Originally created 07/05/99

Overtime: Augusta crew wins in England



The Augusta Sculling Center won the Double Sculls Challenge Sunday, giving the United States its only victory at the 150th Henley Regatta at Henley on Thames, England.

That was a race the U.S. couldn't lose.

The U.S. national team of Ian McGowan and Nick Peterson, representing Augusta, beat the lightweight pair of Conal Groom and Steve Tucker, also representing Augusta, by three lengths.

Former world champion Jamie Koven lost the Diamond Challenge Sculls final to Germany's Marcel Hacker. Koven fell two lengths behind when Hacker powered off the start and never made up the difference as the German won by 3 3/4 lengths.

In the Temple Cup for university eights, both remaining U.S. crews lost in the morning semifinals.

Harvard's freshmen crew let London's Imperial College crew slip away off the start and never caught up, losing by three-quarters of a lengths. Princeton's freshmen had a closer finish against Cambridge. The English crew took the lead at the start and held off a late surge by Princeton, winning by one-third of a length.

In the final of the Queen Mother Cup for quadruple scull crews, the heavyweight team from the Augusta Sculling Center was overpowered by the under-23 crew from Allemannia Ruder Club of Germany, losing by 1 1/4 lengths.

The junior eight crew from the University of California was the last chance for a U.S. medal in the final of the Ladies Plate, one of the regatta's main events. The California crew was no match against Cambridge and Queens' Tower, London, and lost by 2 1/4 lengths.

TRACK AND FIELD:

Tomas Dvorak of the Czech Republic broke Dan O'Brien's world decathlon record and could have broken the "magical barrier" of 9,000 points if not for a mistake in the final 1,500-meter event.

In smashing O'Brien's mark by 103 points Sunday with 8,994 points in a European Cup event, Dvorak had a legitimate shot at becoming the first decathlete to accumulate 9,000 points.

He needed to run the 1,500 in 4 minutes, 36.34 seconds, more than six seconds slower than his best of 4:29.69. To tie O'Brien's record, Dvorak needed to run a comfortable 4:53.87.

He finished in 4:37.20, after making a mistake in the second lap.

"We slowed down a bit and we got punished," Dvorak said. "I had enough power in the last lap, but it was too late.

"If I had performed beyond 9,000 points, I would have had a message for O'Brien, but now it's better to shut up," Dvorak added, sipping champagne.

O'Brien set the previous record of 8,891 in 1992 at Talence, France, after failing to qualify for the U.S. team for the Barcelona Olympics.

Dvorak, 27, the 1997 world champion and 1996 Olympic bronze medalist, had a previous best of 8,837 points in winning the 1997 World Championships at Athens, Greece.

"Only a couple of points and I would have had 9,000, but at least I'll have some motivation for next time," Dvorak said, after competing in 90-degree weather at Strahov stadium. "The conditions were exceptionally good.

"I will take a week off now and then prepare for the World

Championships."

CYCLING:

The cyclists could hardly miss the signs along the rain-slicked country roads of the Tour de France.

"Ride clean, and we love you," one banner said.

"Say No to EPO," said another, referring to the performance-enhancing drug a number of riders have acknowledged using.

While it tries to shake free from a drug scandal, the race goes on, with Jaan Kirsipuu of Estonia winning the first stage of cycling's showcase event on Sunday.

Kirsipuu, who rides for Casino, won after a final sprint by the pack, edging Tom Steels of Belgium and Erik Zabel of Germany.

The overall leader remained Lance Armstrong, the Texan who won Saturday's prologue by seven seconds in his first Tour de France since overcoming testicular cancer.

Sunday's 124-mile stage began in a downpour in Montaigu in France's western Vendee region. The rain eased but then returned, making for a soggy beginning to the three-week race.

The stage was marked by a long breakaway by France's Thierry Gouvenou, who left the pack at 48 miles but was overcome late in the race by Ludo Dierckxsens. The Belgian was overtaken himself just before the final sprint.

Finishing fourth was Stuart O'Grady of Australia, followed by Silvio Martinelli of Italy. George Hincapie of the United States was eighth.

Since the pack arrived together, the riders finished with the same times.