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PLA DADET, France -- On the last of four Pyrenees ascents, Rafal Majka winked at a French TV camera and tugged playfully at a motorcycles antenna. Even this late in the Tour de France, the Polish rider made winning look easy as he took Stage 17 on Wednesday. For Vincenzo Nibali, the second ride in the mountains on Frances border with Spain was more serious. "The Shark" nibbled yet more seconds away from several of his closest challengers, and the yellow jersey that he has worn for all but two days of the race seemed to fit just a little more tightly ahead of the finish Sunday in Paris. Nibali was even businesslike with his own prime minister, imploring him not to get too ahead of himself in celebration. "Its true that I received a text message from Matteo Renzi, who invited me to Chigi Palace to celebrate my victory," the cautious Sicilian said about the premiers official residence. "I replied that only after winning -- if I do so -- Ill be able to say that Ill be present." The 124.5-kilometre (77-mile) trek Wednesday was the shortest stage in this years Tour. It covered three hard Category 1 ascents from Saint-Gaudens and a final push up to Pla dAdet ski station above the town of Saint-Lary-Soulan. Majka, who also won Stage 14 in the Alps, again showed hes the best climber in this Tour and tightened his grip on the polka dot jersey awarded to the races King of the Mountains. Giovanni Visconti got the action going on the last climb with a solo breakaway with about nine kilometres (5 1/2 miles) left, but could not hold off Majka. Visconti, who also is Sicilian, was second, 29 seconds back, and Nibali was third, 46 seconds behind. With a last Pyrenean day ahead Thursday, Majka could ensure that he takes the red-dot jersey home. His closest rival for it when the stage started was Spains Joaquim Rodriguez, who swatted the air in frustration at Majka when the Pole broke away on the last climb. Majka said he felt "comfort" in the last five kilometres in part because hed been saving up energy a day earlier by riding easier. He finished in a bunch 24 1/2 minutes behind Australian teammate Michael Rogers, who won Stage 16. By Wednesday, "I felt really, really good in the last climb," Majka said, after tapping his chest, thrusting his arms skyward and shouting in joy at the victory. "For me, when there are a lot of climbs, its the best." There was a time when seemingly effortless victories smacked of something more sinister at the Tour: the use of performance-enhancers. Few know the scars of cyclings doping past more than Majkas own manager at the Tinkoff-Saxo Bank team, Bjarne Riis. Once a national hero in Denmark after winning the 1996 Tour, he admitted to using blood-booster EPO more than a decade later -- and was vilified for it. He laid low for a while, but then returned to the pro cycling world. "I promised Bjarne today that I would win the stage," said Majka. The echoes of doping resonated Wednesday on the grassy Pyrenean mountainside: The last times that Saint-Lary-Soulan hosted Tour stage finishes were in 2001 and 2005 -- won by Lance Armstrong and teammate George Hincapie. Those wins were later stripped because of doping. Their names have been crossed out in the official Tour history book. Cycling has made great strides in fighting doping with enhanced blood and urine testing, along with the biological passport program, but few experts would claim that the peloton today is entirely clean. Nibali, who has called himself a "flag-bearer of anti-doping", made his latest case to become the first Italian to win cyclings showcase race in 16 years -- since Marco Pantani, who was once convicted for doping. Nibali gained just under a minute on four of his closest rivals. Second-placed Alejandro Valverde of Spain, who made a valiant recovery on the last ascent to avoid even more damage, now trails by 5 minute, 26 seconds. The exception was Jean-Christophe Peraud of France, who hugged closely on the leaders back wheel and finished fourth. With his performance, the 37-year-old Frenchman made it an even closer race for the podium spots. He is fourth overall, 6:08 behind Nibali, but just eight seconds slower than fellow Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, in third. American Tejay van Garderen, in sixth, also lost about a minute to Nibali and trails by 10:19. It came a day after his hopes for a podium spot were dealt a big blow when he lost several minutes to the other aspirants for a top-three finish in Paris. "Yesterday was a pity, it was an off day," the BMC leader said. A podium spot is still possible, he added, "but it will be hard." Stage 18s finale in the Pyrenees takes the pack on a 145.5-kilometre (90-mile) loop from Pau to Hautacam, featuring two ascents that are so hard that they defy cyclings ranking system -- one of them an uphill finish. Then its a flat stage heading northward Friday before an individual time-trial a day later, and then whats likely to be the largely ceremonial ride for the yellow jersey in Stage 21 on Sunday to the Champs-Elysees in Paris for the finish of the races 101st edition. While well-positioned to be in yellow then, Nibali was still attacking Wednesday. "I preferred to go and gain a few more seconds and to be even more serene, just in case something could happen," he said. Hayden Hurst Jersey . In the last race before the Sochi Olympics, Bjoergen followed up her win in the 10-kilometre classical race on Saturday by beating World Cup sprint leader Denise Herrmann of Germany by 0.43 seconds for her fifth victory of the season. Custom Baltimore Ravens Jerseys . The Toronto Argonauts running back hurt his left ankle during the teams practice Friday afternoon at Rogers Centre. http://www.footballravensstore.us/authe ... ns-jersey/. -- Get a flow chart ready to follow the Packers quarterback situation. Lamar Jackson Jersey . - This win was more the New Jersey Devils style. Anthony Averett Ravens Jersey .Y. - For once, Clayton Kershaw was glad to see a long shutout streak end.CLEVELAND -- Mark Prices basketball background is loaded with honours and awards. His head coaching resume is a little thin. That might not matter to the Cavaliers. A four-time All-Star point guard during nine seasons with Cleveland, Price interviewed Tuesday with the Cavs, who fired Mike Brown nearly a month ago and have been on a twisting search for his successor. The quest has brought them to Price, who spent last season as an assistant in Charlotte under Steve Clifford, who believes the 50-year-old is ready to slide into the top seat. "Obviously we dont want to lose him," Clifford said. "He has done a great job here. Hes ready to be a head coach and the fact that they called and got permission to speak with him shows how much they think of him as a coach and it would be great if it worked out. Bad for us, but good for him." Price started Tuesday doing his usual routine, working with Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on his jumper -- a continuing work in progress. Afterward, Price left for Cleveland to meet with the Cavs, who have certainly caught the attention of their fans by bringing in Price, one of the most belloved players in franchise history.dddddddddddd. What Price may lack in head-coaching experience -- hes only coached the Melbourne South Dragons in 2005 and Orlandos summer league team -- he makes up for with his experience as a high-calibre player, his ability to teach and overall hoops knowledge. Theres been a recent trend of NBA teams signing unproven coaches. The hirings of Steve Kerr in Golden State and Derek Fisher in New York, both former point guards without extensive head coaching backgrounds, could prompt the Cavaliers to take a shot with Price. Price is the sixth known candidate to meet with the Cavs. The team intends to bring back Clippers assistant coach Alvin Gentry for a second interview this week. The Cavs have also met with Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin, former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins and former Clippers and Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro. Cleveland has also contacted Kentucky coach John Calipari, who signed a seven-year, $52 million contract with the school last week. The Cavs have not commented during the search for their third coach in three years. Wholesale NFL T-shirts Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping NFL Jerseys Wholesale China NFL Gear Wholesale NFL Camo Jerseys Cheap NFL Hoodies Camo China NFL Jerseys ' ' '


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