The Sports Matrix: Thursday 7 July 2011

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The Independent Online

Cavendish sprints to 16th stage win

Mark Cavendish won his first stage of the 2011 Tour yesterday, the 16th of his career, after a dramatic sprint finish on a day of a dozen crashes. Cavendish stormed round the extreme right of the peloton to beat Philippe Gilbert by half a bike length. It was a thrilling end to a testing stage: there was a steep climb with three kilometres to go plus narrow, twisting roads along the windswept and exposed Breton coastline. “This was as hard as when I won at Aubenas” – after a second category climb – “in the 2009 Tour,” Cavendish said later, “But in some ways more difficult because it wasn’t anticipated. I had no idea that I was going to win, I didn’t think it was possible. When I got round Gilbert I was surprised, but I knew I had to keep going.” Cavendish’s rivals paid tribute to his success last night. “I didn’t expect it,” yellow jersey Thor Hushovd said, “it was such a hard finish, and the usual suspects were missing – except Cavendish.” MORE

Levy meets Modric over transfer

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is to meet Luka Modric for the first time since the Croatian midfielder made his intention to leave the club clear last month. Suitors Chelsea are reportedly prepared to treble the midfielder’s wages. MORE

Barça prepared to wait for Fabregas

Barcelona are happy to wait until the end of the transfer window for their pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas to be completed. “We have the best team in the world,” vice-president Josep Bartomeu said. “We can afford to be patient. There is no rush.” MORE

Liverpool close to capturing Adam

Blackpool captain Charlie Adam was at Liverpool last night finalising a transfer after a fee of roughly £7m was agreed between the two clubs. The 25-year-old Scottish midfielder was subject to a £4.5m bid from Liverpool in January that was swiftly rejected. MORE

City sign young Montenegrin Savic

Manchester City completed their second signing of the summer yesterday, as 20-year-old defender Stefan Savic joined from Partizan Belgrade for £6m. Savic, who has six caps for Montenegro, follows Gaël Clichy as City seek to strengthen their defence. MORE

Villas-Boas follows Barça template

Andre Villas-Boas took his first training session as Chelsea manager yesterday, introducing a new approach which will emphasise ballwork and co-ordination. In this respect, he is inspired as much by Pep Guardiola as by Jose Mourinho. MORE

Mickelson tips Scottish winner

Phil Mickelson believes next week’s Open champion will come from the playing field at the Scottish Open, which starts in Inverness today. “The winner of the Open will be in this field,” he said. “It will be such an advantage to play in this event now.” MORE

Bolt: I need to get back to my best

Usain Bolt is aiming to recover his top form when he returns to action in Paris tomorrow night. “I need to get back to my best,” he said ahead of his appearance in the IAAF Diamond League meeting, which his rival Tyson Gay will miss through injury. MORE

Cudjoe: Speech no problem in game

Huddersfield back Leroy Cudjoe says his speech impediment does not impede his relationship with his team-mates. “A couple of them get stuck into me,” he told i. “But I’m comfortable with it. When I’m with the lads, it’s not a problem. It just flows.” MORE

Thurston likely to miss Four Nations

Johnathan Thurston will probably be absent for this autumn’s Four Nations in England after badly injuring his knee in Queensland’s series-winning State of Origin victory over New South Wales yesterday. Australia’s scrum-half was carried off yesterday. MORE

Soldier can win the warin July Stakes

Although Frederick Engels won the Windsor Castle Stakes last month, he will have a fight on his hands in the July Stakes at Newmarket today. Roman Soldier, who nearly won the Coventry Stakes recently, is a promising colt and is today’s favourite. MORE

Cook hits back to draw series level

Alastair Cook responded to his critics yesterday with an impressive 95 not out from 75 balls as England beat Sri Lanka by 10 wickets to level the one-day series at 2-2. England had earlier bowled Sri Lanka out for 174. MORE

James Lawton

Kumar Sangakkara provided the only resistance to England yesterday. While this was distinguished, it paled beside the impact of his performance in Lord’s Long Room 48 hours earlier, after a brave and insightful speech. MORE