Sixth stage of Tour de France marred by major crash that hurts U.S. team

A chaotic crash at the Tour de France marred Friday’s sixth stage and dealt a heavy blow to the U.S. Garmin-Sharp team.

Young Slovak sensation Peter Sagan avoided the cross-the-road pile-up to claim his third stage win in a sprint finish. Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland also rode clear of the mess to retain the yellow jersey.

The 129-mile ride from Epernay to Metz got off in the Champagne region of France as roadside fans held aloft glasses of bubbly to cheer on the riders.

But as the pack picked up speed to chase four breakaway riders with about 16 miles to go, at least two dozen riders spilled across a rural road — leaving many downed, dazed or looking for team staffers for support in a jumble of injured riders and bikes on the ground.

The Garmin squad, riding in formation, bore the brunt.

Tom Danielson was briefly knocked unconscious, and later rushed to a hospital for hip, collarbone and elbow injuries. He was one of at least four riders to drop out of the race because of the crash.

Garmin veteran David Millar had black marks of chain-grease all over his arm.

Also, Garmin’s Ryder Hesjedal of Canada injured his knee and lost more than 13 minutes in the hunt for the title, all but quashing his podium ambitions. He had started the stage in ninth place, 18 seconds back.


NECBL: Tripp Davis threw a one-hit shutout to lift the Sanford Mainers (7-13) to a 1-0 win over the Mystic Schooners (3-20) in the opener, and three pitchers combined for a two-hit shutout in a 2-0 victory for the Mainers in the second game at Sanford.

AMERICAN LEGION: Damon Wallace struck out eight to lead visiting Moody’s Collision (6-4) to a 7-2 victory over Libby-Mitchell (4-6) at Cape Elizabeth.

FCBL: Boston Langley drove in both runs in Old Orchard Beach’s 2-1 victory over the Seacoast Mavericks at Rochester, N.H.


MEN’S BASKETBALL: The U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team has opened training camp and quickly had its first injury.

Chris Paul was forced to leave to get an X-ray after hurting his thumb.

The French Basketball Federation said Tony Parker can play in the Olympic Games after the San Antonio Spurs medical staff agreed that the guard has fully recovered from an eye injury.

Parker scratched his cornea during a nightclub fight in New York last month.


NHL: The Minnesota Wild signed defenseman Brian Connelly to a two-year contract. Connelly led all AHL defensemen in scoring last season with 52 points on six goals and 46 assists while playing for Rockford and Abbotsford.

The Montreal Canadiens re-signed Danish center Lars Eller to a two-year contract.

The Phoenix Coyotes signed restricted free agent forward Kyle Chipchura to a one-year contract. He played 53 games for the Coyotes last season, scoring three goals with 13 assists.

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed left wing Nick Foligno to a three-year, $9.15 million contract.

— From staff and news services