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Reports: big changes coming for Tour de france's 100th anniversary

The 2013 Tour de France might not finish on the Champs-Elysees, as it has for the past 37 years, a Belgian newspaper reported. Next summer's 100th anniversary celebration of the Tour could conclude with a stage across the Alps, culminating with two climbs up cycling's most famous climb, L'Alpe d'Huez, Het Nieuwsblad said.

The season's most important stage race has ended on the Champs-Elysees every year since 1975.

The ending could be one of several significant changes made in the event for the anniversary.

The official route presentation is Oct. 24 in Paris, but officials have confirmed the race will open with three stages on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, the only province of France that has not hosted a Tour stage.

Leaks about other changes are making headlines across Europe. The French daily Le Dauphine Libere reported last week that Mont Ventoux also will be part of next year's race. The last time Ventoux was featured was 2009, when Juan Manuel Garate beat Tony Martin for the stage and Alberto Contador secured his victory over Andy Schleck and Lance Armstrong.

The Pyrenees will also be featured, most likely in the first half. With the race starting in Corsica, the Tour likely would loop toward the Pyrenees, with all but certain stages tackling such emblematic climbs as the Galibier and the Tourmalet.

Stages across the bumpy, narrow roads of the Massif Central are almost guaranteed before climbing into the Alps.

Alpine skiing

Vonn asks to race in Cup men's downhill

Lindsey Vonn has asked the International Ski Federation if she can enter a men's downhill race this season in an attempt to revamp the image of women's Alpine skiing.

The four-time overall World Cup champion sent a letter to men's race director Gunter Hujara, asking about competing in a World Cup event at Lake Louise, Alberta, next month.

The request has been discussed but no decision has been made, said Atle Skaardal, the women's World Cup race director. Competition rules could be a problem, she said. No racer is supposed to ski on a course a week before his or her competition. The race Vonn requested is a week before a women's event in Lake Louise.

Et cetera

NHL: Union lawyer Steve Fehr and deputy commissioner Bill Daly talked Saturday and said they would talk again today to finalize a schedule for resuming formal negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement this week, ESPN reported.

Tennis: Top seed Novak Djokovic faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final of the China Open today at Beijing. In the semis, Djokovic beat Florian Mayer 6-1, 6-4, and Tsonga led 6-1, 4-1 when Feliciano Lopez retired with a left wrist injury. In the women's event, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka beat ninth seed Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-2 to set up a final against Maria Sharapova, who beat seventh seed Li Na 6-4, 6-0. … Milos Raonic ousted top seed Andy Murray 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-4) to move into the Japan Open final at Tokyo against Kei Nishikori.

Soccer: Chelsea extended its English Premier League lead with a 4-1 victory over Norwich, and defending champion Manchester City climbed to second place by beating Sunderland 3-0.

Times wires

Sports in brief 10/06/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 11:08pm]
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