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Valverde spearheads Spain world championships squad MADRID: Fresh from finishing third at the Vuelta a Espana, Alejandro Valverde will lead Spain's quest for glory on home soil at the world cycling championships in Ponferrada.The 34-year-old, who penned a new three-year deal with Movistar on Tuesday, will line up alongside Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez, who finished fourth in the Vuelta, for the road race on September 28.Spanish coach Javier Minguez has also selected Jonathan Castroviejo, Imanol Erviti, Ion Izagirre, Jesus Herrada, Dani Moreno, Luis Leon Sanchez and Dani Navarro for the 254.8km road race, which encompasses 14 laps of a hilly 18.2km course.Castroviejo and Markel Irizar have been selected for the 47.1km individual time trial on September 24.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

Wilshere predicts backlash from beaten Arsenal LONDON: Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has tipped his side to come back stronger after they were outplayed in a 2-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund in their opening Champions League game.Goals from Ciro Immobile and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Dortmund a winning start at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday and the German club's dominance was such that the margin of victory could have been even greater.It was a chastening entrance into the competition for Arsene Wenger's side, ...

South Africa turn to Burger for more bite CAPE TOWN: Former World Rugby Player of the Year Schalk Burger was recalled to South Africa's squad for the Rugby Championship tests against Australia and New Zealand in place of injured Francois Louw, the South African Rugby Union said on Wednesday.Burger has been playing in Japan, where he has a club match on Friday after which he will join up with the Springbok squad in Cape Town, preparing to face Australia on Sept. 27 and ...

Everton ready to embrace Europa League LONDON: Bucking the trend of most successful Premier League managers, Roberto Martinez will not complain if his Everton side face some fixture congestion this season - in fact the Spaniard is positively hoping for it.Everton are back in Europe for the first time in five years and begin their Europa League campaign with a tricky home game against Germany's VfL Wolfsburg on Thursday.That could be the first of many European games this season should Everton ...

Williams can catch Red Bull, says Massa SINGAPORE: Brazilian Felipe Massa feels he has turned a corner after his first podium of the season in Italy last time out and is cautiously confident his Williams team can catch Red Bull in the constructors' championship.Massa, who joined Williams at the start of the season after eight years with Ferrari, finished an emotional third at Monza at the home race for his former team which helped his new side move above his old colleagues ...

World's top coaches reject the idea of 2018 World Cup boycott SAINT PETERSBURG: Coaches from some of the world's top teams have played down chances of a sporting boycott of Vladimir Putin's showpiece 2018 football World Cup as a penalty for stoking the crisis in Ukraine.Leaders of the 28-nation European Union earlier this month asked the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, to draw up new sanctions in response to claims that Russia has sent troops into neighbouring Ukraine.A European source told AFP that the World ...

World Cup winner Cowan fills a hole at the Auckland Blues WELLINGTON: World Cup winning scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan will play for the Auckland Blues next season after signing a contract with the Super Rugby franchise.The 32-year-old halfback, who won 51 test caps for the All Blacks, returned to New Zealand earlier this year after two seasons in Britain. He will plug the hole at the Blues left by fellow World Cup winner Piri Weepu's departure for London Welsh in the English Premiership. "Jimmy brings competitiveness, plenty ...


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