Fourth yellow jersey in touching distance for Froome

Britain’s Chris Froome, center, is followed by stage winner France’s Romain Bardet, and Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran, as they climb during the twelfth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 214.5 kilometers (133.3 miles) with start in Pau and finish in Peyragudes, France, Thursday, July 13, 2017. (AP)
Updated 21 July 2017

Fourth yellow jersey in touching distance for Froome

EMBRUN, France: Chris Froome will tackle the home straight on Friday in his bid for a fourth Tour de France title.
The 19th stage is an almost dead straight 222.5km run from Embrun in the Alps down to Salon de Provence, not far from the Mediterranean.
In theory, it should be a good day for the sprinters with a flat finish, but the lumpy terrain throughout most of the stage could encourage some dare-devils to go on a breakaway, with this the last chance for one to succeed all the way to the finish.
Saturday will see a 22.5km time-trial around Marseille while Sunday’s 103km procession to Paris is almost certain to end in a bunch sprint.
On paper at least, Friday’s stage looks a simple, if long, task. But coming after almost three weeks of toil and effort, traversing five mountain ranges notably, then Froome and his rivals can’t afford to relax, even with one eye on Saturday’s race against the clock.
Froome is feeling confident after coming through two tough Alpine stages and knowing that he is a better time-trialist than the only two riders still in contention to beat him — Romain Bardet and Rigoberto Uran.
Bardet has impressed with his inventiveness and guile but he simply hasn’t had the strength to make a significant dent in Froome’s armor.
At the finish on the Col d’Izoard on Thursday, Froome certainly had the look of a man who felt the job was almost done.
“I wouldnt say it’s quite won yet, but certainly the toughest part of the Tour is behind us with the Alps and Pyrenees done now,” said the 32-year-old Briton.
“I’m happy to get through, also better than in previous years — I’ve always struggled (in the Alps) so it’s nice to get that one out of the way now.”
While that race is almost over, one competition did find its winner on Thursday.
Warren Barguil sewed up the king of the mountains polkadot jersey as he won his second stage of the race — he must now just reach Paris to be crowned.
Australian Michael Matthews is all but mathematically the green sprinters’ points jersey winner — he needs either a single point on Friday or for Andre Greipel to fail to take maximum points in order to win.
And Simon Yates homed in on the young riders’ white jersey, a year after his twin brother Adam won it, as he maintained a lead of more than two minutes over Louis Meintjes.


Postponed Tokyo Olympics to cost extra $2.4bn

Updated 04 December 2020

Postponed Tokyo Olympics to cost extra $2.4bn

  • The extra costs come as officials work to build enthusiasm for the first Games postponed in peacetime,
  • Tokyo 2020 said an additional $1.5 billion would be needed for operational costs related to the delay

TOKYO: The coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics will cost at least an extra $2.4 billion, organizers said Friday, with the unprecedented postponement and a raft of pandemic health measures ballooning an already outsized budget.
The extra costs come as officials work to build enthusiasm for the first Games postponed in peacetime, insisting the massive event can go ahead next year even if the pandemic is not under control.
But more spending, on top of the previous budget of about $13 billion, could further harden public opinion in Japan, where polls this year showed a majority of people think the Games should be postponed again or canceled together.
“Whether it’s seen as too much or that we have done well to contain the costs, I think it depends on how you look at it,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters.
“We have done all we can to earn the public’s understanding,” he added.
Tokyo 2020 said an additional $1.5 billion would be needed for operational costs related to the delay, with another $900 million in spending on coronavirus countermeasures.
The dollar figures are calculated at an exchange rate of 107 yen, and the total is around $2.56 billion at today’s rate. The costs look set to rise further, with Tokyo 2020 saying it would also release an additional $250 million in “contingency” funds.

The new spending swells a budget that was set last year at around $13 billion, and will add to disquiet about the cost of the Games after an audit report last year argued the national government was spending significantly more than originally planned.
The extra costs will be split between Tokyo, the organizing committee and the national government. The International Olympic Committee will not be chipping in, but has agreed to waive its sponsor royalty fee for the first time, organizers said.
The unprecedented decision to delay the Games has thrown up a plethora of extra costs, from rebooking venues and transport to retaining the huge organizing committee staff.
And with organizers committed to hosting the Games even if the pandemic remains a threat, extensive safety measures will be needed.
Tokyo 2020 this week released a 54-page plan they said would make it possible to hold the Games, including restrictions on athletes touching and fans cheering, and an infection control center in the Olympic Village.
Organizers have tried to scale back elements of the Games, offering fewer free tickets, scrapping athlete welcome ceremonies and making savings on mascots, banners and meals, but so far they have cut just $280 million in spending.
And on Thursday, they said 18 percent of Olympic tickets sold in Japan will be refunded, with domestic fans demanding their money back on about 810,000 of the 4.45 million tickets sold in the country.


Organizers hope to now resell those tickets, and demand for seats at the Games was high before the pandemic.
But enthusiasm has since waned, with a poll in July revealing that just one in four people wanted to see the event held in 2021, and most backing either further delay or cancelation.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said the spending plan was carefully considered and he hoped people would accept it.
“If you have a drink, you could say your glass is half-full, or half empty. It depends on how you look at it,” he told reporters.
“There’s a rationale behind this plan. I hope the Japanese people will understand it.”
Tokyo 2020’s final price tag has been hotly disputed, with an audit report last year estimating the national government spent nearly 10 times its original budget between 2013-2018.
Organizers countered that the estimate included items not directly related to the Games.