound up with more water than expected," Durand said. "Maybe that's why I won."

Tennis

Germany's Steffi Graf won her sixth A&P Tennis Classic championship by defeating South Africa's Amanda Coetzer, 6-3, 6-3, at Mahwah, N.J. . . . Spain's Conchita Martinez swept Italy's Silvia Farina, 6-0, 6-3, to win the Warsaw Cup in Poland. . . . Geoff Abrams of Stanford beat UCLA's Noah Newman, 6-2, 6-2, in the final of the prequalifier for the Mercedes-Benz Cup at the Racquet Centre in Universal City. Abrams advances to a 32-man qualifier on Saturday. Four players from that event will earn berths in the main draw featuring Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic July 27-Aug. 2 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at UCLA.

Soccer

Eduardo Hurtado scored two goals and assisted on another as New York-New Jersey defeated the Columbus Crew, 3-0, in a Major League Soccer match before 13,826 at East Rutherford, N.J. The victory gave the MetroStars a 10-9 record, lifting them into second place in the Eastern Conference.

Preki had a goal and an assist to lead the Kansas City Wizards past the Colorado Rapids, 4-1, in an MLS match before 5,458 at Kansas City, Mo.

According to reports in Germany and England, several of Europe's top soccer clubs, AC and Inter Milan, Juventus, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Paris St. Germain, Ajax Amsterdam, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, met in an attempt to form their own breakaway Super League in the 2000-2001 season.

Track and Field

Hachim El Guerrouj failed in a bid to become the fastest ever in the 2,000 meters when he clocked 4 minutes 48.35 seconds at Gateshead, England. He missed the record, owned by his Algerian rival, Noureddine Morceli, by .47. . . . Kenya's Japheth Kimutai broke Sebastian Coe's stadium record by two seconds in the 800 meters at the Stuttgart, Germany meet, running the distance in 1 minute 42.76 seconds.

Basketball

Rick Carlisle has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Chicago Bulls' coaching job to stay as an assistant with the Indiana Pacers, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Led by former Texas Tech standout Jasson Sasser's 15 points, the U.S. men's basketball team breezed past Spain, 95-76, in an exhibition game at Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Merlakia Jones scored 19 points and the host Cleveland Rockers opened a 30-point lead in the first half of an 85-69 WNBA victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Charlotte Sting. Wendy Palmer had 24 points as the Utah Starzz ended a four-game losing streak with a 99-88 victory over the Washington Mystics before 13,744 at Washington.

Miscellany

More than 1,800 athletes from 44 states who competed in recent triathlons in Illinois and Wisconsin may be at risk of contracting a dangerous illness, health investigators said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked for help in warning 966 people who participated in the Springfield, Ill., Ironhorse Triathlon on June 21 and 850 athletes from the 1998 Bally Total Fitness USTS Triathlon in Madison, Wis., on July 5. Five people from the competitions became ill with fever and other symptoms consistent with leptospirosis, an illness that, if left untreated, could result in liver or kidney damage. The agency did not say how the athletes were exposed. Leptospirosis is caused by a microorganism spread by infected animals, especially rodents or dogs.

While a deal to renegotiate quarterback Warren Moon's contract stalled, the Seattle Seahawks' first-round draft pick--6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker Anthony Simmons of Clemson--signed a six-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.

Kent Steffes and Mike Whitmarsh defeated Karch Kiraly and Adam Johnson, 11-4, 9-7, to win Pro Beach Volleyball's Sunkist Open at Belmar N.J.

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