COMING ATTRACTIONS: CONCACAF Nations League opens Friday; famed Il Lombardia cycling race Saturday

Previews of international events of note coming up:

CYCLINGTour de France and La Vuelta winners all in for Il Lombardia

We’re almost at the end of the 2019 UCI World Tour, with just two races remaining: the 113th edition of Il Lombardia on Saturday (12th) and the Tour of Guangxi in China from 15-20 October.

Along with Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Il Lombardia is one of the cycling “monument” races and is especially prized. This year’s route is 240 km from Bergamo to Como, with seven major climbs and a brilliant field, including 10 former medalists:

● Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) ~ Winner in 2015 and 2017
● Dan Martin (IRL) ~ Winner in 2014
● Philippe Gilbert (BEL) ~ Winner in 2009-10
● Esteban Chaves (COL) ~ Winner in 2016
● Alejandro Valverde (ESP) ~ Second in 2013-14
● Diego Rosa (ITA) ~ Second in 2016
● Rafal Majka (POL) ~ Third in 2013
● Rui Costa (POR) ~ Third in 2014
● Dylan Teuns (BEL) ~ Third in 2018
● Gianni Moscon (ITA) ~ Third in 2017

More intrigue comes from the entry of 2019 Tour de France winner Egan Bernal (COL) and La Vuelta champ Primoz Roglic (SLO) and three 2019 Monuments race victors Alberto Bettiol (ITA: Tour of Flanders), Gilbert (Paris-Roubaix) and Jakob Fuglsang (Liege-Bastogne-Liege).

With all the climbing, Colombia’s Nairo Quintana should also be watched for. Look for results here.

● FOOTBALL ● CONCACAF Nations League play starts for U.S. vs. Cuba

The new CONCACAF Nations League is getting started, with the U.S. starting its schedule in League A against Cuba in Washington, D.C. on Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern time on FS1 and TUDN.

The U.S. is in a group with Canada and the Cubans; those two teams have already played twice, with Canada winning both matches by 6-0 and 1-0 scores. The U.S. plays Cuba Friday, then Canada on 15 October in Toronto.

There are four groups in League A, with the group winners advancing to the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, as well as to the Nations League semis. The other groups:

● B: Panama, Bermuda, Mexico
● C. Martinique, Trinidad & Tobago, Honduras
● D: Curacao, Haiti, Costa Rica

The U.S. has a 10-1-1 all-time record vs. Cuba, losing 5-2 in the very first game of the series in July 1947 and then taking a 1-1 draw in September 1949 in Mexico City. Since then, the U.S. has won 10 straight. The last meeting was a 2-0 win for the U.S. in Havana on 7 October 2016.

Cuba’s 2019 record is 1-6 and the team has been outscored, 6-26.

● TABLE TENNIS ● Former champs Fan and Chen from China headline German Open

The 2019 German Open is underway in Bremen, with a strong field; the top seeds:

1. Xin Xu (CHN: 1 in world rankings)
2. Zhendong Fan (CHN: 2) ~ 2013 Champion
3. Gaoyuan Lin (CHN: 4)

1. Cheng-Ting Liao/Yun-Ju Lin (TPE)
2. Zhendong Fan/Gaoyuan Lin (CHN)
3. Woojin Jang/Youngsik Jeong (KOR)

1. Meng Chen (CHN: 1) ~ 2017 Champion
2. Manyu Wang (CHN: 4)
3. Yingsha Sun (CHN: 6)

1. Yingsha Sun/Manyu Wang (CHN)
2. Miyuu Kihara/Miyu Nagasaki (JPN)
3. Meng Chen/Yuting Gu (CHN)

Mixed Doubles:
1. Chun Ting Wong/Hoi Kem Doo (HKG)
2. Yun-Ju Lin/I-Ching Cheng (TPE)
3. Jun Mizutani/Mima Ito (JPN)

This tournament dates back all the way to 1925, and will include Mixed Doubles for the first time since 1988. Look for results here.