The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 11 July 2012


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The Independent Online

Wiggins ready for 'long haul' to retain yellow jersey

Tour leader Bradley Wiggins is taking nothing for granted as the race resumes today with the Team Sky rider holding the yellow jersey. The 32-year-old, who became only the fifth Briton to hold the jersey last weekend, is under no illusions how hard it will be to hold onto top spot.

"It's going to be a real s*** fight," he admitted. "I don't for one minute think anybody's going to say, 'Yeah, Sky have won it, we'll just go home and they can have their party in Paris.' It's going to be a very long haul."

Cadel Evans, champion last year, sits two minutes behind, but the Brit is not expecting an easy ride. "He's a consistent performer and things could always fall apart," Wiggins said. "I don't see why they should but that is what sport is all about."

Elsewhere, Mark Cavendish, Wiggins' Team Sky colleague, has ridiculed suggestions he may pull out of the Tour to concentrate on preparations for the Olympics. "I've never felt this well at this point into the Tour," Cavendish said. "I'm hoping I'll finish well." MORE

Sports Minister against VAT plans

Proposals to levy VAT on five-a-side football teams have provoked an angry response inside the Government, i has learnt. The Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, believes the levy may affect efforts to use the Olympics to inspire people to exercise regularly. MORE

Liverpool seek Carroll loan deal

Liverpool are prepared to accept a loan move for the striker Andy Carroll as Brendan Rodgers looks to bring in his own players. A £10m return to Newcastle is also possible for Carroll, although a loan is preferred at Anfield in an attempt to build the striker's value. MORE

Boucher retires after eye injury

South Africa's preparations for the Test series against England have been disrupted by the shock retirement of Mark Boucher. The wicketkeeper suffered a lacerated eyeball during the tour match against Somerset and underwent a three-hour operation. MORE

England secure series whitewash

Fifties from Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara helped England reach a revised target of 138 to win the rain-affected final ODI against Australia at Old Trafford. The tourists earlier made light of three dropped catches to post 145-7 from 32 overs. England took the series 4-0. MORE

O'Meara ruled out of Open with injury

Mark O'Meara has withdrawn from next week's Open after failing to recover from a rib injury. The dual major winner, who won the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale, has been out since March. A replacement has not yet been named. MORE

Marray eyes spot in Davis Cup side

Wimbledon doubles champion Jonny Marray has set his sights on a GB Davis Cup call-up after missing out on selection for the Olympics. "Of course [the cup] interests me," the 31-year-old said. "It's always been a dream to represent my country." MORE

Webber extends stay at Red Bull

Mark Webber has extended his contract with Red Bull, dashing hopes of Lewis Hamilton joining. "I'm very comfortable here," said the Australian, who won the British GP last weekend. "It feels like absolutely the right thing to stay for another season." MORE

British sailor looks for Goodison spark

Paul Goodison hopes home advantage counts in the laser class at London 2012. "There's something special about the Olympics," he said. "Nobody cares who wins the World Championships but people remember the Olympics." MORE

Feature: Friendly fire

Roberto Mancini's Manchester City travel 14,000 miles to prepare for their title defence: i looks at the distances covered by each Premier League team for pre-season friendlies.