Cycling: In less than 48 hours, Lance Armstrong will have answered the last unresolved question about his capacity to win an eighth Tour de France: Can he still climb?
The 37-year-old Texan is second overall but about to face his toughest test in this year’s Tour as the grueling three-week race arrives in the Pyrenees mountains.
“That’s my question mark, that’s your question mark, that’s everybody’s question mark,” Armstrong said. “But we don’t have to wait long until we’ll find out, that’s the good thing.”
He couldn’t be in a better position before heading into the mountains. But a lurch Friday in Arcalis, Andorra — the finish of the first of three Pyrenean stages — would bring him back down to earth.
Armstrong didn’t take any risks during the fifth stage with the mountains looming. Thomas Voeckler of France won the 122-mile ride along a windy Mediterranean Sea from Le Cap d’Agde to Perpignan after a long breakaway.
Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland retained the overall lead, with Armstrong a fraction of a second behind.
Talented teams make big moves in NBA
Basketball: Finally a Los Angeles Laker, Ron Artest won’t guarantee another ring for his new team.
Especially since some recent NBA champions made moves that could get them back to the top.
Boston and San Antonio signed veteran power forwards, with Rasheed Wallace joining the Celtics and Antonio McDyess agreeing to a deal with the Spurs.
They left Detroit, which added Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to a former title contender looking to get younger and better.
Wednesday was the first day deals could be signed, and Artest called it, “a long time coming,” saying he’s wanted to join Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles for many years. He received a five-year deal worth about $33 million, according to his agent, David Bauman.
Artest changed places with Trevor Ariza, who took his forward spot in Houston.
Also: Toronto re-signed former No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani to a five-year, $50 million contract extension; Chris “Birdman” Andersen reached a five-year deal that could be worth up to $26 million with Denver; the Lakers also signed guard Shannon Brown to a two-year contract for $4.2 million; Atlanta and center Zaza Pachulia agreed on a four-year contract; and Dallas will reportedly acquire forward Shawn Marion from Toronto.
•League irks union: The NBA players’ association is upset with the league over a warning it sent teams projecting a significant decrease in the 2010-11 salary cap.
The memo told teams the salary cap and luxury tax levels are expected to drop, echoing comments commissioner David Stern has made at various times this season.
But the union believes the predictions could discourage teams from offering big deals to free agents.
•Area players assist wins: Washington State University’s Klay Thompson had 10 points and seven rebounds as the United States defeated Lithuania 76-69 at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand.
At the same tourney, WSU incoming freshman Brock Motum scored 10 points as Australia defeated Croatia 79-74.
Mangisto Arop, who will attend Gonzaga University in the fall, scored 18 points to help Canada to a 67-57 win over Argentina.
•Idaho forwards help Brazil: University of Idaho forwards Luciano de Souza (13.3 ppg) and Luiz Toledo (7.8 ppg) have helped their native Brazil to a 2-2 record at the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia.
Phelps, Peirsol highlight nationals
Swimming: Michael Phelps won the 200-meter freestyle and 200 butterfly at the U.S. nationals in Indianapolis, earning a trip to the world championships later this month.
Aaron Peirsol created the biggest buzz at the Indiana University Natatorium pool by reclaiming his world record in the 100 backstroke. The Olympic champion poured it on down the stretch to win in 51.94 seconds.
•Ahlin takes 13th: Washington State University’s Michaela Ahlin finished 13th in the women’s 100 butterfly at the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia.
Goodell, Mora reach Rainier summit
Football: A group including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Seahawks coach Jim Mora reached the summit of Mount Rainier.
The team made it to the summit of the 14,411-foot volcano at 9:15 a.m. and was back at Camp Muir by about 2:30 p.m., said Jered Erlandson, a spokesman for United Way of King County. The climb is a fundraiser for the Seattle charity.
Ching scores in American victory
Soccer: Santino Quaranta broke a scoreless tie in the 75th minute and Brian Ching (Gonzaga University) followed with a header in the 79th, giving the United States a 2-0 win against Honduras in the Gold Cup at Washington.
The United States, two-time defending champion in the competition contested among the countries of North and Central America and the Caribbean, is 23-0-1 in Gold Cup group play.
•Stadium workers strike: South African construction workers went on an indefinite strike at stadiums being built for the 2010 World Cup – a move that could derail Africa’s historic first World Cup tournament.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.