Sports Digest: Belgian rider wins Mont Ventoux stage at Tour de France


CYCLING

Wout van Aert of Belgium twice conquered the daunting and grueling Mont Ventoux to win the prestigious Stage 11 of the Tour de France on Wednesday.

Van Aert was part of a breakaway that formed in the early stages of the nearly 200-kilometers trek in southern France featuring an unprecedented double climb of the iconic mountain known as the “Giant of Provence.”

Race leader Tadej Pogacar was fourth, one minute and 38 seconds behind, and kept the yellow jersey. The defending champion was briefly dropped by Jonas Vingegaard near the summit on the second ascent of the iconic mountain but erased the 38-second deficit in the downhill run to the finish.

Pogacar has an overall lead of five minutes and 18 seconds over Rigoberto Uran, with Vingegaard in third place, 5:32 off the pace.

HOCKEY

NHL: Newell Brown has been hired for his third stint as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks.

Brown is the third new assistant added to Coach Dallas Eakins’ staff during the offseason.

Brown spent the past four seasons as an assistant with the Vancouver Canucks, where he was in charge of the team’s power play. He and fellow new assistant Geoff Ward likely will be asked to fix the Ducks’ power play, which was the worst unit in modern NHL history last season, scoring on just 8.9% of its chances.

Brown was an assistant with the then-Mighty Ducks from 1998-2000 and again from 2005-10. He was part of Randy Carlyle’s staff in 2007 when the Ducks won their only Stanley Cup.

Brown spent two stints as an assistant with the Canucks, including a role on their back-to-back President’s Trophy winners in 2011 and 2012.

Anaheim hired veteran coaches Ward and Mike Stothers last month as new assistants to Eakins after the Ducks (17-30-9) finished with the worst record by points percentage in franchise history and the second-worst mark in the NHL.

OLYMPICS

TOKYO GAMES: Surging COVID-19 cases in Tokyo have hit a two-month high that almost guarantees the Japanese government will declare a new state of emergency to start next week and continue for the duration of the Tokyo Olympics.

The pandemic-delayed Olympics open in just over two weeks on July 23.

IOC President Thomas Bach is scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on Thursday, when he will be greeted by the rising cases as he self-isolates for three days in the International Olympic Committee’s five-star hotel in the capital.

A new state of emergency could lead to a ban even on local fans. That decision on fans is expected Friday when local organizers meet with the IOC and others.

The present quasi-state of emergency ends Sunday. Tokyo reported 920 new cases on Wednesday, up from 714 last Wednesday. It is the highest total since 1,010 were reported on May 13.

AUTO RACING

REUTEMANN DIES: Argentinian driver Carlos Reutemann, who won 12 Formula 1 races, died on Wednesday at the age of 79.

He made his debut in the sport in 1972 and raced until 1982 for Brabham, Ferrari, Lotus and Williams. He was on the podium 45 times and registered six pole positions.

Reutemann was the title runner-up in 1981, finishing one point behind Brazilian Nelson Piquet.

He was hospitalized last month because of digestive problems. His health started to deteriorate in 2017 after he was diagnosed with liver cancer.

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