David Murray with england flag
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20 July 2015

Weekend Sport Round-Up: Tour de France, Davis Cup, Ashes & The Open

Sir Dave Brailsford goes on front foot to defend Chris Froome against critics 

There were no punches or abusive acts thrown at their riders on the road on Sunday, but Team Sky continued to come under sustained attack, with Chris Froome accused of having an “abnormally high” power-to-weight ratio live on French television.

Brailsford called on the UCI, cycling world’s governing body, to act to prevent this type of speculation. Not for the first time, he suggested introducing a ‘power passport’ which could keep record of a rider’s performance data over a period of time, similar to the way in which the biological passport does with blood levels.”If we had all his measurements from all the climbs he has done in training we would be able to see the evolution,” he said. “It is not fair what has been said. Chris is special. He has a special physiology. But he doesn’t cheat.”

Sky had begun Sunday’s stage with question marks over their security, Brailsford having called on the ASO (Amaury Sport’s Organisation) to take the threat of physical violence towards his riders seriously. And there did seem to be an increased police presence around their bus – as many as five police officers, up from the usual two – at the start. The ASO later said that this was coincidental, denying that Sky were receiving special treatment.

From what we have witnessed so far in this year’s Tour de France, a ‘mob culture’ is taking over on the roads. The scrutiny that Chris Froome is currently under is something which a professional sports person should never have to go through and especially mid way through the biggest event of the cycling calender. The UCI needs to start acting like a world governing body instead of letting the French media have a stronghold on the tour.

 

Andy Murray books Great Britain’s place in Davis Cup semi-final for the first time since 1981

Wimbledon has been and gone but thanks to the heroic efforts from the GB team over the weekend at the Queen’s Club, tennis vibes are still in the air. We can look forward to tennis’ answer to the Ashes this autumn, when Great Britain take on Australia for a place in the Davis Cup final. Murray came from a set and a break down to overhaul the world No 11, Gilles Simon by a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-0 scoreline, and thus complete a 3-1 victory over France, the runners up last year.

Spirits were high in the British camp after the Murray brothers’ doubles win on Saturday had left them just one singles rubber away from that coveted semi-final.

A scan of the record books revealed that Great Britain’s rise from the boondocks of Europe/Africa Group II to the Davis Cup semi-finals is the fastest achieved, having been completed in only four years. While watching the matches over the weekend the team spirit in the camp was refreshing to see in a sport which is very much individualist. Andy Murray might be taking the plaudits but this GB team is a very close-knit group and it came down to everyone contributing on court, not just Andy.

 

There’s no shame in losing to a better team like Australia. It is shameful to bat the way England did 

This was not the display of potential Ashes winners. This was a spineless surrender by England. All the good work from Cardiff, all the momentum, all the apparent Australian crises counted for nothing when it most mattered. England were staggeringly weak as they were routed for a pitiful 103 in just 37 overs to lose the second Test at Lord’s by an incredible 405 runs.

Clearly something has to be done before Edgbaston because England cannot keep getting bailed out by Joe Root who was targeted effectively by Johnson and could not pull off yet another rescue act. Root has to go up to three, Ballance moved down to five and Bell to be given one more chance on his home ground to prove that 128 runs at an average of just 10.66 in his last 12 innings does not represent a terminal decline.

England head coach went as far as saying, “It was pants down and backsides smacked,”. “We were outplayed in this game. For England’s sake, lets hope there is a wicket with more in it for the 3rd test at Edgbaston.

Nevertheless with a 1-1 situation we are still in the running and this makes for a great edge of your seat test Edgbaston #BackTheBrits!

 

Irish amateur Paul Dunne shares the lead with Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen going into the final round of the 144th Open at St Andrews 

Dunne was one of five amateurs to make the cut and he ended his third round having only dropped two strokes all week, one apiece in his matching opening two rounds of 69. No amateur has led the Open after three rounds since America’s Bobby Jones in 1927 – he is also the last amateur to win the title, a victory that came three years later. However, as an amateur Dunne will not be entitled to any of the £1,150,000 prize money should he win on Monday.

After his 3rd round Dunne said to the press, “I’m well capable of shooting the scores that I need to win if everyone else doesn’t play their best.”Whether it happens or not, I can’t really control. I can just go out and try to play my game and see where it leaves me at the end of the day.”It’s surreal I’m leading the Open, but I can easily believe that I shot the three scores that I shot.” However according to Gary Player, the winner of this year 144th Open will be the golfer who has ‘the right mind’, not the man who drives the ball furthest.

But Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth is waiting in the wings and just a shot behind the leading trio of Dunne, Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day as he looks to claim the third leg of an unprecedented calendar Grand Slam at St Andrews.


Written By Tom