TOUR DE FRANCEGeschke wins tough stage

Simon Geschke of the Giant-Alpecin team won a tough and dangerous Stage 17 of the Tour de France in the Alps yesterday with a brave solo ride, while former champion Alberto Contador fell during a terrifying high-speed descent. Race leader Chris Froome staved off multiple attacks to get through the first of four days in the Alps unscathed. Froome showed great bike-handling skills on the 16-kilometer (10-mile) descent from the Col d'Allos mountain pass, where he hit speeds of 60 kph (40 mph) on the twisting, narrow bends that led to the finish in Barcelonnette.

Froome and Nairo Quintana sprinted together for the line on the final ascent to the Pra Loup ski station, with the Colombian just beating the Briton this time. Quintana is still second overall, with his 3:10 deficit to Froome unchanged. American Tejay van Garderen who was in third place, had to pull out because of illness.


Liberty wins fifth in row

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Tina Charles had 14 points and 14 rebounds for her eighth double-double and the Liberty beat the Los Angeles Sparks, 59-53, for its fifth straight victory. The Liberty (12-5) won its third consecutive game on the road to secure sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference heading into the All-Star break. Epiphanny Prince added 13 points and Essence Carson had 12. Kristi Toliver led Los Angeles (3-13) with 16 points.


Simmons going to HBO

A little more than two months after being dumped by ESPN, Bill Simmons has signed a deal with HBO. Simmons, the former ESPN sportswriter, will be going to the cable channel giant in a "multi-year, multi-platform deal," the network announced. -- AP