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Martin storms to victory in Varese

CYCLING: Daniel Martin (Garmin-Transitions), a cousin of Nicholas Roche, continued his rich vein of form when he won the 199km one-day Italian race Tre Valli Varesine in Varese yesterday.

The 23-year-old escaped in a breakaway with Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF) on the final climb of the day and showed he is in the form of his life by dropping the Italian a kilometre from the line on the drag up to the finish.

Martin won a stage of the Tour of Poland in similar fashion recently.



Smith and Pietersen Bok for visit of All Blacks

RUGBY: Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has recalled World Cup winners Juan Smith and JP Pietersen among several changes for the Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks on Saturday.

Flanker Smith, who has been a regular member of the Springbok line-up since 2003 with 62 caps, replaces Ryan Kankowski, restoring the experienced, tried-and-tested loose forward combination with Pierre Spies and Schalk Burger.

South Africa were well-beaten in tests in Auckland and Wellington last month and will hope for a major improvement in Saturday's match.



Cusack quits for surgery to save World Cup dream



CRICKET: Alex Cusack was playing his final game of the season for Ireland at Clontarf today before undergoing surgery in a bid to be fully fit for next year's World Cup on the Indian sub-continent.

The Aussie-born all-rounder was being employed solely as a batsman in the second and final RSA Series one-day international against the Netherlands as the agony of his shin injury now makes it too painful for him to bowl.



Strauss gives backing to out of form Cook

CRICKET: Andrew Strauss was delighted to be leading out an England side including Alastair Cook at The Oval today.

Cook has been out of form of late but Strauss said: "I felt strongly that he should be in the side for this game."

HOCKEY: A sucker punch with a minute to play spoilt Ireland's chances of a Youth Olympic Games result against New Zealand as the Kiwis snatched a 3-2 victory in Singapore.

MLB: Baltimore 0 Seattle 4, NY Yankees 6 Detroit 2, Philadelphi 9 San Francisco 3, Pittsburgh 0 Florida 6, Boston 6 LA Angels 0, Tampa Bay 10 Texas 1, Atlanta 10 Washington 2, Chicago Cubs 0 San Diego 1, Houston 4 NY Mets 3, Kansas City 2 Cleveland 1, Minnesota 7 Chicago White Sox 6 (10 innings), St Louis 2 Milwaukee 3, Arizona 2 Cincinnati 6, Oakland 6 Toronto 2, LA Dodgers 6 Colorado 0.