14-12-2018 Team Sky’s legacy: titles and ambition tarnished by coldness and allegations | Richard Williams

The cycling team, who will lose Sky as a sponsor next year, raised the sport’s profile in Britain but took it away from the humanity treasured by puristsEvery now and then a new force enters a sport with an impact so crushing it reshapes and even deforms the whole competition. So it was with the state-sponsored German grand prix teams in the 1930s, with East African distance runners over the past two decades and with football clubs benefiting today from the sovereign wealth of Arab states. Team Sky’s recent dominance of cycling’s major events can be measured on that scale.Many will mourn the passing of a name that helped bring British riders to the forefront of the sport: first Bradley Wiggins, then Chris Froome and most recently Geraint Thomas. When Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 it was the fulfilment of what had long appeared an impossible dream. By the time of Thomas’s recent Tour victory – a sixth for Sky in seven years – it seemed almost commonplace. Froome’s victories in the Vuelta a España in 2017 and this year’s Giro d’Italia meant he and the team held all three grand tour jerseys simultaneously. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Team Sky: Chris Froome, Sir Dave Brailsford and Geraint Thomas react to sponsorship withdrawal

Chris Froome, Sir Dave Brailsford and Geraint Thomas react to Sky's decision to withdraw backing of Team Sky at the end of 2019.

14-12-2018 Spurs, saves, Street Fighter and Atlanta United – Football Weekly Extra

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Paolo Bandini and Lars Sivertsen to discuss Spurs and Liverpool squeaking through in the Champions League, easy but great saves, Italian strife, Atlanta United and Street FighterJoin the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.We look back at the last few days of football, starting with Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Camp Nou, which in combination with Inter’s draw with PSV was enough to see Mauricio Pochettino’s side qualify for the round of 16. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Gareth Farrelly: ‘It was a toxic, bullying culture for young players at Aston Villa’

Midfielder turned lawyer claims coach Kevin MacDonald left a ‘dark shadow’ over players at Villa and says it drove him to suicidal thoughts“It was a culture of verbal and physical bullying, but there were no checks and balances; he operated with impunity … It was like a dark shadow came over.”Gareth Farrelly, now 43 and a qualified lawyer, with a Premier League and international career behind him, is recalling the bullying he says he endured as a young player at Aston Villa in the 1990s from the coach Kevin MacDonald. It was a “relentlessly negative” regime under him. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Newcastle cancel Christmas party after deciding it would be a ‘wrong’ move

• Threat of relegation means no festive fun for players • ‘If something’s wrong, you have to realise,’ says Rafael BenítezNewcastle United’s players have cancelled their Christmas party for the second year running, and Rafael Benítez is suitably relieved.Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle’s captain, had planned a festive celebration in London this weekend but he and his team-mates came to the conclusion that partying is not a good look for a side in peril of relegation. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Paul Sherwen obituary

Cyclist, television commentator and broadcaster who became one of the defining voices of his sportPaul Sherwen, who has died of a heart attack aged 62, was a pioneering member of the group of English-speaking cyclists nicknamed the Foreign Legion, a doughty five-times Tour de France finisher and, together with Phil Liggett, half of the Channel 4 commentary pairing that brought the race into British sitting rooms daily for the first time during the late 1980s.“Phil and Paul” became the voices of the Tour de France across the English-speaking world: the voluble Liggett described the action and the more measured Sherwen detailed moves and personalities. For a generation of fans – initially in the UK, later across most of the English-speaking world – they were the defining voices of the sport. By this year, Sherwen had attended 40 tours. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Canelo Álvarez awaits in Rocky Fielding's unlikely shot at glory

Few will give the 31-year-old Liverpudlian a chance on Saturday when he climbs through the ropes at Madison Square Garden to face Canelo ÁlvarezWhen Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez announced the first opponent of his blockbuster 11-fight, $365m contract with upstart streaming service DAZN, the collective reaction from the general public was unanimous: Who?Few beyond dedicated boxing fans were familiar with Rocky Fielding, the lesser of the two super middleweight champions recognized by the World Boxing Association, the sanctioning body that hands out belts seemingly at will and has done more to cheapen the currency of a world title than any one factor (and it is a high bar). Continue reading...

14-12-2018 'Humble and generous, but a private enigma' - who was Leicester City's owner?

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is revered in Leicester as the man who presided over one of sport's great triumphs - but who was the billionaire Thai businessman?

14-12-2018 Formula E breakdown: 'Unbelievable' circuits & 'mega' cars - five reasons to watch

From "unbelievable" locations to former Formula 1 drivers in "mega" cars, BBC Radio 5 live commentator Jack Nicholls tells us why Formula E is a must-watch.

14-12-2018 Football transfer rumours: Ben Chilwell to Manchester City for £50m?

Today’s fluff is on the upWith Benjamin Mendy still sidelined through injury, Manchester City are ready to bid for Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell in January. A summer spent in the company of a personal trainer doing sprints in a Milton Keynes park have yielded rich dividends for the youngster, who told one interviewer: “I feel like this season needs to be the season I push on”. Having done exactly that, he may earn himself a move to the reigning Premier League champions to further his education under Pep Guardiola. £50m is the fee being mentioned. Related: Tottenham’s manager Pochettino tips his hat to ‘hard-working’ chairman Levy Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Copa Sudamericana 2018: Atletico Paranaense beat Junior to win Copa Sudamericana

Watch highlights from Atletico Paranaense's victory over Junior FC on penalties to win the Copa Sudamericana trophy in Brazil.

14-12-2018 What is the smallest football ground a European champion has lost at? | The Knowledge

Plus: the longest delay for any new stadium in history and the worst goal difference you can get away with and still qualify in the Champions League. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Real Madrid recently lost 3-0 to Eibar in a stadium that holds just 7,000 people,” begins Robin Tucker. “That got me thinking: have any former European champions lost a competitive match in a smaller stadium? This would be only counting results after their first European success, so games such as Liverpool’s 1959 defeat to Worcester City would not count.”A fine question, but it’s not even the smallest stadium a former European champion has lost in this season. The 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest, now snappily known as FCSB, have suffered plenty of turmoil recently, including a defeat earlier this month to Sepsi OSK. That was in front of an estimated 2,500 at the 5,200-capacity Stadionul Municipal. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Blog: ‘Why my fiancee and I are creating a new joint surname when we marry’

In his second weekly blog, Alexi Duggins explains how he’s making sure his upcoming marriage will be a genuine, equal partnershipIn two months’ time, I get married. It’s a big occasion for many reasons: I’ll be making a lifelong commitment to the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met, it’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever done, and it will also be the first time that my family have seen me cry in public since an ill-advised midnight screening of Ghostbusters II. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Lisa Ashton goes to the oche and the nuns go wild at the PDC World Darts

Ashton took the opening leg in style but her first visit to Alexandra Palace ended in defeatBy 6pm the fairground outside Ally Pally is just beginning to wind down, the ferris wheel has stopped going, the merry-go-round is slowing and there is a sign outside the grotto promising that Santa will be back again tomorrow. So, at that time of night, it’s little kids this way and big kids that, up the hill and on beyond the fair to the Great Hall for the opening night of the PDC World Championship. For a lot of people the trip is a winter tradition now, a little less solemn than the carol service at St Paul’s, a little less sobering than swimming in the Serpentine on Christmas morning.The Championship has junked one of its own old rituals. The walk-on girls are gone. The PDC chairman, Barry Hearn, says he was forced into it by the TV companies. “It’s out of my control,” he said. “We’re living in changing times – the PC brigade, the liberal brigade are out in strength.” Continue reading...