French judicial authorities have opened a preliminary investigation into suspected doping during the Tour de France targeting the Arkea-Samsic team, the French outfit confirmed on Monday. Following reports in the French press that two persons close to the squad led by Colombian rider Nairo Quintana — a former Giro d’Italia and Spanish Vuelta champion — were being held for questioning, UCI, the cycling governing body, later said it had been in touch with a special public health unit as part of the operation carried out by French authorities. A day after the end of the three-week Tour in Paris, Arkea-Samsic said in a statement the team itself, the manager and staff have not been accused of wrongdoing after sports newspaper L’Equipe said French authorities led a search on Wednesday in Meribel, in the Savoie region, at the team hotel. The squad confirmed the raid took place last week and Arkea-Samsic manager Emmanuel Hubert said it “concerned only a very limited number of riders, as well as their close entourage, not employed by the team.” Rookie Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia, who rides for UAE Team Emirates, won the Tour on Sunday. The best-placed rider from Arkea-Samsic was Frenchman Warren Barguil in 14th place.
Hamlin, Jordan start up NASCAR team
NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin is starting his own race team in partnership with Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level, as the driver. Hamlin, 39, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and top contender for this year’s Cup title, made the announcement on social media. The team will be a single-car Toyota entry aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing, for whom Hamlin drives. NASCAR rules prohibit a current driver from owning a team and driving for another, but Hamlin circumvented the policy with Jordan as the primary owner.
Louisville challenges NCAA’s allegations
Louisville refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program. Louisville filed a 104-page response to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports' governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme — including a former Adidas executive James Gatto and amateur league director Merl Code — by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added. The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe of college basketball announced in September 2017. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II. Pitino, who’s now coaching Iona, was not named in the federal complaint and has consistently denied authorizing or having knowledge of a payment to a recruit’s family.
Baylor football aiming to get started
Baylor football coach Dave Aranda expressed optimism his team will be able to play its Big 12 opener against Kansas on Saturday after having to call off a game last weekend because of positive COVID-19 tests that affected a position group. Declining to discuss specifics, Aranda said the Bears expected about five players back through the week at “the position that was affected,” as well as five or six players back at other positions. “We’re feeling pretty strong about our team being fortified and being strengthened,” said Aranda, the former LSU defensive coordinator who was awaiting to make his Baylor debut. “The wild card in all it is going to be these tests that we take [this week]. I feel confident about [playing]. But after you’ve been hit with one of these, you’re very aware.” The Bears had scheduled nonconference games the past two weeks called off because of the coronavirus. Louisiana Tech had an outbreak before the Bulldogs were scheduled to play at Baylor on Sept. 12. That game was replaced by a hastily arranged reunion with former Southwest Conference rival Houston, but Baylor had to call that off about 24 hours before Saturday’s scheduled kickoff. Big 12 policy calls for a 53-player roster to play a game, with that number including at least seven offensive linemen, four defensive linemen and one quarterback.
King, Original 9 nominated for tennis Hall
Billie Jean King and the other members of the Original 9, who laid the groundwork for the women’s professional tennis tour, are the first group nominated together for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. They join Jonas Bjorkman, Sergi Brugera, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Lleyton Hewitt, Lisa Raymond and the late Dennis Van der Meer on the ballot announced for the Hall’s Class of 2021. Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of when King, elected to the Hall in 1987 for her accomplishments on the court, and eight other players — Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Judy Dalton, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville Reid, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey and Valerie Ziegenfuss — signed $1 contracts to participate in the first women-only tennis tournament, taking a stand against the disparity in prize money between men and women at the time. Inductees will be announced early next year; the induction ceremony is scheduled for July 17 . . . One woman who was entered in French Open qualifying tested positive for the coronavirus and was dropped from the field. The French tennis federation did not identify the player, who it said must isolate for seven days. Women’s qualifying is scheduled to begin Tuesday. The news comes a day after the federation announced that five other players were withdrawn from qualifying — two who tested positive for COVID-19 and three who were in close contact with a coach who tested positive for the illness
De Bruyne shines for Manchester City
Kevin De Bruyne scored a penalty and had a hand in two other goals as Manchester City opened its English Premier League campaign with a 3-1 win at Wolverhampton 3-1 . . . Emiliano Martinez saved a penalty on his debut for Aston Villa to help his new team beat 10-man Sheffield United, 1-0, in its English Premier League opener. Signed from Arsenal last week, Martinez dived to his right to tip aside a penalty from John Lundstram in the 36th minute . . . Zlatan Ibrahimović scored twice to help AC Milan beat Bologna, 2-0, in Serie A and keep the Rossoneri optimism alive at the start of the new season . . . Bob Nevin, a fan favorite who won two Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs before a successful run as captain of the New York Rangers, has died. He was 82. Nevin played 1,128 NHL games with Toronto, New York, Minnesota and Los Angeles, totaling 726 points (307 goals, 419 assists) while compiling just 211 penalty minutes.