UCI Pro Cycling is very well underway today. In France, the route towards the sun, the route de soleil, in other words, the Paris-Nice stage race wraps up a week of racing tomorrow at the French Riviera. Today, stage 7 goes from Nice up the Colle de la Couillole. Yesterday, Simon Yates soloed to victory on stage 6, with Julian Alaphilippe benefiting from Team Sky's work to keep the overall lead In Italy, the annual coast to coast race is underway. The Tirreno-Adriatico started at the western sea, the Tyrrhenean, on Wednesday, and will wrap up next week at the Adriatic. The racers continued down the coast yesterday in stage 3 of the race, Australian rider Rohan Dennis was surprised to take the leader's jersey after a late crash delayed teammate Greg Van Avermaet. Saturday will see a big mountain finish at Terminillo. Ever popular Slovakian Peter Sagan took the stage victory yesterday, which promises exciting action today, with attacks from the big-name Grand Tour riders such as Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali and Tom Dumoulin.
|Barcelona's Sandro Ramirez|
In France, in Ligue 1 Soccer, perennial champs Paris Saint-Germain travels today to Lorient, perennial losers. Lorient have been described as Ligue 1’s basement barnacles, glued to the bottom of the French first division since their wretched campaign began, six points adrift of safety. PSG, though, scurries to Lorient as a way to regain their reputation. They took a great advantage into their game against Barcelona the other day, and were traumatized, losing a 4-0 advantage in the twilight of their game, losing to Spain's second best by a score of 6-1. Regarding the loss, PSG captain Thiago Silva said "It’s a defeat that is going to make news around the world... and that’s hard." The team conceded three goals after the 86th minute and were clearly spooked and disoriented. Worse yet, they are behind league leaders Monaco by six points... Today's away game at Lorient now seems of supreme importance to try to reconstitute some sort of winning outlook.
This weekend, Ski Jumping World Cup competition is being held at Oslo, Norway. German Andreas Wellinger is currently in the lead. The Team Men's competition will be held this afternoon with individual finals being held tomorrow afternoon.
In the USA, in NCAA collegiate basketball action, conference tournament play continues today in almost all conferences. With so many games it is hard to choose which to highlight, so consult your local listings.
Meanwhile, the World Baseball Classic play continues today. Fans across the globe seem to love this competition, allowing their home teams to excell on the world stage, but apart from this outlet, Americans appear to greet this international contest with a big "meh," as US baseball fans are focused on Spring training and the cactus leagues. Leave it to the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the other Latin American nations in the tourney to draw the very best of their Major League players, who treat the WBC like the World Series. Eligibility rules are wide enough that players can play for their "heritage." Manny Machado, an American citizen who was born in Miami, chose to play for the Dominican Republic, the birthplace of his parents. Players from Dutch territories in the Caribbean – such as Curacao and so MLB players Xander Bogaerts and Kenley Jansen play as orangemen. Yesterday, the USA avoided disaster with a walk off homerun win over Colombia. The classic continues today with pool round robin play.
Saturday’s dream matchup between the U.S. and the defending champion Dominican Republic in Pool C remains intact, with both clubs having 1-0 records that put them in the driver’s seat for advancing. The last time they met, also in Miami in the second round of the 2013 tournament, the Dominicans prevailed 3-1 on the way to claiming the title in undefeated fashion. Edinson Volquez will pitch for the Dominican Republic opposite Marcus Stroman. Colombia faces Canada in the early game Saturday. Ironically, the highest the USA has ever finished in the history of this classic is 4th. Spring Training, after all.