Gold medalist Vinokourov investigated for bribery
GENEVA – Olympic road race champion Alexandre Vinokourov is under investigation for allegedly bribing a rival to fix a race, as ongoing fallout from the Lance Armstrong doping affair threatens to claim another of cycling’s biggest names.
The International Cycling Union pledged Monday to open its own probe into revived allegations that the London Games gold medalist from Kazakhstan paid off his opponent in a two-man breakaway to ensure he won the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic.
The UCI acted after receiving a file on the case from an Italian prosecutor who is leading a wider investigation of corruption in cycling linked to Dr. Michele Ferrari, a former adviser to Armstrong.
Vinokourov allegedly paid Russia’s Kolobnev nearly $200,000 after arranging a fix during their breakaway in the April 2010 one-day race. The allegations were first made by a Swiss magazine last year and were denied by Vinokourov, who threatened to take legal action.
Italian daily Corriere della Sera published further information Saturday, including details of emails it claimed were exchanged by the riders in the days after the race.
Djokovic, Murray advance to ATP Finals showdown
LONDON – Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray won their opening matches Monday at the ATP Finals, setting up a showdown between two of the top three players in the world.
The top-ranked Djokovic beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (4), 6-3 in Group A, hours after third-ranked Murray rallied to defeat Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Djokovic and Murray will play Wednesday.
The ATP finals is the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world. Fourth-ranked Rafael Nadal pulled out because of injury.
Group B, which includes six-time champion Roger Federer, will play today at the O2 Arena.
First flopping warnings handed down by league
NEW YORK – The NBA issued flopping warnings to Minnesota’s JJ Barea and Cleveland’s Donald Sloan on Monday, the first two under a new policy designed to end the act.
Barea threw his upper body backward after contact while defending Sacramento’s Jimmer Fredette in the fourth quarter on Friday. Sloan tumbled wildly to the court a few feet from contact after a pick set against him by Chicago’s Nazr Mohammed on Friday.
The NBA announced a new policy in preseason to stop the act of players dramatically overselling contact in hopes of tricking referees into calling fouls. League officials review plays and inform players if something they did falls under the league’s definition of a flop, which is “any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.”
Crennel fires himself as Chiefs’ defensive coordinator
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel relieved himself of duties as defensive coordinator on a day of massive changes that included the waiving of cornerback Stanford Routt and the signing of defensive tackle Shaun Smith.
Crennel had been juggling head coaching and coordinator duties since taking over on an interim basis when Todd Haley was fired last December.
Gary Gibbs will take over as defensive coordinator and Crennel plans to spend more time with the rest of the team.
“We have a young team, you know? And some guys, their perception, all right, may be that I’m a defensive coach, or a defensive coordinator, and I don’t care about other parts of the team, which is not true,” Crennel said Monday. “They will see I’m concerned about the whole team.”
The Chiefs fell to 1-7 with Thursday’s 31-13 loss at San Diego, their fifth in a row.