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Monday 21 August 2017

Martin times attack to triumph in Il Lombardia

cycling: Dan Martin put a tough year behind him as he timed his attack to perfection to win the Il Lombardia single-day race.

Martin started his sprint inside the final kilometre and built up enough time to lift his arms in celebration as he crossed the line ahead of Alejandro Valverde and former world champion Rui Costa.

The Irishman had crashed out of a number of races this year including on the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia in Belfast and had also fallen on the final corner of last year's Lombardia.

Martin clocked a time of 6 hours, 25 minutes and 33 seconds on the 260km (161.56-mile) route from Como to Bergamo, winning by a margin of one second ahead of a group that included two-time defending champion Joaquin Rodriguez, who was eighth.

Taylor tops billing at Citywest

darts: Phil Taylor is one of the stars on show at the Citywest Hotel tonight where the partypoker.com World Darts Grand Prix gets underway with Taylor going in search of a 12th triumph in the event.

The most successful darts player of all time, who is the second seed for this tournament, will start the week off against Steve Beaton in what is scheduled to be the sixth of eight matches due off tonight.

The unique double start and double finish event features 32 of the world's top players and also in action tonight is the Northern Ireland duo of Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney.

Dolan, who created history at the event in 2011 when he became the first man to complete a televised nine-darter in the double in/double out format, will face Scot Gary Anderson, while Gurney has the unenviable task of taking on number three seed Adrian Lewis.

This week's tournament carries a record prize fund of €510,420 and runs all the way through until Sunday when the final will be played.

Hamilton's thought with Jules

formula 1: Formula One departed Suzuka and bound for Sochi with the thoughts of everyone involved in the sport firmly left behind with Jules Bianchi - as the Marussia driver fought for his life in a Japanese hospital.

Lewis Hamilton (pictured) beat Mercedes team-mate and pole sitter Nico Rosberg to victory in a race affected by rain but his now 10-point championship lead was sub-text following a Japanese Grand Prix which was ended prematurely after a freak accident left Bianchi requiring surgery on a severe head injury.

The 25-year-old Frenchman crashed into a recovery vehicle after aquaplaning off the wet track at the same corner as Sauber's Adrian Sutil, who had left the circuit on the previous lap. Sutil's car was still being removed from the area when Bianchi reached the scene of the accident and he hit the recovery vehicle, with the race being red-flagged shortly afterwards on lap 46.

The running of the race had been under threat all week as Typhoon Phanfone approached Japan from the Pacific Ocean, and the event had already been red-flagged just two laps in after beginning under safety car conditions. The race continued after the weather cleared up but the rain began to fall in the closing stages ahead of both Sutil and Bianchi's accidents.

"Our first thoughts go to Jules," Hamilton said. "It overshadows everything else when one of our colleagues is injured and we are praying for him. Next to this, the race result doesn't seem significant at all."

Wilson ends long wait for title

golf: World number 792 Oliver Wilson won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday as Rory McIlroy paid the price for two amazing blunders at St Andrews.

Wilson, who finished runner-up nine times on the European Tour before losing his card in 2012, carded a closing 70 to finish 17 under par, one shot ahead of McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and Richie Ramsay.

Fleetwood, who was playing alongside Wilson, missed from 10 feet for birdie on the last to force a play-off, while Ramsay was two clear after his eighth birdie of the day on the 15th, only to bogey the 16th and 17th.

McIlroy double bogeyed the first after misjudging his approach and seeing his ball spin back into the Swilcan Burn, and - although he recovered with four birdies in succession and made two more on the 10th and 12th - his chances ended when he putted into the Road Hole bunker on the 17th. Wilson started the week ranked a lowly 102nd on the Challenge Tour but claimed the first prize of almost £500,000 and a two-year exemption on the European Tour.

"I don't have words for it," Wilson said. "It's been 10, 11 years coming, nine runners-up and I hadn't done a whole lot (wrong) to lose those but nothing has really gone my way. I could be drunk for a while. It's been a long time coming. I've got a lot of champagne on hold from over the years. It will be a good party."

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