The Sports Matrix: Thursday 14 July 2011

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Cavendish makes it French hat-trick

Mark Cavendish returned to form yesterday, winning his third stage of the race, the 18th of his career, and taking the green jersey of the points leader. He won the 104-mile stage amid a downpour despite catching his shoe in a rival’s wheel with 500 metres left. MORE

Broad recovers after costly start

Stuart Broad was erratic again yesterday as he sought to secure his place for the first Test. After a woeful first spell he recovered to dismiss Marcus Trescothick for 86. Somerset finished the third day 91 runs ahead with eight second-innings wickets left. MORE

Trott eyes chance to conquer world

Jonathan Trott is excited by England’s chance to go top of the Test rankings against India: “It’s a great opportunity, starting at the home of cricket [Lord’s], and going all around the country. It will be a great advert for the game.” MORE

Riders confront mountainous test

The Tour hits the mountains today, with three Pyrenean climbs, culminating with an eightmile ascent to Luz Ardiden. “It’s the day that you see in which group you really belong,” says the 26-year-old Slovak Peter Velits, who is seventh overall. MORE

City could face Uefa ‘family’ test

Manchester City may have to prove their owner is not “influenced” by his half-brother, who chairs Etihad Airways, if their £400m deal with Etihad is to pass Financial Fair Play rules. Uefa have a “related party” test that could scupper the deal. MORE

Springbok Smit signs for Saracens

South Africa captain John Smit will join Saracens in October. Smit is the most capped Springbok forward ever, having played 102 Tests. “I am delighted to have signed for a club widely renowned for their ferocious work ethic and spirit on the field,” he said. MORE

Chelsea closing on Parker loan deal

Chelsea are optimistic about securing Scott Parker on a yearlong loan from West Ham United in a deal worth £5m. Chelsea, looking to strengthen the midfield after Michael Essien’s injury, would pay a £1.5m loan fee as well as Parker’s £3.5m wages. MORE

Young Coady stars in Liverpool win

Charlie Adam made his Liverpool debut yesterday in a 4-3 win over Guangdong Sunray Cave. But the limelight was taken by youngster Conor Coady, who scored a good goal. “There is no limit to what these young players can achieve,” said Kenny Dalglish. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Whatever his brilliance, and boyish charm, Rory McIlroy is not Tiger Woods and, without a change of personality, never will be. McIlroy is the new idol of golf but he hasn’t changed the way we see it and think of it. MORE

Elements line up against McIlroy

Rory McIlroy, the main story at this weekend’s Open, may have been dealt a bad hand in terms of the weather. This morning was forecast to be gusty, while tomorrow is supposed to start off calm, with the winds building later. In other words it will be an advantage to go out late today and early tomorrow – but McIlroy has the early-late draw. He is not the only marquee name who could suffer: Luke Donald, the world No 1, will be immediately behind his group, which includes the American Rickie Fowler and Ernie Els. And if the winds blow as strongly as yesterday, Donald might not even reach the fairway on holes such as the seventh. McIlroy has introduced a two-iron to his bag for the first time in his professional career. “It’s instead of the five-wood just to keep the ball lower,” said McIlroy. “Hopefully it’ll be a help to me this week.” If he escapes the worst of it, though, the draw could even help. “Rory loves to go off early and post his number,” said his manager, Chubby Chandler. “The winner will be the player who copes best with the swings and roundabouts,” said Padraig Harrington. It will be about consistency, patience and holing lots of six-footers on these imposing greens. Lee Westwood may fit that bill best. MORE

Garcia rekindles love of the game

Sergio Garcia loves golf again after nearly falling out of the top 100. “I still need to get better but I do enjoy it more than the last couple of years,” he said. “Early last year I wouldn’t have even cared about making it here or not. My desire is back.” MORE

Treasure hunts big prize in Paris

Aidan O’Brien has three horses in today’s Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris, including Treasure Beach, who will be ridden by Colm O’Donoghue. Treasure Beach will have to match Reliable Man, though, who won the recent Prix du Jockey Club. MORE