BOWLING

The Professional Bowlers Association will not be coming to raucous Bayside Bowl in Portland this year.

Both the national organization and the venue had held out hope through the summer that the PBA League team tournament could return to Bayside, where it has been held since 2015. The venue has become a favorite stop for the professional bowlers because of its avid and vocal fan support. Maine’s strict COVID-19 regulations limiting indoor gatherings to 50 people caused the PBA, in conjunction with Bayside Bowl, to make the decision to move the event.

The event, expanded from eight five-person teams to 12, will be held instead in Centreville, Virginia, Sept. 26-30, with no fans on site.

The PBA said it intends to return the PBA League to Bayside Bowl in 2021. A date has not been set.

HIGH SCHOOLS

FALL SPORTS: The Regional School Unit 9 board of directors voted Tuesday night to halt interscholastic fall sports, adding Mt. Blue to a small but growing list of schools to opt out.

North Haven, Vinalhaven and Sumner (Sullivan) high schools recently announced they would not hold fall sports. Camden Hills previously said it would, too, but then reversed course this week when it decided to offer cross country and golf. Spruce Mountain High School in Jay will also only offer cross country and golf this fall.

HOCKEY

NHL: The Buffalo Sabres acquired veteran center Eric Staal in a trade that sent forward Marcus Johansson to the Minnesota Wild.

The trade was the first completed by newly hired Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams, who took over after Jason Botterill was fired in June. Adams is very familiar with Staal, as they were teammates in Carolina and members of the Hurricanes team that won 2006 Stanley Cup.

CYCLING

TOUR DE FRANCE: Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez won the toughest mountain stage of this year’s Tour de France, while race leader Primož Roglic added a few crucial seconds to his advantage over rival Tadej Pogacar.

Roglic finished 15 seconds behind Lopez in second place, while Pogacar trudged over the line 30 seconds behind Lopez in third.

The 105.4-mile trek’s final ascent to the Méribel ski station was the high point of this year’s race at 2,304 meters, winding up a Loze pass never before ridden and with tortuous gradients of 24%.

Lopez timed his attack perfectly with just under 3 kilometers to go while Roglic accelerated away from Pogacar, who clawed some of the gap back but may have bid farewell to his chances of winning the Tour.

Roglic is 57 seconds ahead of Pogacar with four stages remaining. Lopez overtook Rigoberto Urán to move up to third overall and is 1 minute, 26 seconds behind Roglic heading into another testing mountain stage on Thursday. Urán dropped to sixth.

TRACK AND FIELD

DIACK SENTENCED: Former track federation president Lamine Diack was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison for corruption during his nearly 16-year tenure at the IAAF, most notably a scheme that allowed Russian athletes who paid millions in hush money to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping.

The guilty verdict in a Paris court represented a spectacular fall from grace for the 87-year-old Diack, who was the powerful head of the IAAF from 1999-2015 and mixed with world leaders and was influential in the world of Olympic sports. The court also sentenced Diack to another two years of suspended jail time and fined him $590,000.

His lawyers said they will appeal, keeping Diack out of jail for now. Diack did not comment as he walked out of court. One of Diack’s lawyers, Simon Ndiaye, called the verdict “unjust and inhuman” and said the court made his client a “scapegoat.”

Diack was found guilty of multiple corruption charges and of breach of trust but acquitted of a money laundering charge.

TENNIS

ITALIAN OPEN: Novak Djokovic behaved better Wednesday in his first match since being defaulted from the U.S. Open.

The top-ranked Serb was mostly courteous with the chair umpire and had no interaction with the line judges during a 6-3, 6-2 win over local wild-card entry Salvatore Caruso in his opening match at the Italian Open.

The performance came in sharp contrast to the scene in New York 10 days ago, when Djokovic was disqualified for unintentionally hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball. Djokovic said earlier this week that the incident taught him “a big lesson.”

“I was actually looking forward to (playing again) as soon as possible after what happened in New York,” Djokovic said. “Because I feel like the sentiment on the court needs to be positive, and I need to kind of remove anything that can possibly cause any kind of issues to me — if there is something.”

When the umpire came down to inspect a ball mark on the red clay early in the first set and made an overrule in Caruso’s favor, Djokovic just replied, “Yup,” and rubbed out the mark with his red sneaker.

When Caruso impressed him — the Italian hit 13 winners to Djokovic’s 12 — Djokovic said, “Bravo.”

“It was a hot day against Caruso who already played three matches here, a clay court specialist. It was a very good test for me,” Djokovic said. “I’m very pleased with the way I handled myself in important moments.”

Djokovic’s only testy moment came during the third game of the second set, which went to deuce seven times before Djokovic finally broke Caruso’s serve. As the game wore on, Djokovic appeared bothered by crowd noise, even though the Foro Italico is empty of fans this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The only people inside the stadium were coaches and others working at the tournament.

“Which ones?” the umpire asked Djokovic, trying to figure out who was bothering him.

Djokovic replied curtly: “There’s 10 people in the stands.”

Afterward, Djokovic explained: “It was very, very quiet, which is very unusual to what we are used to here in Rome, which has one of the loudest and most energetic crowd atmospheres on the tour. But there was somebody in the corridor of the stadium that was talking — about five, six people.”


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