Thursday, Jul 18, 2002
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CYCLING: BORDEAUX: Lance Armstrong (in picture) says he would love to retire in style in two years time after winning an unprecedented sixth Tour de France. Speaking during the rest day of the Tour de France, Armstrong said spending so much time away from his family was the hardest part of being a professional rider. The American, chasing his fourth consecutive Tour de France triumph, said he understood why Italy's Mario Cipollini and Frenchman Laurent Jalabert had decided to retire from the sport. ``I haven't spoken to Jalabert but I suspect one of the reasons why he's retiring is that you are away from home all the time,'' Armstrong said. "There's training camps, races, sponsor activities, it grinds on you. So after 10, 12 years of it, you just say 'that's enough'. "I miss my family more and more now. They came on Tuesday and it was great to see them, it makes my day to see them. ``Fortunately they understand that this is my job and it has its rewards. They know that in a couple more years I'll just be a nuisance around the house and (wife) Kristen will want me to go off and do a bike race or do a training camp.''
BOXING: LOS ANGELES: WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz finds himself in a familiar role the underdog. The oddsmakers have made undefeated contender Kirk Johnson of Canada the favourite in their July 27 title bout in Las Vegas. Being underestimated again simply makes Ruiz more determined. "The day I become a favourite, I'll probably retire. It has always been the same case,'' he said of being an underdog. ``It motivates me to prove people wrong, and that's what I'm going to do. I've been the underdog many times, and this just shows the respect they have for me,'' he said. ``But the odds just show an opinion. When you step into the ring, there is no champion, no favourite. ``Whoever walks away with the victory is the favourite.'' Ruiz is 37-4-1 with 27 knockouts. Johnson, who hasn't fought in a year, is 32-0-1 with 23 knockouts, but hasn't faced an opponent of the caliber of Ruiz.
TENNIS: LONDON: French Open champion Serena Williams has been named the WTA's Player-of-the-Month for June, tour officials have said. Williams picked up her second consecutive Player-of-the-Month award following her Roland Garros exploits where she beat elder sister Venus in the final to claim her first grand slam crown since the 1999 US Open. The major capped a superb clay-court season for the 20-year-old Serena, who reached back-to-back finals in Berlin and Rome prior to the Paris event. Serena ousted top seed Jennifer Capriati on the way to the final before overcoming Venus in a scrappy two-set encounter. Serena, who also picked up the monthly prize for March, is the front-runner for the July award after picking up her first Wimbledon title earlier this month. Since missing the Australian Open in January with an ankle injury, Serena has won titles in Scottsdale, Miami, Rome, Roland Garros and at Wimbledon.
SYDNEY: Australian No.1 Nicole Pratt is out of this weekend's Fed Cup tennis tie against the Netherlands in Wollongong, south of here. Pratt, enjoying a career-high world ranking of 36, is suffering from a chronic foot injury that has hampered her for the past nine months. The injury flared up at Wimbledon last month and team captain Evonne Goolagong-Cawley on Wednesday confirmed Pratt's withdrawal. Goolagong-Cawley promoted the 177th-ranked Christina Wheeler to join world No.71 Alicia Molik, world No.107 Evie Dominikovic and doubles specialist Rennae Stubbs in the Australian squad. Australia and the Netherlands are playing off to stay in the 16-team World Group next year. Australia should win the two-day promotion-relegation match beginning on Saturday to remain in the 16-team World Group. The draw will be held on Friday.
ATHLETICS: MASSACHUSETTS: Mary Crew Armstrong, who won a gold medal at the 1932 Olympics as a member of the U.S. 4x100-meter relay team, has died at St. Patrick's Manor at age 88. Armstrong was 15 years old when she won the first of four straight national titles in the 40-yard dash in 1929. At the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, Armstrong ran the first leg of the 4x100-meter relay and gave her team a lead that led to victory and a world record. The team chose her to accept the gold medal. Following the Olympics, she was greeted with a parade and an estimated 10,000 cheering well-wishers in her hometown of Medford, Massachusetts. Armstrong is survived by a son and a daughter.
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