HIGHLIGHTS: Roglic defends Vuelta a Espana title (barely), Dressel wins five events and King streaks to 27 straight wins in ISL match 8

Back-to-back Vuelta a Espana champion Primoz Roglic (SLO) (Photo: ProCyclingStats)

Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:

Archery ● The final event of the U.S. Archery Team Qualifier Series was held in Newberry, Florida with the Easton Foundations Gator Cup completed while observing the multiple safety measures that have marked almost all of 2020.

The competition included a 72-arrow ranking round and then elimination matches for senior and masters archers. In a year where seemingly nothing has gone to form, there were some surprises on the final day (Sunday).

World Youth Championships team gold medalist Jack Williams – age 20 – won the men’s Recurve title with a 6-4 finals over emerging star Joonsuh Oh, with Nicholas D’Amour winning the bronze medal, 6-0, vs. Josef Scarboro.

Eliana Capps scored an impressive win in the women’s Recurve class, edging star teen (16) Casey Kaufhold in the semis, 6-5, and then sailing past Caitlin Noriega, 6-2, in the final. Kaufhold won the bronze over Erin Mickelberry, 6-4.

Cole Frederick and Savannah Vanderweir won the men’s and women’s senior Compound titles.

Cycling ● As expected, the 75th edition of the Vuelta a Espana, the final Grand Tour of the season, was decided on the penultimate day, with the brutal final climb up to the 1,959 m summit of the Alto de la Covatilla.

After defending champion Primoz Roglic (SLO) extended his lead to 45 seconds over Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz on Friday, everything rested on Saturday’s stage. While France’s David Gaudu picked off competitors on the climb and rode solo into the finish for a win by 28 seconds over Swiss Gino Mader, the real action was behind him.

Britain’s High Carthy, who started the day third (-0:53), attacked on La Covatilla, with Carapaz, Roglic, Enric Mas (ESP) and Aleksandr Vlasov (RUS) chasing. Carapaz broke clear about halfway up the climb and then Carthy gave chase again. Roglic couldn’t keep up, but held on for 10th, 2:56 behind the winner, but losing only 21 seconds to Carapaz and six seconds to Carthy. It was enough.

Sunday’s easy rise into Madrid was another win for Pascal Ackermann – his second of the tour – over Sam Bennett (IRL) and Max Kanter (GER). Roglic eased home in 39th and won the 2020 Vuelta a Espana by 24 seconds over Carapaz and 1:15 over Carthy, with Dan Martin (IRL: -2:43) in fourth.

For Roglic, the victory was his second in a row and highlights a great year in which he won the national road title, was second in the Tour de France, and won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic. He’s the first repeat champion in La Vuelta since Spain’s Roberto Heras won in 2003-04-05. He’ll have a shot at that triple next year.

In the three-stage Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta for women, German Lisa Brennauer also defended her 2019 title, finishing 12 seconds ahead of Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini and 13 seconds ahead of Lorena Wiebes (NED).

Wibes won the first stage from Toledo to Escalona in a sprint over Elisa Balsamo (ITA) and Brennauer, but Brennauer’s win in the Individual Time Trial on Saturday was decisive. She won by one second over Longo Borghini and four seconds up on Ellen van Dijk (NED). Coupled with a mass-finish sprint on Sunday in Madrid, Brennauer managed to hold on for a repeat win. Balsimo got a consolation prize by winning Sunday’s stage ahead of Wiebes.

The Covid-19-shortened schedule for 2020 showed Britain’s Lizzie Deignan the seasonal winner, piling up 1,622.33 points over Longo Borghini (1,567.33) and Brennauer (1,424.67).

Figure Skating ● The all-Chinese Shiseido Cup of China was highlighted as expected with a big win for two-time Worlds medal winner Boyang Jin in the men’s division.

Jin won convincingly, taking both the Short Program and the Free Skate, ending with 290.89 points vs. Han Yan (264.81) and Yudong Chen (226.21).

Hongyi Chen won the women’s event, also by a big margin, with 186.53 points to 148.33 for Angel Li and 135.43 for Minzhi Jin.

Heavily-favored Cheng Peng and Yang Jin won the Pairs event, scoring 223.90 to 175.40 for runner-ups Yuchen Wang and Yihang Huang. The Ice Dance event was the closest of the event, with Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu winning by 206.84 to 192.26 for Hong Chen and Zhuoming Sun.

The next scheduled stop for the ISU Grand Prix series in 20-22 November in Moscow for the Rostelecom Cup.

Gymnastics ● The “Friendship and Solidarity Competition” in Tokyo on Sunday was much less of a major confrontation of major powers than a hopeful exercise to show that the anti-virus procedures being considered could lead to the staging of the 2020 Olympic Games next summer.

Just 32 competitors from four countries – Japan, Russia, China and the U.S. – competed on multi-national “Friendship” and “Solidarity” teams. The actual winners of the events, however, included reigning All-Around World Champion Nikita Nagornyy of Russia, who won three events:

All-Around: Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), 86.600, over Kazuma Kaya (JPN: 86.200).
Floor: Dimitrii Lankin (RUS), 14.400 over Boheng Zhang (CHN), 14.300.
Pommel Horse: Kaya, 14.800 over Nagornyy, Yul Moldauer (USA) and Dehang Yin (CHN: 14.200).
Rings: Nagornyy and Zhang tied at 14.700.
Vault: Nagorbyy and Lankin tied at 14.600.
Parallel Bars: Wataru Tanigawa (JPN), 14.800, over Nagornyy and Kaya, 14.700.
High Bar: Kohei Uchimura (JPN), 15.200, over Tanigawa, 14.400.

All-Around: Angelina Melnikova (RUS), 56.700 over Zhang Jin (CHN: 54.900).
Vault: Shilese Jones (USA), 14.800 over Melnikova and Jin (14.700).
Bars: Melnikova, 14.500, over Zhou Ruiyu (CHN: 14.400).
Beam: Jin, 14.400, over Ruiyi, 14.400.
Floor: Melnikova, 13.400, over Asuka Teramoto (JPN: 13.200).

International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach (GER) tweeted a comment shortly afterwards:

“Perfect 10 – a big thank-you to gymnasts from US, China, Russia and Japan and to FIG under the great leadership of IOC member Watanabe Morinari. An important milestone for successful Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with their Friendship and Solidarity competition in Tokyo.”

Did this prove anything? Only that competitions can be held under controlled conditions, as shown by the major U.S. sports and European football. But at a minimum, it’s a confidence builder for the athletes involved, the organizers and the IOC.

Swimming ● The International Swimming League’s seventh and eighth matches (out of 10) were held on the same days in morning and evening sessions at the Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary (short-course).

Match 7 featured the return from a back injury of Swedish sprint star Sarah Sjostrom, who was one of nine swimmers to win multiple events:

● Chad le Clos (RSA): 100-200 m Fly
● Danas Rapsys (LTU): 200-400 m Free
● Emre Sakci (TUR): 50 m Breast, 50 m Breast Skins

● Sarah Sjostrom (SWE): Women’s 50-100 m Free, 50 m Skins
● Kelsey Wog (CAN): Women’s 200 m Breast, 200 m Medley
● Kylie Masse (CAN): 50-100 m Back
● Anastasia Shkurdai (BLR): 100 m Fly, 100 m Medley
● Siobhan Haughey (HKG): 200-400 m Free
● Ida Hulkko (FIN): 50-100 m Breast

Energy Standard (France) won the team scoring with 613.0 points to 448.0 for Iron (Hungary) and 391.0 for the Toronto Titans.

Match 8 showcased the seemingly-unbeatable Lilly King of the U.S., who won her three Breaststroke events for the seventh straight meet and then the 50 m Breaststroke Skins races. Over two seasons, she is unbeaten over 27 individual races. Wow!

She was one of six swimmers with multiple event wins, including five for superstar Caeleb Dressel:

● Caeleb Dressel (USA): Men’s 50-100 m Free, 50-100 m Fly, 100 m Medley
● Adam Peaty (GBR): Men’s 50 m Breast, 50 m Breast Skins

● Lilly King (USA): Women’s 50-100-200 m Breast, 50 m Breast Skins
● Kira Toussaint (NED): Women’s 50-100 m Back
● Beata Nelson (USA): Women’s 200 m Back, 100 m Medley
● Freya Anderson (GBR): Women’s 100-200 m Free

Not surprisingly, the Cali Condors – with King and Dressel – won the meet at 507.0, but after a substantial argument from the London Roar (491.5) and the Tokyo Frog Kings (419.0).

The ISL “regular season” finishes with matches 9 and 10 on Monday and Tuesday (U.S. television on CBS Sports Network).

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