Sports Events Calendar and Results

Tour de France July 7-July 29. This year's edition promised to be riveting from Day One and delivered, with the majority of the top GC contenders losing time in crashes. Team BMC won the team time trial, then lost its overall GC contender, Richie Porte, to a broken collarbone when he crashed before the peloton made it onto the cobbles of Stage Nine. Sprinter Mark Cavendish has struggled to place, while Peter Sagan is crushing the green jersey competition as expected. Newcomer Fernando Gaviria has won two sprint stages thus far. There are five Americans competing including Tejay van Garderen, who lost six minutes on the cobbles, and Taylor Phinney, who is working to keep up the spirits of American teammate Lawson Craddock. Craddock is riding with stitches over his eye and a fractured scapula after a feed zone crash in Stage One. Annemiek van Vleuten has won the 5th edition of La Course a second consecutive, in spectacular fashion, overtaking second place Anna van der Breggen with under 5K to the finish.

2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships September 4-9, Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Check NBC Olympic Channel listings for TV coverage.

Vuelta a Espana Tour of Spain, August 25-September 16. After finishing the Vuelta 2nd three times, Chris Froome became the first to win both the Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same year since 1978, when the Vuelta was scheduled before the Tour. Albqerto Contador retired with flair, winning the penultimate stage - a mountaintop finish. On the final day, Contador was granted a solo circuit before the peloton rushed forward to contend for the sprint. Vincenzo Nibali placed second overall, and American Tejay van Garderen finished tenth.

2018 UCI Road World Championships (cycling) September 22-30, Innsbruck-Tirol, Austria. Eight days of competition including men's and women's individual and team time trials, and road races. Will Peter Sagan dare to dream of four road wins in a row?

2018 World Series (baseball) October. Congrats to the Astros, who won their first Championship in team history in 2017.

Spring Training baseball, February - March in AZ (Cactus League) and FL (Grapefruit League). Considering whether I should quit listing this here. Prices have skyrocketed over the past two decades. Southwest, area hotels, and ball parks all know it's awesome, and are testing how much you'll pay for it.

The Masters (golf) April 11 - 14. Patrick Reed won in 2018, and Fowler and Spieth placed second and third. Tiger recovered from another back surgery and dreamed of finishing Top 10, but landed in a four-way tie at 32nd.

Annual Tour of the Gila around Silver City, NM, April. Check out this cycling race that will blow you away - literally. The website mentions "gusty winds," and it's serious. In 2018, ten women’s teams and 18 men’s teams competed, including teams from Colombia and Australia.

Tour of California mid-May. Both women's and men's races. In 2018, Team Sky's 21-year-old Egan Bernal won overall while teammate Chris Froome won the Giro d'Italia. American Tejay van Garderen placed second in the ToC. Three-time reigning world road champion Peter Sagan was bested on the line by a couple newcomers to the sprinting pack, Quick-Step's Fernando Gaviria, who won three stages and the green points jersey, and Aussie sprinting phenom, Caleb Ewan.

Giro d'Italia May. In 2018, Chris Froome struggled at one point, but won overall, of course.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs April - June. Congrats to the Washington Capitals for ending several streaks of the wrong sort. Superstar Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals won their first Cup together while also ending a 44-year championship drought for D.C. teams. Congrats also to the Vegas Golden Knights, who made it to the championship round as a first-year expansion team.

Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 August in Tokyo. Under economic, political, environmental and Zika epidemic pressures, along with a fast deadline for global federations to decide which Russian athletes could complete, the 2016 Rio Games proceeded with expected glitches, but success overall. Just before her 43rd birthday, American cyclist Kristin Armstrong won a third consecutive gold in the women's time trial, but Peter Sagan was unable to recover from two mechanical failures to medal in mountain biking. In wet conditions, the women's cycling road race was a nail-biter, as was the men's. US swimmer Simone Manuel won four medals, including two gold and two silver. Katie Ledecky earned five medals, including four gold and a silver. Michael Phelps won more medals (duh), and the "Final Five" (the next team will be four) US women gymnast team medaled as expected.

World Cup 2022 (futbol) November 21 - December 18, unlike the traditional summer dates, because Qatar is hotter than devil's blood in summer (120F). It's also the first time the World Cup will be in the Middle East. Canada-Mexico-US will host in 2026. In 2018, France beat Croatia 4-2.

SportsSlant Book Club

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, 2012

The Sportsman: Unexpected Lessons from an Around-the-World Sports Odyssey by Dhani Jones, 2011

Boy Racer by Mark Cavendish, 2010

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, 2009

OPEN An Autobiography by Andre Agassi, 2009

The Agony of Victory: When Winning Isn't Enough by Steve Friedman, 2007

Gimp: When Life Deals You a Crappy Hand, You Can Fold - or You Can Play by Mark Zupan, 2006

Lance Armstrong's War by Daniel Coyle, 2005

Downhill: The Life Story of a Gravity Goddess by Marla Streb, 2003

Bobke II by Bob Roll, 2003

Not by Accident {Reconstructing a Careless Life} by Samantha Dunn, 2002

The Punch by John Feinstein, 2002

Zamboni Rodeo: Chasing Hockey Dreams From Austin to Albuquerque by Jason Cohen, 2001

Tropic of Hockey: My Search For the Game in Unlikely Places by Dave Bidini, 2000

Open Net by George Plimpton, 1985

Movietime

Concussion - arguably the most serious issue of the NFL, well-told.

Moneyball - more than a baseball movie (though it does that well), it's about reassessing life decisions, challenging priorities, and acting on intuition.

Bull Durham - minor league baseball, way funny

Half the Road - entertaining, informative, intelligent documentary about the state of women's professional cycling.

The Triplets of Belleville - animated cycling, unique

Breaking Away - oldtime cycling drama

American Flyers - oldtime cycling drama

Mystery, Alaska - pond hockey vs. the NHL, humor

Fight Club - "No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide." Certainly not for everyone, the first 3/4ths of the movie is a highly entertaining, thought-provoking, cultural commentary with some brutal street fighting mixed in.