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Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher to retire from
football at end of season
Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher has announced that he is to retire from
football at the end of this season Page 2

Australian doping revelations are warning
to UK, says anti-doping head
The devastating report into doping in Australian sport has been
described as a serious warning to the UK Page 2

Premier League clubs face points penalty
under new spending rules
Clubs will be docked points if they fall foul of new financial control
measures designed to curb wage inflation when the new £5.5bn TV
deal kicks in Page 4

Portsmouth fans                              Lance Armstrong sued                         Flemenstar goes on              Viktor Fasth holds
boosted as Football                          for $12m by <br>SCA                          trial for Cheltenham            back Avalanche as
League rejects new                           Promotions Page 7                            Gold Cup at                     Anaheim Ducks surge
bid Page 5                                                                                Leopardstown Page 8             continues Page 10
                                             Henderson reveals
Sam Warburton will                           Simonsig will miss key                       Putin fires Olympic             Mark Cavendish
struggle to regain                           Cheltenham Festival                          official after publicly         wins again to line up
place if Wales win                           prep race Page 7                             ridiculing him Page 9           overall victory at Tour
without him Page 5                                                                                                        of Qatar Page 10 © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                          
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: PO Box 68164, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1P 2AP
Page 2 G24 Sport                                                                 Thursday February 7 2013               21:46 GMT

                                                                     breed and it’s been a privilege to play alongside, room with and
                                                                     be big mates with one of football’s real men. I doubt we have
Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher to retire                                heard the last of him. He has too much to offer the game to be
from football at end of season                                       away for long!”
                                                                        Jamie Redknapp, meanwhile, called Carragher an “icon of
• 35-year-old announces this season will be                          the Premier League”, telling Sky: “People always talk about you
his last                                                             being a long time retired, but Jamie must know it’s the right
                                                                     time to do it for his family and we have to respect that.
• ‘It has been a privilege to represent this
                                                                        “Jamie’s been thinking about this for a while now and his
great club’                                                          career and when is the right time to decide. The career that
Guardian staff                                                       he’s had, he’s an absolute icon of the Premier League and for
                                                                     Liverpool and they are going to miss him.
                                                                        “Only Jamie knows his body. He’s the only person who
                                                                     knows what it’s like day-in, day-out, how he recovers after a
                                                                     game. He’ll be looking at it and think the right time is the end of
                                                                     the season and then he will look at his options.
                                                                        “Maybe management, in the media – when he did the World
                                                                     Cup coverage he was exceptional. He’s a real student of the
                                                                     game and watches every single football match on television
                                                                     so that’s something he might want to do. He has many, many
                                                                        Redknapp also said Carragher’s calming influence and
                                                                     dedication would be sorely missed at Liverpool.
                                                                        “He’s worked so hard at his game and the extra training he
                                                                     did behind the scenes and in the gym. The young players now
Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher has announced he is to retire at
                                                                     look at all the trimmings but he is a good person to analyse for
the end of the season. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA
                                                                     the dedication he’s put in and the rewards he’s got now.
Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher has announced that he is to retire at       “He won’t want any fuss whatsoever, that’s the last thing he
the end of the season.                                               likes. Brendan Rodgers will know he will get him 100% until the
    The 35-year-old, who made his debut in January 1997 after        end of the season.”
rising through the Anfield youth system, has made more than
700 senior appearances for the club.
    The former England international, who has won honours            Australian doping revelations are
including the Champions League and the FA Cup, is second only
                                                                     warning to UK, says anti-doping head
behind Ian Callaghan in Liverpool’s all-time appearance table.
    Carragher confirmed he will continue until the end of the
season and will make no further comment on his future until          • Australian sport in turmoil after doping
then.                                                                revelations
    He told the club’s website: “I’m making this announcement        • Findings represent ‘blackest day in
now because I don’t want the manager or the club to be               Australian sport’
answering questions on my future when I’ve already decided
                                                                     • Pdf: The Australian Crime Commission
what I am going to do.
    “I will be fully committed between now and the end of the
                                                                     report in full
season to doing the very best for Liverpool, as I have done my       Press Association
entire career since joining aged just nine years old.
                                                                     Andy Parkinson, the chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, has
    “It has been a privilege and an honour to represent this great
                                                                     warned the UK is “vulnerable to exactly the kind of threats”
club for as long as I have and I am immensely proud to have
                                                                     highlighted in an astonishing report into widespread drug use
done so and thankful for all the support I have had. There are
                                                                     and match-fixing in Australian sport.
many memories I want to share and people to thank, but now is
                                                                        A 12-month Australian Crime Commission investigation
not the time for that.
                                                                     revealed the increasing use of performance-enhancing drugs
    “I won’t be making any further comment on this decision
                                                                     across multiple codes in the country and highlighted links with
until the end of the season; all our focus and concentration
                                                                     organised crime. The findings have been greeted with dismay
should be on achieving the best possible finish in the league
                                                                     in Australia, on what has been described as “the blackest day in
this season and trying to win the last remaining trophy we are
                                                                     Australian sport”.
competing in.”
                                                                        Parkinson stressed that there should be no complacency in
    Robbie Fowler, who had two spells at Liverpool before
                                                                     the UK over the battle against such issues.
retiring last year, responded to Carragher’s retirement on
                                                                        “This report reinforces a number of disturbing facts.” he
Twitter , writing: “Sorry to hear the news
                                                                     said. “It is vital that independent anti-doping organisations and
on carra, his quotes regarding retirement tell you everything
                                                                     professional sports administrators in particular work together
about the man… An absolute legend of a player.”
                                                                     to combat any potential use of performance-enhancing
    Michael Owen also tweeted his tribute
                                                                     substances, developing effective prevention programmes to
, writing: “What a servant Carra has been for Liverpool. A rare © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                              
Page  G24 Sport                                                                 Thursday February 7 2013                21:46 GMT

ensure a clean sport culture among players.                          drips, a variety of substances.
    “As has been said before by the World Anti-Doping Agency             “It’s cheating but it’s worse than that, it’s cheating with the
and UK Anti-Doping, there are tangible links between                 help of criminals.”
performance-enhancing drugs and the criminal underworld.                 The heads of the major sporting bodies were at the
In the UK, we work closely with law enforcement agencies to          announcement and a statement from their umbrella
try to tackle doping at its source, targeting those supplying and    organisation, COMPPS, outlined the collective determination
administering performance-enhancing substances.                      to tackle the issue. “These are serious matters that require
    “To do this effectively, we rely on information provided by      immediate action and the development of a longer-term plan,”
those within sport. The UK is vulnerable to exactly the kind of      read the COMPPS statement.
threats highlighted in this report.”                                     “The integrity of sport as a whole, and our specific codes, is
    The ACC report found that criminal groups were involved in       paramount. We have commenced taking action and will work
the distribution of banned drugs, including growth hormone           closely with the government on a longer-term plan.”
stimulating substances called peptides, and also claimed                 The Cricket Australia head James Sutherland and his
players were not always aware of what they were taking.              Football Federation Australia counterpart David Gallop said
    Their report read: “The ACC has identified specific high-        their sports were not implicated in the report. But the National
performance staff, sports scientists and coaches within              Rugby League head David Smith revealed players and clubs
some codes who have condoned and/or orchestrated the                 from his code were being investigated.
administration of prohibited substances, and substances not              “Information has come forward for NRL [National Rugby
yet approved for human consumption, to players.                      League] specifically that affects more than one player and more
    “In some cases, peptides and other substances were               than one club,” Smith said.
administered to players without them understanding the                   A former head of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping
nature of the substances, and without the knowledge of the           Authority, Richard Ings, was particularly damning, saying:
team doctor or club medical staff.                                   “This is not a black day in Australian sport, this is the blackest
    “There are clear parallels between what has been discovered      day in Australian sport.”
in Australia and the investigation into Lance Armstrong,
which underlines the transnational threat posed by doping to
professional sport, both from a ‘fair play’ perspective and as a
broader integrity issue.
    “The ACC has demonstrated through this project that the
threat posed by the PIEDs (performance and image enhancing
drugs) market and related criminal activities to the integrity of
sport in Australia, and organised crime attempts to infiltrate the
professional sports sector in this country, exhibits many of the
characteristics identified in the investigation of Armstrong’s
activities in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s. The difference is that
the Australian threat is current, crosses sporting codes and is
    John Fahey, an Australian who is head of the World Anti-
Doping Agency, suggested that if cheating on this scale could

happen in a country where sport is so ingrained in the psyche,
then it should alert other nations.
    “It tells us how wide, how deep this problem is,” he told
ABC. “In a country that prides itself in fair play, if we’ve got a
problem of the nature we’ve heard of, what does it mean for the
rest of the world?
    “I don’t blame Australia. I’m disappointed it happens to be
my country, at the same time I’m confident there are enough
                                                                       From Beirut to Big Brother,
good people to make sure that something is done about it.              Murdoch to Millionaire,
    “It does give the message that this problem of doping in
sport is alive and well, it hasn’t gone away and we have to renew
                                                                       discuss the hot topics in the
our efforts and increase our resources.”                               media on not one, but two blogs
    Legal constraints prevented the identification of any              Organ Grinder and Greenslade
particular sport, teams or athletes, but Australia’s minister for
justice, Jason Clare, emphasised that no code was immune.    
“The findings are shocking and will disgust Australian sports          organgrinder/
fans,” said Clare.
    “Multiple athletes from a number of clubs in major       
Australian sporting codes are suspected of currently using             greenslade/
or having previously used peptides, potentially constituting
anti-doping rule violations. Officials from clubs have also been
identified as administering, via injections and intravenous © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                              
Page 4 G24 Sport                                                                Thursday February 7 2013               21:46 GMT

                                                                     millions at it in a very short period of time. I’m not criticising
                                                                     that; I’ve been supportive of them, supportive of what they
Premier League clubs face points                                     have done to make it a more competitive league.”
penalty under new spending rules                                        But Scudamore said that if new owners with deep pockets
                                                                     wanted to come into the league in the future “it’s going to have
• Premier League seeks to control wages                              to be done in a slightly longer-term way without the huge losses
after new TV deal                                                    being made”.
                                                                        Four clubs – Chelsea, Manchester City, Aston Villa and
• Clubs will be limited to £105m losses over
                                                                     Liverpool – would have fallen foul of the rules if they had been
three seasons                                                        in place between 2008 and 2011. Abramovich has poured £1bn
Owen Gibson                                                          into the London club since he bought it a decade ago and won
                                                                     his first Premier League title in his second season as owner.
                                                                        The Premier League claimed the rules would allow smaller
                                                                     and newly promoted clubs to invest sufficiently to challenge
                                                                     for Europe, while also promoting greater sustainability and
                                                                     controlling wage inflation.
                                                                        But Scudamore made it clear any clubs that breached
                                                                     the limit could expect tough sanctions, including points
                                                                     deductions. At present, any club entering administration is
                                                                     docked nine points.
                                                                        Owners of clubs making a loss will be required to cover
                                                                     any deficit and guarantee their funding for the three years
                                                                     that follow, which Scudamore said was a major step forward.
                                                                     Anyone buying the club would have take on those guarantees.
                                                                        “From a fairly low threshold of financial regulation we have
Richard Scudamore said the new rules would make it easier
                                                                     had a journey,” he said. “This is a leap but an extension of
for smaller clubs to invest enough to challenge for Europe.
                                                                     where we were heading anyway. This is a fairly decent leap into
Photograph: Tom Jenkins
                                                                     the tightening up, particularly the future guarantees.”
Premier League clubs will be docked points if they fail to              Despite the unprecedented riches that have flowed into the
comply with new financial control measures designed to curb          coffers of top-flight clubs during the Premier League era, clubs
rampant wage inflation and stem losses when their new £5.5bn         made losses of £361m last year despite record income of £2.3bn.
TV deal kicks in next season.                                           Scudamore said that such was the uplift in TV revenue that
    The league’s chief executive, Richard Scudamore, claimed         clubs would not be forced to spend less but that the measures
that the measures, which will curb wage bill increases in the        would put the brakes on further inflation. “We shouldn’t be
short term and force clubs to cut losses in the long term, would     worried about the competitiveness of the league in terms of our
bring to an end the era of rampant short-term spending and           ability to attract players,” he said.
make clubs more stable.                                                 The development of the new controls has been contentious.
    From 2013-14 onwards, clubs will be limited to losses of         The so-called “gang of four” – Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur,
£105m over three seasons based on their audited accounts. As         Manchester United and Liverpool – had strongly argued that the
with Uefa’s stricter financial fair play rules, money invested in    Premier League should adopt the same spending limits as Uefa.
youth development and infrastructure can be discounted from             The top clubs in the Premier League have to comply with the
the calculations.                                                    Uefa rules from this season, which limit losses to €45m over
    Under the complex new rules, which have been intensely           a three-year period and will be assessed for the first time next
debated around the Premier League boardroom table since              spring.
the summer, when it became clear that they were on course               But others argued that the limits should be set higher to
to share a £5.5bn TV income bonanza, clubs with a wage bill in       allow sustainable spending by smaller clubs with ambitions to
excess of £52m will be able to increase it by only £4m per year      challenge for Europe.
from 2013-14.                                                           Six clubs – Manchester City, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion,
    However, further increases to the wage bill are permissible in   Southampton, Swansea and Villa – are believed to have voted
line with any uplift in a club’s commercial or match-day income      against any restrictions for a range of reasons and Reading to
– the curbs apply only to the central TV money distributed by        have abstained, so the vote narrowly got the necessary two-
the league. On the latest available figures, only seven clubs        thirds constitutional majority.
would be under the £52m cap.                                            Fulham want their owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, who recently
    In future, Scudamore said, the rules would ensure that no        converted his loans to equity to leave the club debt-free, to be
other owner would be able to come into English football and          able to continue to pour money into the club.
invest hundreds of millions of pounds overnight to compete for          West Bromwich Albion, on the other hand, believe that they
the title, as first Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and then Sheikh      are able to continue to run the club sustainably without the
Mansour at Manchester City have done.                                need for new regulation and that the new rules will harm their
    “A new owner or even an existing owner with a change in          competitive advantage.
attitude or a change in fortunes can invest proportionally a            The sports minister, Hugh Robertson, said the new
decent amount of money to improve their club,” he said. “But         regulations were a “welcome and positive move”.
what they aren’t going to be doing is throwing hundreds of © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                            
Page  G24 Sport                                                                  Thursday February 7 2013              21:46 GMT

                                                                          The emergence of Harris’s alternative bid meant Birch could
                                                                      no longer argue in court there were no offers other than the
Portsmouth fans boosted as Football                                   trust’s, and PKF sources also said Harris’s terms promised more
League rejects new bid                                                money for creditors.
                                                                          Harris was proposing to buy the club for a similar figure,
• Keith Harris denied amid fears of                                  £700,000, then initially have Portsmouth rent the ground,
prolonging administration                                             from Portpin, which would accept owning Fratton Park in
                                                                      return for cancelling the £18.6m owed to it. Harris emphasised
• League ‘focused’ on seeing through
                                                                      his intention was to buy the ground soon after, but the PST
Portsmouth fans trust bid                                             immediately raised alarms about the club being separated from
David Conn                                                            its ground and becoming a tenant of Chainrai’s.
                                                                          The trust is committed to owning the club as a mutual
                                                                      democratic trust, which has been formed according to the rules
                                                                      and principles of Supporters Direct, the national body which
                                                                      promotes fans’ involvement in clubs.
                                                                          Ashley Brown, the PST chairman, said: “We welcome the
                                                                      Football League’s stance. We have always said we are the right
                                                                      owners for our football club and clearly the Football League
                                                                      believe that too. We now call on Portpin to see sense and accept
                                                                      our offer without the need for a court case. We are looking
                                                                      forward to taking over our club, restoring it to its place in the
                                                                      community, and running it owned by and in the interests of its

The Football League has confirmed it will not consider any            Sam Warburton will struggle to regain
new bids for Portsmouth. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA
                                                                      place if Wales win without him
A dramatic day that could be decisive for the future of stricken
Portsmouth concluded with the Football League rejecting a new
offer to buy the club out of administration by the investment         • Shoulder injury rules captain of out the
banker Keith Harris. That proposal had looked likely to defeat        clash with France
the bid by the Pompey Supporters Trust, which had worked for          • Justin Tipuric tipped to shine in
months to buy the club.                                               Warburton’s absence
    The league board, meeting in London, said it is “focused
on a successful transfer” of the club to the PST, and refused         Paul Rees
to consider Harris’s bid because it could mean Portsmouth’s
administration dragging on past the end of this season.
    “Given that the Football League’s insolvency policy
prohibits a club from beginning two consecutive seasons in
administration,” the league said, “the board took the view that
any change of preferred bidder at such a late stage would only
create further uncertainty, and was not in the wider interests of
the league and its member clubs.
    “Therefore, the league has informed the administrator that
it will not currently consider transferring the club’s share in the
Football League to a new bidder.”
    The trust was delighted because it had seemed earlier that
the administrator, Trevor Birch of accountants PKF, would
favour Harris’s bid, which was backed financially by Pascal           Sam Warburton was part of a poor Welsh first-half
Najadi, an investment banker in Malaysia, and Alan Hitchins,          performance against Ireland last weekend. Photograph: David
described as “a professional investor”.                               Davies/PA
    Birch looked likely to approve Harris’s bid because Harris
                                                                      Little has gone right for Sam Warburton since he was presented
had secured the agreement of Balram Chainrai, the Hong
                                                                      with the Six Nations trophy last March and a player who was the
Kong-based previous owner of Portsmouth, whose company,
                                                                      overwhelming favourite just 10 months ago to lead the Lions in
Portpin, still has a mortgage over the club and Fratton Park.
                                                                      Australia this summer will no longer be an automatic selection
The PST bid offers around £700,000 to buy the club and £3m for
                                                                      for Wales if, in his absence, they end an eight-match losing
Fratton Park, which Chainrai was refusing to accept in return
                                                                      streak and defeat France on Saturday.
for releasing his security.
                                                                         Wales had intended to move Warburton from openside
    So Birch has been pursuing court action, under a rarely-used
                                                                      flanker to the blindside to accommodate the in-form Justin
provision of insolvency law, to force Chainrai to accept the
                                                                      Tipuric but their captain pulled out of the Paris side hours
trust’s offer for Fratton Park, arguing that otherwise the club
                                                                      before it was officially announced on Thursday, having failed to
would be forced into liquidation. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page 6 G24 Sport                                                                Thursday February 7 2013               21:46 GMT

recover from a shoulder injury.                                     over temporarily from Warren Gatland last summer, needs his
    Wales had not said in the week that Warburton was a doubt,      generals to show leadership and tactical acumen.
partly because they expected him to recover, but also because           “We were not good enough in the first half last week,” said
his place in the side has become the subject of scrutiny. He        Howley. “We have not started well for the last 12 months and
has been replaced as a flanker and as a captain by Ryan Jones,      must be the best side at coming back after half-time. There is
whose own fitness was only confirmed on Thursday having             pressure on the players and the coaches. That is the nature of
spent two days in isolation after picking up a sickness bug.        international rugby. We have lost eight in a row, but the beauty
    Jones, who missed the defeat to Ireland          of the Six Nations is that you take each match in isolation; we
because of a thumb injury, will lead Wales for a record 30th        know the challenge we face.”
time. A victory at the Stade de France, where Wales have not        France v Wales, Stade de France, 4pm GMT Saturday
won since 2005, would give the Wales interim head coach,            9 February
Robert Howley, a selection problem when Warburton is fit               France Y Huget (Toulouse); W Fofana (Clermont Auvergne),
again, especially with Dan Lydiate, who broke his ankle last        M Mermoz (Toulon), M Bastareaud (Toulon), B Fall (Racing
September, expected to return next month.                           Metro); F Michalak (Toulon), M Machenaud (Racing Métro);
    Howley said that Warburton, who only started three matches      Y Forestier (Castres), D Szarzewski (Racing Métro), N Mas
in last year’s Six Nations, and twice failed to reappear for the    (Perpignan), J Suta (Toulon), Y Maestri (Toulouse), F Ouedraogo
second half, would have led the side had he been fit, but his       (Montpellier), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), L Picamoles
absence presents Tipuric with the opportunity to obstruct his       (Toulouse). Replacements B Kayser (Clermont Auvergne), V
captain’s return.                                                   Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), L Ducalon (Castres), R Taofifenua
    “That is too far down the line to be honest,” said Tipuric      (Perpignan), D Chouly (Clermont Auvergne), M Parra (Clermont
when asked if he would expect to keep his place if he performed     Auvergne), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), F Fritz (Toulouse).
strongly in Paris. “I am the kind of person who likes to keep          Wales L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff
his head down. If I do not get it right on Saturday, I would not    Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North
expect to stay in the side, but it is about the team getting the    (Scarlets); D Biggar (Ospreys), M Phillips (Bayonne); G Jenkins
win.”                                                               (Toulon), R Hibbard (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), A Coombs
    Warburton’s withdrawal meant that three changes were            (Newport Gwent Dragons), I Evans (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys,
made from the side that started so slowly against Ireland;          capt), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
the two in the back row supplemented by Richard Hibbard’s           Replacements K Owens (Scarlets), P James (Bath), C Mitchell
inclusion at hooker at the expense of Matthew Rees, who             (Exeter), L Reed (Cardiff Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), L Williams
dropped out of the 23. There was an enforced change on the          (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets).
bench when the second-row Olly Kohn tweaked his hamstring
in training on Thursday morning and Lou Reed was summoned.
    “We talked to the players about resisting wholesale
changes,” Howley said. “There was enough in our performance
against Ireland at the end of the first half and throughout the
second to show that we had the talent and that we could be
good technically and tactically.
    “I was frustrated and disappointed on Saturday night.
If we had started as we had finished, it would have been a
totally fearless week. It is all or nothing. There has been the
expected reaction from the players and now it is about getting
the mindset right. The key to me this week has been unity: the
media like to split the coaches and players, but to succeed in
sport you have to have trust and that is my focus.”

    Ryan Jones is one of three survivors from the last Wales team
to win at the Stade de France, on the way to the 2005 grand
slam. The others are to be found in the front row, the props
Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins. Like Warburton, the 95-cap
Jenkins has gone in less than a year from being indispensable to
one whose position is being questioned.
    He bristled when asked whether he agreed with pundits             The Guardian digital edition
that his form had suffered since he joined Toulon last summer,        Read the Guardian on the web
having spent most of the season on the bench. “Who is saying
that?” he asked. “I was involved in the first 10 games of the         exactly the way it was printed.
season and I have played three weeks in a row. I am match fit         With award-winning Guardian
and ready.”
    Jenkins has been around long enough to be able to treat           photography accessible from
success and failure with equanimity, but as one of five players       anywhere in the world.
to have reached a half-century of caps (including the centre
Jamie Roberts, who will win his 50th on Saturday) Howley,
who has yet to taste success against a Test nation since taking © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                            
Page  G24 Sport                                                                Thursday February 7 2013             21:46 GMT

Lance Armstrong sued for $12m by SCA                                Henderson reveals Simonsig will miss
Promotions                                                          key Cheltenham Festival prep race

Disgraced cycling champion sued to repay                            • Arkle Trophy favourite misses Newbury
bonuses paid for winning Tour de France                             outing
that were subject of 2005 settlement                                • Chaser not 100% says Lambourn trainer
Associated Press in Austin, Texas                                   Greg Wood

Lance Armstrong faces a lawsuit over $12m in bonuses that           The trainer Nicky Henderson said a routine trachea wash
were paid for his Tour de France victories. Photograph: Lucas       showed Simonsig could be harbouring an infection.
Jackson/Reuters                                                     Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian/Tom Jenkins
A Dallas promotions company is suing Lance Armstrong to             Simonsig, the hot favourite for the Arkle Trophy at next
repay $12m in bonuses that it paid him for winning the Tour de      month’s Cheltenham Festival, will miss his intended prep race
France. Armstrong, who now admits that he used performance-         in the Betfair Super Saturday Chase at Newbury this weekend
enhancing drugs, has been stripped of his seven victories in the    after a routine trachea wash on Thursday evening showed that
race.                                                               he could be harbouring an infection.
   SCA Promotions filed its lawsuit Thursday, in Dallas district        Saturday’s race, better known as the Game Spirit Chase,
court. The company tried to withhold the money in 2005              was won by Sprinter Sacre, one of his stablemates at the Nicky
because of doping allegations but ultimately settled with           Henderson yard in Lambourn, on the way to an easy victory in
Armstrong in arbitration. Now SCA says Armstrong’s admission        the Arkle last season. It would have been Simonsig’s first race
proves a conspiracy to cheat and defraud the company into           against senior steeplechasers, and he was quoted at short odds
paying him millions.                                                for victory earlier in the week.
   On Wednesday, SCA’s lawyer, Jeffrey Tillotson, told CNN:             Henderson told the Racing Post on Thursdayevening that
“We made our demand for the return of the money we paid             the result of Simonsig’s trachea wash was “only 95%, [and] we’d
him for winning the Tour de France races where the titles were      only run if it was 100%”. As a result, he will now be giving a
stripped. Mr Armstrong and his legal team have not complied         week to regain full fitness before Henderson decides whether
with that demand.                                                   it will be possible to run Simonsig again before the Arkle on 12
   “But both he and his lawyers almost taunted us and said if       March, the opening day of the Festival meeting.
we are ever stripped of those titles, we will give you the money        If Simonsig does not run again before Cheltenham, he will
back. We will simply ask him to finally live up to his word and     go to post for the two-mile novice championship on the back
give that money back.”                                              of just two starts over fences, both of which were victories in
   The lawsuit also targets Armstrong’s agent, Bill Stapleton, as   which he has faced only four opponents. His most recent win
a defendant.Armstrong’s attorney did not immediately return a       came in the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novice Chase at Kempton
message.                                                            on 27 December.
   It has also been reported that Armstrong could face criminal         Simonsig is top-priced at 5-6 for the Arkle Trophy, ahead of
charges in the US .                                  Overturn, from Donald McCain’s stable in Cheshire, on 4-1.
                                                                        Peter Casey, the trainer of Flemenstar, said on Thursday that
                                                                    his chaser will not wear ear plugs in the Hennessy Gold Cup at
                                                                    Leopardstown on Saturday, contrary to some reports earlier in
                                                                    the week. “That’s all a mistake,” Casey said. “We were thinking
                                                                    about it, but that’s all gone now, no earplugs.”
                                                                        Flemenstar is the narrow favourite for Saturday’s race ahead
                                                                    of Sir Des Champs, the winner of last season’s Jewson Novice
                                                                    Chase at the Festival. The outcome is likely to decide whether
                                                                    he runs in the Gold Cup or the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham
                                                                    next month, although Casey still believes he would be a worthy © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                           
Page  G24 Sport                                                                 Thursday February 7 2013                21:46 GMT

opponent for Sprinter Sacre in the Queen Mother Champion
    “I’d love to be going for the Queen Mother [Champion Chase]
                                                                     Flemenstar goes on trial for Cheltenham
to tell you the truth,” Casey said, “and taking on Sprinter Sacre.   Gold Cup at Leopardstown
He has plenty of speed over two miles [the Champion Chase
trip] and over two and a half [Ryanair] and he’s a good jumper.      • Saturday’s performance will decide
We’ll have to wait and see, and then we’ll know after Saturday.      horse’s Festival target
    “It was probably us that got him beaten [on his first try
                                                                     • Trainer reveals runner will not wear ear
at three miles in the Lexus Chase last time]. We changed the
tactics with him to see if he’d get the three miles, and looking
                                                                     plugs this weekend
at the race, you’d say that he didn’t get it, but it’s going to be   Greg Wood
different this Saturday, and we’d hope that it will get it this
    “I don’t know how many runners there will be, but we fancy
him, anyway. He has to learn to get home over the three miles,
that’s all that we want.”
    One horse who could well be running on the final day of the
Festival is Chris Pea Green, who took a strongly-run renewal of
the Chatteris Fen Trophy by seven lengths at Huntingdon on
Thursday. Gary Moore’s juvenile is now top-priced at 33-1 for
the Triumph Hurdle next month.
    “He won a bumper here that I thought was a donkey race,
then I should never have run him [in a bumper] on the all-
weather,” Moore said. “I was amazed how easily he won at
Lingfield last time, but I thought the race was no good.”
                                                                     Flemenstar faces fellow Cheltenham Festival hope Sir Des
                                                                     Champs in the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on
                                                                     Saturday. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA
                                                                     The question for many backers ahead of the Hennessy Gold
                                                                     Cup at Leopardstown on Saturday is whether it will steer
                                                                     Flemenstar, the favourite, towards the Gold Cup or the Ryanair
                                                                     Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Yet things are
                                                                     rarely straightforward where Peter Casey, the chaser’s trainer,
                                                                     is concerned. “I’d love to be going for the Queen Mother
                                                                     [Champion Chase] to tell you the truth,” he said on Thursday,
                                                                     “and taking on Sprinter Sacre.”
                                                                         Casey concedes that it remains unlikely, this season at
                                                                     least, as hope remains strong that Flemenstar will win well
                                                                     on Saturday on the way to a crack at the Gold Cup. The same
                                                                     ambition is shared by much of Ireland, which has not celebrated
                                                                     a winner in the race since 2006, and the Hennessy should

                                                                     determine whether the Irish have a realistic chance to end their
                                                                     losing streak this year.
                                                                         Just six runners are expected to go to post, with Flemenstar
                                                                     likely to start as the narrow favourite ahead of Sir Des Champs,
                                                                     the winner of the Jewson Novice Chase at Cheltenham last
                                                                     season. Sir Des Champs has finished behind Flemenstar in his
  Fantasy League Classic                                             only two starts this season, however, and it is Casey’s horse that

  Manage a squad of 16 players                                       remains the more exciting prospect if he can prove his stamina
                                                                     at three miles.
  and a budget of £75 million.                                           He appeared to be doing so in the Lexus Chase at Christmas,

  £75,000 worth of prizes to be                                      when he travelled like the best horse in the race until halfway
                                                                     down the home straight and faded abruptly into third place
  won in weekly, monthly and                                         behind Tidal Bay. Casey, though, feels that he deserves another
  overall competitions. Beat your                                    chance at the trip.
                                                                         “It was probably us that got him beaten,” the trainer says.
  nearest and dearest in a friends                                   “We changed the tactics with him to see if he’d get the three
  league.                                                            miles, and looking at that, you’d say that he didn’t get it, but it’s
                                                                     going to be different this Saturday, and we’d hope that it will get                                       it this time.
                                                                         “I don’t know how many runners there will be, but we fancy
                                                                     him, anyway. He has to learn to get home over the three miles, © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                               
Page  G24 Sport                                                                   Thursday February 7 2013               21:46 GMT

that’s all that we want.”
    Contrary to some reports earlier in the week, Flemenstar
will not wear ear plugs in Saturday’s race in an attempt to keep
                                                                       Putin fires Olympic official after
him relaxed in the early stages. “That’s all a mistake. We were        publicly ridiculing him
thinking about it, but that’s all gone now, no earplugs.” And if
Flemenstar justifies his position as favourite, it will be difficult   Humiliation of Akhmed Bilalov stamped
to resist the pull of he Gold Cup.                                     Putin’s authority over 2014 Sochi Games
    “I suppose so,” Casey says, “though there’s people telling me
                                                                       and underlined importance he gives it
that the last few Irish horses [to win the Gold Cup] haven’t won
a race after, because it’s very hard on them. If he’s beaten on        Reuters in Sochi
Saturday, then he has plenty of speed over two miles and two-
and-a-half miles, and he’s a good jumper. We’ll have to wait and
see, and then we’ll know after Saturday.”
    One horse who could well be running on the final day of the
Festival is Chris Pea Green, who took a strongly run renewal
of the Chatteris Fen Trophy by seven lengths at Huntingdon .
Gary Moore’s juvenile is now top-priced at 33-1 for the Triumph
Hurdle next month.
    “He won a bumper here that I thought was a donkey race,
then I should never have run him [in a bumper] on the all-
weather,” Moore said. “I was amazed how easily he won at
Lingfield last time, but I thought the race was no good. I was
worried about his jumping on better ground here, but he has
gone and made the biggest idiot ever out of me. He’s entered
                                                                       Vladimir Putin looks unimpressed as he visits the Ice Cube
[for the Triumph] and the owners would love to go. Personally,
                                                                       curling centre to be used in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
I’d rather go to Liverpool [in April].”
                                                                       Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/REUTERS
                                                                       Vladimir Putin has fired a top Russian Olympic official after
                                                                       publicly ridiculing him on a visit to facilities being built
                                                                       for a winter Olympics dogged by reports of corruption and
                                                                       construction delays.
                                                                           The humiliation of Akhmed Bilalov, 42, stamped the
                                                                       president’s authority over the 2014 Sochi Games and
                                                                       underlined the importance he attaches to the global event he
                                                                       hopes will show how far Russia has come since the Soviet Union
                                                                       collapsed in 1991.
                                                                           In a vintage performance, reminiscent of an all-powerful tsar
                                                                       sweeping through town in imperial times, Putin became angry
                                                                       when he heard of the rising costs and construction delays at the
                                                                       ski-jump complex Bilalov was involved in.
                                                                           Unsmiling and sarcastic, Putin unceremoniously scolded
                                                                       Bilalov in front of television cameras at the Black Sea resort of
                                                                       Sochi, then sacked him as vice-president of Russia’s Olympic

                                                                           “How is it possible that the vice-president of the Olympic
                                                                       committee is delaying development?” Putin said after touring
                                                                       Sochi, which has become a huge construction site with the
                                                                       concrete carcasses of unfinished buildings.
                                                                           With Bilalov squirming in the background, he added: “Well
                                                                       done. You are really working well.”
  Are you getting the best deal on                                         Bilalov’s dismissal overshadowed a day of festivities as
                                                                       Russia unveiled huge diamond-shaped clocks in Moscow, Sochi
  your mortgage?                                                       and six other cities counting down the days, hours, minutes and
  Compare over 8500 mortgages                                          seconds to the opening of the Games in one year.

  online to find the best deal for                                         The deputy prime minister, Dmitry Kozak, made clear
                                                                       Bilalov was also likely to lose his job on the board of the Resorts
  you.                                                                 of the North Caucasus, a state firm created to develop luxury                                                resorts.
                                                                           “People who do not fulfil their obligations on such a scale
  compareandbuy                                                        cannot lead the Olympic movement in our country,” Kozak told
                                                                       reporters in Sochi, a popular tourist destination for Russians in
                                                                       summer and winter.In Sochi, the din of the heavy trucks and © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                               
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                               Thursday February 7 2013               21:46 GMT

diggers did not stop as the day’s countdown festivities began.      over the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. The win moved the Bruins
Large areas are fenced off in the city centre and many of the       into sole possession of first place in the Northeast Division and
roads are closed.                                                   kept Montreal from taking over the division lead. PK Subban
   The ski resort of Krasnaya Polyana, which looks down on          scored his first of the season on a second period power play for
Sochi, is still a muddle of fences, cranes, trucks and unfinished   Montreal, whose five-game home winning streak ended.
buildings. There is little snow but plenty of mud.                      At Edmonton, Alberta, Jaromir Jagr scored in overtime to
   Putin had warned officials on Wednesday not to let               lift the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 victory over the injury-riddled
corruption push up the costs of the Games, already expected to      Edmonton Oilers for their first winning streak of the season.
reach $50bn, or five times more than the initial price tag. This    Jagr beat Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk 1:46 into the extra period
would make them the costliest Games so far.                         with a high wrist shot for his third goal of the season. Jamie
   The Olympics are a priority for Putin in his third term as       Benn and Derek Roy scored in regulation for the Stars, who
president, a chance to show Russia is a modern democracy            have now won two in a row. Ales Hemsky and Justin Schultz
capable of organising global events, 13 years after he rose to      scored for the Oilers.
   “The main thing is that no one steals anything, so there are
no unexplained increases in costs,” he said on Wednesday as he      Mark Cavendish wins again to line up
went rapidly from one venue to another.                             overall victory at Tour of Qatar
   Russia has been trying to shed its reputation for corruption,
which has long put off foreign investors. But fears of foul play
prompted then-president, Dmitry Medvedev, to order an
                                                                    • Cavendish wins third successive stage to
investigation in 2010 into a senior Kremlin official accused of     build 15-second lead
extorting bribes over Games construction work.                      • Manxman hails Omega Pharma-
                                                                    QuickStep sprint train
Viktor Fasth holds back Avalanche as                                James Callow

Anaheim Ducks surge continues

• Goalie makes 31 shots for first NHL
shutout in 3-0 victory
• Five things we learned in the NHL this
Associated Press

                                                                    Mark Cavendish, right, sprints to victory on stage five of the
                                                                    2013 Tour of Qatar. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
                                                                    Mark Cavendish celebrated victory at the Tour of Qatar for a
                                                                    third successive day to build his overall lead to 15 seconds and
                                                                    all but secure the highest-profile stage-race victory of his career
                                                                    with one stage remaining.
                                                                        The Manxman’s win on the 154km fifth stage from Al Zubara
                                                                    Fort to Madinat Al Shamal, where he benefited from a masterful
                                                                    Omega Pharma-QuickStep lead-out train, again justified his off-
Patrick Bordeleau of the Colorado Avalanche lands a punch           season move from Team Sky.
on Brad Staubitz of the Anaheim Ducks. Photograph: Doug                 “The team did this after riding for me the whole day,”
Pensinger/Getty Images                                              Cavendish said of the great leadout work by his team-mates.
Viktor Fasth stopped 31 shots for his first NHL shutout and         “The last two days of course we wanted the big commitment,
Francois Beauchemin scored in his 500th career game as the          but we really got out the unit today. We just rode incredible as a
surging Anaheim Ducks downed the Colorado Avalanche 3-0             unit.”
on Wednesday.                                                           “We knew if we got through today it would be easy
   Sheldon Souray and Saku Koivu each added a goal and an           tomorrow. The last two days of course we wanted the big
assist for the Ducks, who won their fourth straight game. Fasth     commitment, but we really got out the [lead-out] unit today.
stymied the struggling Avalanche with one sprawling save after      We just rode incredible as a unit.”
another to help Anaheim start a six-game road swing on a good           Cavendish, who claimed a 10-second time bonus with
note.                                                               victory and also gained time by winning an intermediate sprint,
   Linemates Tyler Seguin and David Krejci scored in the            is immediately followed in the general classification by five
opening 2:05 of the third period to lift to the Boston Bruins       BMC Racing riders, with the American Brent Bookwalter second © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                            
Page 11 G24 Sport                                                   Thursday February 7 2013   21:46 GMT

and Briton Adam Blythe in fourth.
    Bernhard Eisel, Edvald Boasson Hagen and the Welshmen
Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas are Team Sky’s best-placed
riders in fifth, eighth, ninth and 10th respectively.
    While the Tour of Qatar is used by most WorldTour teams
as a tune-up for the spring classics and grand tours later in the
season, and the parcours is predominantly flat, Cavendish was
happy to prove his form against a strong field of riders, and
insisted that the racing was not as easy as it looked.
    “Even mild winds here on this circuit causes some
problems,” Cavendish said. “We knew it would be stressful
today. It caused a few splits but we always had five or six guys
riding for me.
    “The protection was spot on. As for my spot in the final run-
in, we really kept together. Some other teams tried to take over
– I think they got some confidence in the last few days. But my
entire team came to me in the last minute and we just went.”
    While Cavendish is currently ninth on the all-time list of
grand tour stage wins, with 36, the 27-year-old has won only
one overall classification, at last year’s Ster ZLM Toer. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                  

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