Monday, June 18, 2018
Sports

Tour de France begins Saturday

LEEDS, England — The Tour de France, cycling's big event, begins today through bucolic countryside in northern England, where officials have paid for the right to host the event, hoping to draw tourists, capture media attention and feed the cycling craze among Britons.

Generating such enthusiasm could first require getting over the belief that after Lance Armstrong's doping exposure, the sport still is dogged by drugs cheats. Cycling chiefs and experts generally agree the era of widespread doping is over, but few would claim to know that today's pack is fully clean.

The sport's governing body, UCI, is again teaming up with French anti-doping agency AFLD to test riders. Blood checks will be carried out on all riders before today's first leg from Leeds to Harrogate, the first of three stages in Britain. Britain's anti-doping agency will also be involved.

AFLD will use data from the UCI's biological passport program to target possible cheats, along with information from a specialized French police unit.

Two riders who were expected to compete were suspended by their teams before the race. South Africa's Daryl Impey, who last year became the first African to wear the leader's yellow jersey, failed a drug test in February and was removed by Orica-GreenEdge. Roman Kreuziger — a key climbing lieutenant of Alberto Contador on Tinkoff-Saxo — was dropped because of anomalies in his biological passport detected in 2011 and 2012.

Four well-known doping offenders will be at the start line: Contador, stripped of the 2010 Tour title and suspended for two years after testing positive for clenbuterol in the final week of the '10 race; Alejandro Valverde, banned for two years in 2010 for involvement in Operation Puerto, which ensnared dozens of riders over secretly stored blood bags; Rui Costa, who tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine in 2010 and had a one-year ban reduced to five months on appeal; and Frank Schleck, banned one year ban for a positive test for a diuretic during the 2012 Tour.

Comments
For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

UPDATE, 11:37: Interesting decision by the Rays to move Adames to 2B today and reinstall Hechavarria at SS as he came off DL following Arroyo injury.Here is the Rays lineup:Duffy 3bBauers 1bRamos cCron dhAdames 2bHechavarria ssGomez rfRefsnyder lfFie...
Published: 06/17/18

Tarponsí Castillo, North squad notch FSL All-Star Game victory

TAMPA — The Tarpons' Diego Castillo led the North squad to a 5-0 victory in the 57th Florida State League All-Star Game on his home field Saturday night.The game MVP went 2-for-4 with two doubles and started the scoring for the North in the sec...
Published: 06/17/18

Captainís Corner: Trout bite at its best

The trout bite has been the best Iíve seen all year. Fish up to 26 inches have been common recently. Fish are sitting on the flatsí deeper edges, where the water is deeper and cooler, and moves a little more swiftly. Live sardines and hard plastic ba...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Published: 06/16/18
Updated: 06/17/18
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Published: 06/16/18

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, June 17

TODAYAutosXfinity: Iowa 250 qualifying2:30 p.m.FS2Xfinity: Iowa 2505 p.m.FS1BaseballMarlins at Orioles1 p.m.FSFRays at Yankees2 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMAstros at Royals2 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Mariners (in progress)5 p.m.MLBCubs at Cardinals8 p.m.ESPNCollege b...
Published: 06/16/18
Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

NEW YORK — Just when it seemed like SS Adeiny Hechavarria might not play another game for the Rays, he will rejoin them on Sunday.The Rays announced after Saturday's 4-1 loss that INF Christian Arroyo was placed on the DL due to an oblique stra...
Published: 06/16/18
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Yankees

RHP Ryne Stanek did his job as the opener just fine in getting four outs on Saturday, but for the Rays' unorthodox pitching plan to work it takes a team effort. And LHP Ryan Yarbrough's inability to throw strikes quickly put them in a hole.The experi...
Published: 06/16/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

UPDATE, 11:49: Cash said he played Cron at 1B in an effort to get him more involved in the game, indicated he may do so again Sunday (with Bauers off vs. LH Sabathia) and should have done so more as Cron struggled. … Cash reiterated that CF Kev...
Published: 06/16/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18