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Countdown to Rio: Summer sports week in review

April 6, 2014 23:29 pm

Lizzie Armitstead is proving something of a force this season after another podium finish at the women's Tour of Flanders.

The Olympic road race silver medallist consolidated her lead at the top of the World Cup standings with a second place finish behind teammate Ellen van Dijk.

Van Dijk played a key supporting role in Armitstead's win at last month's Ronde van Drenthe and the British cyclist was happy to repay the favour.

"Ellen worked hard for me in the previous races," she said. 

"That’s the beauty of this sport. We are a team. I was really emotional when she won.”

Jodie Stimpson was all smiles after winning a tough race in the opening triathlon of the World Series season.

Stimpson, runner-up to British team-mate Non Stanford in last season's campaign, was one of three British medallists in Auckland.

Former world champion Helen Jenkins, in her first major race since the 2012 Olympics, finished third while Olympic silver medallist Jonathan Brownlee was second, behind Javier Gomez, in the men's race.

“I’m so happy. I’ve been picking up the training really gradually and it’s such a great team around me, British Triathlon helping me get back so to be honest I didn’t expect to be on the podium today, but I’m so happy to be here,” said Jenkins.

"This is probably the toughest course I’ve ever ridden. Jodie did phenomenally, I just didn’t have the legs to go with her. I got a bit better as we went on and just tried to hang in there on the run.”

Four-time English champion Paul Drinkhall became the first British table tennis player to win an ITTF World Tour Open since Carl Prean in 1996.

“I’m feeling tired but feeling amazing, it’s a great achievement especially after the first match being a bit shaky," said Drinkhall, who was only seeded 23rd for the event. 

“It’s definitely up there with anything I’ve achieved in my career – my first senior title. Hopefully there will be more to come. 

"It’s a big year, with going for promotion to the top level in the World Team Championships and then the Commonwealth Games.”

British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith paid tribute to Andy Murray, after he put his body on the line in pursuit of success in Naples.

Murray lost a decisive singles rubber against Fabio Fognini as Italy fought back to win their quarter-final tie 3-2, denying GB their first semi-final appearance in 33 years.

And Smith admitted the demands of three games in three days took its toll on the Wimbledon champion, who is still recovering his form after back surgery in September.

"It's a tough ask for Andy to play so much tennis over the course of a few days, especially when he's coming in a little bit ill before the tie," said Smith.

"He's had a tough schedule and he's still coming back from his injury and operation. It's going to take time but with every passing week he just looks better and better."

England's women's sevens team finished fifth at the IRB Sevens World Series in Guangzhou, defeating France to win the plate final after a quarter-final defeat to Canada.

“Overall this was a pleasing way to finish the competition as our consistency of performance was good," said coach Simon Middleton.

“We lost to a very good Canada side in the quarter-finals and we competed right to the end. We showed real quality in elements of our play though we made a couple of errors that good sides like Canada will punish."

Giles Scott continued his unbeaten run as he defended his Finn class title at sailing's ISAF World Cup in Majorca.

The former world and European champion hasn't lost since he returned to Olympic sailing, after a spell racing in the America's Cup, last October.

And his Princess Sofia Trophy win secured a back-to-back World Cup victory, following success in Miami earlier this year.

Chloe Martin won her first World Cup medal in the Laser Radial fleet, Olympic silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark took third in the women's 470, Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth won bronze in the 49erFX women's skiff and European champions Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign took the same medal in the men's 49er.

British Olympic wrestler Olga Butkevych delivered on her pre-championships promise as she struck European wrestling bronze in Finland.

Butkevych, 28, won bronze at the event two years ago in Germany and will now look to this summer's Commonwealth Games, though her preferred weight category isn't on the schedule, so she will target the -58kg or -63kg divisions.

London 2012 Olympian Sally Conway was rewarded for silver medals in Dusseldorf and Samsun with selection on the British squad for this month's judo European Championships.

"I am excited about the Europeans and I am preparing to put in a good performance," said Conway.

"If I can do this I feel I can come away with a medal which I really want to achieve."

© Sportsbeat 2014