Olympic24: Cummings claims brilliant Tour de France stage win, Murray books Wimbledon final berth
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Olympic24: Cummings claims brilliant Tour de France stage win, Murray books Wimbledon final berth

09 July 2016 / 09:06

Steve Cummings continued Britain’s fine Tour de France results this year as he won stage seven, while Andy Murray swept aside Tomas Berdych to reach the Wimbledon final. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours:

  • Steve Cummings notched up another British victory in this year’s Tour de France, winning stage seven by more than a minute
  • Andy Murray hoping to make it third time lucky in Grand Slam finals this year after reaching Wimbledon showdown with Milos Raonic
  • Four more medals for Brits in Amsterdam as Martyn Rooney successfully defended his European 400m title
  • Simon Amor selects GB squads for Exeter Sevens tournament this weekend with Rio selection on the horizon
  • World 800m bronze medallist Jenny Meadows called time on her athletics career after an injury in Amsterdam
  • James Myatt and Sam Curry both progress to the Senior European Championships Final in Sofia

Cummings surges to supreme Tour de France victory on stage seven

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Britain’s Steve Cummings secured a trademark victory on the Tour de France, as the veteran breakaway specialist won stage seven – the first in the Pyrenees of this year’s race – by more than a minute.

Daryl Impey and Daniel Navarro finished a minute and five second off the pace, with Vincenzo Nibali over two minutes back.

It was 35-year-old Cummings’ fourth win in an impressive season and his second career triumph on the Tour.

And the triumph means of the first seven stages of this year's Tour, four have been won by British riders, with Mark Cavendish claiming wins in three.

“Of all my victories, I think it's the best one,” said Cummings. “The Tour is the Tour, it's special.

“I had a different condition from last year as I started the Tour riding for Mark [Cavendish] who is such a winner and an inspiration.

“It's brilliant, it's fantastic. I wasn't confident in that group with Nibali and Navarro. I felt if I can get in front with a smaller number of riders, I'd have more chances of winning.”

Chris Froome and the other race favourites finished in a select group almost four and a half minutes down on Cummings.

Ruthless Murray books Wimbledon final date with rising star Raonic

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Cancel all plans for Sunday – Andy Murray is back in the Wimbledon final and this time he’s not playing with the weight of history on his shoulders, just the heavy burden of expectation.

Murray blitzed and bullied semi-final rival Tomas Berdych off court in brutal style to reach his third Wimbledon final, where he will face Milos Raonic. 

As statement of intents go, this was an ominous warning that Murray is in no mood to lose his third Slam final of the year, after defeats at the Australian and French Open.

Murray had beaten Berdych in their last four encounters but this was, in truth, a pretty one-sided affair as he progressed 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

"I'm pumped obviously," said Murray. "I feel pretty calm just now, maybe because of the way the match went.  It wasn't too stressful a match.  Maybe like the other night I was more relieved, you feel emotionally more drained after matches like that.

“Obviously to make a Wimbledon final is a good achievement and I've got one more to go on Sunday.  The older you get you never know how many chances you're going to get to play in Grand Slam finals. 

“But the older you get you're more experienced and it helps you deal with the nerves better. You learn from those matches for sure, those experiences in the past have helped me a lot, playing against some of the best players of all time.”

Meanwhile, Heather Watson and mixed doubles partner Henri Kontinen are through to the semi-finals after beating Scott Lipsky and Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-2. Read more here.

Rooney retains European title on strong night for Brits

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Martyn Rooney successfully defended his European 400m title in Amsterdam on a night in which Great Britain picked up four more medals in Amsterdam.

A day after Greg Rutherford and Dina Asher-Smith both finished top of the podium, Rooney made sure to do the same in the Netherlands as he produced a strong second 200m to cross the line first ahead of Czech Pavel Maslak in 45.29 seconds.

That took the 29-year-old’s tally of European medals to five – with three golds in total following his individual and relay success two years ago in Zurich.

Rooney finished outside the top two at last month’s British Championships but his performance will have given selectors food for thought with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games track and field squad set to be announced later this month.

“I like championships, so when it comes to championships this is where I peak and seem to do well,” he said.

”I’ve backed it up and fortunately a lot of other people have as well – a lot of other people have taken the opportunity to use this Europeans.

“A couple more athletes have come here and picked up medals and there will be more to come. It’s great for us, going to Olympics with confidence.” Read more here.

Amor seeing what players are made of ahead of Rio selection

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Great Britain rugby sevens coach Simon Amor is keen to see how his players cope under intense pressure as they look to stake a claim for Olympic selection at this weekend's Exeter Sevens competition.

This weekend's tournament is the second leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series, which also stops in Moscow and Gdansk.

Amor's 24-man squad has been pushed to the limit in pre-Rio training for more than six weeks, and split into two teams to enter last weekend's ‘Sevens in the City' competition in London, where GB Lions saw off the GB Royals 27-14 in a thrilling final match.

And if the mouth-watering prospect of another British showdown becomes a reality on Sunday, Amor will have the ideal opportunity to judge his troops against their direct competitors for a spot in the final 12-man squad on the flight to Brazil.

"The processes around selection mean that this Exeter tournament becomes even more important for everyone involved," said Amor.

"There is a lot of pressure on the guys heading into this weekend and it will be interesting to see how they all handle it but this pressure is great preparation for Rio. 

"Over the last six weeks they have gelled incredibly well as a group and created a very special and unique GB spirit.”

Meadows calls time on athletics career

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World 800m bronze medallist Jenny Meadows insists the time is right to pass on the baton to the younger generation after announcing her retirement from athletics.

Meadows had been aiming for a swansong Olympic Games appearance in Rio and headed to Amsterdam this week to prove her credentials to selectors at the European Championships.

But a hamstring injury suffered in the heats saw her miss out on the 800m final on Thursday, with the 35-year-old subsequently announcing her retirement.

Meadows, an Olympic semi-finalist at Beijing 2008, finished third at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009 before adding European bronze a year later. 

"It is time to pass over to the next generation," said Meadows. "I did think my career would either end here or in Rio in a few weeks' time.

"I've done this sport for 28 years, I've given my all and it's taken a lot from me.

"I remember being on the back straight with the Union Jack flag [after winning World Championship bronze in 2009] just thinking, 'I'm one of those people you see on TV'

"Athletics is a great sport. I'm not the tallest, but you should never be determined by your size, your shape, your background.”

Myatt and Curry qualify for Senior Modern Pentathlon European Championships Final

Britain’s James Myatt and Sam Curry both made it through to the Senior European Championships Final in Sofia, although Luke Tasker and Tom Toolis missed out.

Myatt and Curry, who competed alongside each other in the Men’s relay at the 2015 European Championships in Bath, finished the fencing salle in seventh and 17th respectively in a tightly matched group.

In the pool, a strong 2:05.61 swim from Curry lifted him to 13th ahead of the combined event, one place and three seconds ahead of Myatt after the Maidstone born athlete’s 2:11.53 swim.

Myatt then produced a fantastic combined event – the fastest of the group – to move up to fourth and comfortably secure a place for the final, while Curry’s strong run-shoot of 12:16.28 just about saw him into the final 36.

Meanwhile in the other group, Toolis’ overall score meant he agonisingly missed out on a place in the final by one position after being ranked 37th, but the Romford born athlete will be first reserve for today’s final.

Sportsbeat 2016

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