Andy Fenn, of Omega Pharma QuickStep, came within inches of an opening-day stage win at the Tour of Beijing yesterday, writes Colin Renton. The Kent-based 22-year-old who represented Scotland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, was ideally positioned to launch his attack entering the home straight of the 117km stage which covered 12 laps of a flat circuit from Tiananmen Square to the Birds' Nest Stadium. However, the Italian Elia Viviani (Liquigas) struck first and held off the fast-finishing Fenn to win on the line and take a 10-second time bonus. Fenn edged out Edvald Boasson Hagen, of Sky, for second place.
The race, the final event of the 2012 UCI WorldTour, continues with a 126km stage from Beijing to Mentougou. It has three categorised climbs and concludes on an uphill section beside the Great Wall of China at Badaling.
Lynsey Sharp looks favourite to repeat her title as Scotland's Athlete of the Year after being included on an all-female shortlist for the award, writes Mark Woods. The European 800 metres silver medallist, who also reached the Olympic semi-finals as well as winning the UK title, is up against her fellow Great Britain internationals Eilidh Child and Freya Murray for the prize, with the winner to be unveiled later this month.
Nick Percy, Emily Dudgeon and Laura Muir, who all reached finals at the world junior championships, are in the frame for the Under-20 athlete award. The winners will be announced at the sport's annual awards dinner on October 27 in Glasgow.
Although his charges fell just short of matching last year's bronze medal-winning performance at the FIH Champions Challenge in Dublin last week, Gordon Shepherd, Scotland women's coach, knows that his squad are punching well above their weight, writes Craig Madden.
He is, though, already planning his next assignment, the second round of the World League next February, likely to be in India, Brazil, Spain or South Africa. It is a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup in the Netherlands, at which stage countries ranked between 9 and 16 in the world enter and he hopes that five regulars – the Great Britain players Emily Maguire, Laura Bartlett and goalkeeper Abi Walker, who were cup-tied for the Dublin competition, along with Holly Cram and Becky Ward – will return.
"The whole year has been about the development of new players into the squad, to make the strength of the squad much greater," he said. "This has, without doubt, been achieved. The Champions Challenge was a success; we played some fantastic hockey and produced some good results, and every team we played was above us in the world rankings."
Newcomers Nikki Lloyd, Aileen Davis and Susan McGilveray, along with under-21 players Nicola Skrastin and Sarah Robertson, all made telling contributions to the success in Dublin. Shepherd, though, is aware of the need for continued improvement before February. "There are areas we need to work on but that is always the case, and we will do it when we start work again with the girls at the end of this month."
Defensively the Scotland team is on a sound footing, even against the quality of opposition at the Champions Challenge, but finding the net is still an issue for Shepherd to work on. Five goals in six games in Dublin, and only one from the penalty corner routine, is a concerning statistic that Shepherd will have to resolve before the second round of the World League.
One of the rivals to Glasgow's bid to land the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, from Poznan, has effectively been killed off, writes Mark Woods. Authorities in the Polish city voted down a funding injection of £18m which would be required to stage the event and are expected to formally withdraw their candidature. Buenos Aires, Medellin, Rotterdam and the Mexican city of Guadalajara remain in the frame for the Games. Backed by the British Olympic Association, Glasgow's offering would include the redevelopment of the Sighthill area of the city to prove accommodation for up to 6000 competitors. A decision on the host is expected next year.
Craig Cook, the Edinburgh No.1, will contest the re-staging of the Premier League Riders' Championship at Sheffield on Sunday (1pm), writes Nigel Duncan. He missed the initial attempt to run the showpiece at Owlerton because of injury but has completed a successful practice ahead of a return to the track this week. James Grieves will represent Glasgow Tigers as the original entrant, Josh Grajczonek, has a broken ankle.
LINE-UP. Premier League Riders' Ch'ship (Owlerton, Sheffield, 1pm) Leigh Lanham (Ipswich), Anders Mellgren (Rye House), Nick Morris (Scunthorpe), Jason Doyle (Somerset), Stuart Robson (Newcastle), Sebastian Alden (Berwick), Richard Hall (Sheffield), Theo Pijper (Edinburgh), Ryan Fisher (Plymouth), Craig Cook (Edinburgh), Ulrich Ostergaard (Redcar), Josh Auty (Scunthorpe), Kauko Nieminen (Leicester), Richard Lawson (Workington), James Grieves (Glasgow), Rene Bach (Workington)
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