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Brisbane Broncos NRLW skipper Ali Brigginshaw wins Dally M female player of the year



Brisbane Broncos lock Ali Brigginshaw has received the highest individual accolade in the women’s game, named as the female player of the year at the Dally M awards.

Brigginshaw captained Brisbane to back-to-back NRLW premierships in 2018 and 2019.

She scored the game-sealing try in the Broncos’ win over the Roosters last weekend, and she and her team will attempt to complete a hat-trick when they face the Roosters again in Sunday’s grand final.

The skipper changed over from half-back to a forward role this season, and she polled 16 votes to win the Dally M medal for female player of the year.

Brigginshaw won by two votes from another Bronco, full-back Tamika Upton.

Roosters second-rower Hannah Southwell, who will face Brisbane in the grand final, came third with 13 votes.

Brigginshaw became the second Brisbane Broncos player — after Brittany Breayley in 2018 — to win the award.

She told ABC Newsradio she had not expected to win.

“I knew we had to stay for dinner, and the cross to the Dallys (Dally M Awards), but I thought it was just a chat regarding the (grand) final on Sunday,” she said.

“It (the award) took me by surprise, I still can’t believe it. It was very awkward having to do it (via) live cross.

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Brigginshaw was keen to credit the mentoring she had received from senior players early on in her career.

“I think it’s the girls I’ve been around from a young age — they’ve taught me a lot of things to take on to the field.

“How to be calm, or how to get the girls ready without overcomplicating things.

“The Karen Murphys and Nat Dwyers, those girls that were there before me when I was a young girl, that brought me up. Now it’s my turn to be that old girl on the field”.

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The Ipswich native took up the game when she was 10.

“Some of those guys are my best mates, or [they] message me before I go out and play.

“Being the only girl there were a couple of boys who really took me under their wing and guided me through, I think it taught me a lot of toughness and resilience to play the game.

“There were lots of negative comments when I was playing the game, and I had to overcome them.

As the Broncos get set to try for a third title in as many years, Brigginshaw said her team had some advantages but she expected a fierce challenge from the Roosters.

“Some of those [Brisbane] girls have been there and experienced that before [at grand finals] and I think that might help on the day, but it’s all about preparation,” she said.

“We’ve got to prepare well. We can’t go in there thinking it’s going to be a win. The Roosters have done really well this year and they truly deserve to be there, and they’re a very tough side so it’ll be a big game.”



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Kybybolite roars as former Tiger Lachie Neale wins Brownlow Medal with Lions


Growing up in the tiny farming town of Kybybolite, near South Australia’s border with Victoria, the young Lachie Neale was “always a little sports-mad boy”.

“He was very young when he pulled on his first pair of boots,” his mum Amanda Taylor said.

“He was certainly kicking the football or bouncing the basketball or bowling the cricket ball around the house and the garden.”

His dad Robbie Neale remembers his son “was never much help in the sheep yard”.

“He’s had a footy in his hand for quite a while.”

A Brisbane Lions AFL player runs with the ball in both hands in front of his teammates against the Adelaide Crows.
Lachie Neale (centre) in action against the Adelaide Crows in June.(AAP: Darren England)

Last night, Neale was honoured with the AFL’s top individual honour, the Brownlow Medal — much to the delight of the Kybybolite community.

The Brisbane Lions midfielder played junior football for the Kybybolite Tigers, winning a premiership in 2004, and about 100 locals watched last night’s count together at the clubrooms.

“I did say, at the end of the count, once Lachie was crowned the Brownlow Medallist, that everyone in the room would remember where they were on October 18 to celebrate that little bit of history,” club president Jamie Tidy said.

A sign next to a gate opening onto a football oval reads "Welcome to Kybybolite Memorial Sports Club, home of the Kyby Tigers"
The Kyby Tigers are hoping Neale’s success can expire them to a long-awaited premiership.(ABC South East SA: Isadora Bogle)

“Our club has had some rough times but that’s up there with some of the more special things that can happen at a little country footy club.

‘They’d all love to have him home’

Ms Taylor said her son was lucky to be in a job he loved, but had worked hard to get there.

“It’s his passion and he’s always wanted to play football in the AFL,” she said.

An older man and woman hugging a young man wearing a suit and tie on a deck
Lachie Neale with stepfather Brett Shepherd and mother Amanda Taylor at last year’s Brisbane Lions best and fairest awards.(Supplied)

She said she was closely watching the Brownlow count, but became less stressed towards the end.

“I was doing the maths around [round] 10 onwards trying to work out, so about round 14–15 I was quietly confident, as long as he polled in one more game.”

Ms Taylor has received messages of support from Kybybolite locals wishing Neale well over the past couple of weeks.

Lachie Neale smiles while holding up his Brownlow Medal
Lachie Neale holds up the coveted Brownlow Medal.(AAP: Darren England)

Mr Tidy said the club had been lucky with its juniors, with five junior colt premierships in a row when Neale was in the team, alongside former AFL footballers Jack Trengove and Alex Forster.

“We’ve got a very long and proud history of good coaches and good juniors,” he said.

He said he hoped Neale’s win would inspire the club to make a little bit more history.

“Unfortunately, it’s been 46 years since our last A-grade [premiership], which I believe is the longest premiership drought in South Australian country football,” he said.



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Shane van Gisbergen wins thrilling Bathurst 1000 ahead of Cameron Waters


Holden driver Shane van Gisbergen has won his first Bathurst 1000, holding off Ford’s Cameron Waters in a tight finish at Mount Panorama.

Two late safety cars compressed the field in the closing stages, making the final stages of the 161-lap, 1000km race a dramatic 18km shootout.

However New Zealand’s Van Gisbergen was good enough to keep distance between himself and the chasing pack to claim victory by just 0.8663 of a second, going one better than his second-place finishes in 2016 and 2019.

His co-driver, Garth Tander, secured his fourth win in the 161-lap race, after taking out the 2000, 2009 and 2011 editions.

Chaz Mostert finished in third spot for Holden to round out the podium, ahead of Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin in the Shell V-Power Racing Team Ford Mustangs.

Jamie Whincup provided the first drama of the race when he went wide with too much pace at turn three and slammed his Holden into the wall, bringing out the day’s first safety car on lap 33, ending his and veteran Craig Lowndes’ race prematurely.

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By that time, Waters had overtaken early leader McLaughlin and set an imposing pace to distance himself from McLaughlin’s co-driver, Tim Slade.

The pack was compressed again after Jordan Boys spun and slammed his Cub Cadet Mowers Holden into the wall on lap 52 for the day’s second safety car, but the race really spiced up when the promised rain began to fall on the mountain on lap 53, just after the safety car was brought in.

Van Gisbergen rose to the occasion in the slippery conditions, scything his way to the front of the pack as the rest of the field struggled for grip during the brief shower.

Van Gisbergen and Tander led from that point onwards, never relinquishing their position during the tense, tactical middle period of the race and its dramatic, high-paced conclusion.

Waters and van Gisbergen were well clear out front and duelling for first place with an exemplary display of faultless, high-pressure driving until two crashes forced the safety car to come out with nine laps to go.

Jack Smith from SCT Motor Sports skidded into a sand trap, and almost simultaneously Bryce Fullwood’s Mobil 1 Middy’s Racing Holden locked up and slammed into a couple of walls at the top of the mountain.

The race resumed with six laps to go, but soon after Zane Goddard barrelled into another wall and was left stranded on the track with three working wheels, prompting another safety car and a dramatic finish.

All through the tension, van Gisbergen kept his cool and masterfully drove away from his rivals to claim his maiden Peter Brock trophy.

Relive the drama in our live blog.

Live updates

By Simon Smale

Shane van Gisbergen wins Bathurst 1000

            

               

We’ll wrap up the live coverage here for now.

                

Thank you so much for joining me over the course of the day, it has been a pleasure to bring you all the action from Mount Panorama.

              

Fantastic performance from all the leading drivers, it’s too easy to forget that this was the ONLY endurance race of the season, at one of the hardest circuits in motorsport.

                    

Shane van Gisbergen has come so close before, no closer than last year, but this time he excelled and drove away from a field that was pushing to the very extreme of their limits, lap after lap of faultless driving.

           

I hope you enjoyed the coverage and we’ll catch you again next time.  

               

               

By Simon Smale

‘So special to win here’: Shane van Gisbergen

                  

               

Shane van Gisbergen was all smiles on the podium, and understandably so.

            

He said he had serious doubts as to whether he would ever get a chance to win the race after coming close the last couple of years.

               

“So special to win here. Got close so may times and then you just begin to doubt, especially in those last few laps, you start to think what is going to go wrong?

            

“But the car ran faultless all day and got better and better.”

Audience comment by bob gibson

congratulation holden team good to see you go out on a blaze of glory

Audience comment by Peter

By Simon Smale

I’ve never driven so hard: Chaz Mostert            

                

Chaz Mostert has been interviewed on the podium, where the Ford driver acknowledged that he had never had to push so hard.

            

“I haven’t [ever driven so hard],” Mostert said on the podium. 

               

“That felt like wildfires at the end. Congratulations to these guys behind me. They did a fantastic job all day and put entertainment on for everyone around the country.

             

“A big thank you to our whole team here and also in Melbourne. It has been a hard year and to all the Holden fans thank you for supporting us this year and we will see what happens next year.

By Simon Smale

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Bathurst 1000 race highlights.

By Simon Smale

The caption says it all.

By Simon Smale

Scott McLaughlin wins the Supercar Championship

               

           

This was confirmed last race, but Scott McLaughlin has been awarded the Supercars Championship trophy after what might be the last time he races in Supercars.

                   

“Congratulations to Shane and 888 racing for their win today. They made it happen today.

               

“It has been an amazing year. I think the comradarie between the teams.

                

“Obviously last year was pretty full on, tit-for-tat, then this year … everyone knows how hard it has been for everyone and there has been a lot of good hard racing, the best racing we have had.

           

“We didn’t have a turnaround to come back and fix the cars. Credit to the Victorian teams for the sacrifices they gave for us, their families, the sport, the volunteers

By Simon Smale

‘I didn’t need that last safety car’ Garth Tander

            

           

Garth Tander, who is now a four-time winner of Bathurst, has also had a chat with the TV team.

                   

“It was OK until two to go and the last restart, didn’t need that one,” Tander said. 

               

“Awesome job Shane, the way he managed the last three stints, amazing, very impressive.

               

“This will take a little while to sink in, it’s been such a strange year and sitting on the couch for six months and then firing up and being on the road for five weeks to do the race, really special one and I’ll sit back and enjoy it.”

Audience comment by Gaia

Great work on the blog today Simon. Nail-biter of a finish! I did try to send some more rain across to the races, but it fizzled out on the way there.

Audience comment by Jk

Brilliant! Great way to end the Holden brand.

Audience comment by Ritchie McC

Audience comment by Han

Been either going to or watching Bathurst since 1963. Fabulous memories and added another one today. Thanks Simon (wan-Kenobi).

By Simon Smale

‘I wish my mum and dad were here’: Shane van Gisbergen

               

             

Here is Shane van Gisbergen, the 62nd winner of Bathurst.

               

“Just awesome, van Gisbergen said.

           

“The last few laps were tough with the safety car, but the team did a faultless job and thanks to the guys, we had a great car and great way to send out Holden and thanks to Garth Tander, he did an awesome job.

           

“I wish my mum and dad were here.

           

“Each time [Cameron Waters] got close through turn two, with good grip and I knew I’d be OK. The last stints were just qualifying, just awesome.

                

“[It was a] real track position race, super hard to pass when the rain came.

         

“I was a bit slow at the start and got going and that got us to the front and we never left there. Awesome day.”

         

He said he was looking forward to getting back to New Zealand on Tuesday to celebrate.

Audience comment by Graeme

Great way to say goodbye holden

By Simon Smale

Celebration time for Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander

By Simon Smale

Thanks Simon, exciting blog, can I just ask, what time is Dan going to be on?

-Sorry, couldn’t resist.

           

No Dan, but we’ll hear from Shane van Gisbergen very shortly I’d expect. 

Audience comment by David (in Japan)

I’ve been kept updated all day thanks to your great commentary – much appreciated

Audience comment by at

By Simon Smale

Bathurst 1000 final results

                

             

                



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Verry Elleegant takes out the Caulfield Cup as Classique Legend wins The Everest at Royal Randwick


Classique Legend has won the richest race in Australia, the $15 million The Everest at Royal Randwick, while Verry Elleegant was victorious in the Group One Caulfield Cup.

Trained by Les Bridge, the grey Classique Legend picked up the $6.2 million winner’s cheque, with jockey Kerrin McEvoy winning the big race for a third time, ahead of Bivouac in second place and Gytrash in third.

Nature Strip and Eduardo led the race early, and the placings stayed the same into the straight, with Eduardo holding the lead inside the 300m before McEvoy moved Classique Legend to the front, to kick clear and win easily.

This gave the 81-year-old Bridge another big win to add to his 1987 Melbourne Cup victory with Kensei.

The slot holder for Classique Legend’s place in the field was the horse’s owner Bon Ho.

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Bivouac, trained by James Cummings for Godolphin, came through for second place, worth $2.3 million. Gytrash, with Jason Collett on board, rounded out the placings to win $1.4 million for connections and slot holder Inglis.

“I’ve been telling everyone for three months [it would win],” Bridge told Channel Seven after the race.

“One of my greatest friends was Persy Sykes who I spent a lot of time with. He said it is all in the genes. Some horses just get all the good genes.

“I’m just repeating his words. This horse, he has a girth on him that deep and he just has a big V8 motor. It is unbelievable.”

McEvoy said Classique Legend had a big job to do in a race that was run at a breakneck speed.

“I looked up at the 600 [metres] and they were well in front, they were off,” he said.

“I thought, ‘Far out, if Nature Strip and the companions are back to their best they are going to take a bit of running down.’

“Full credit to my horse. With that cover and soft time of it early, he was able to really power when I asked him. Soon after I was confident I would pick them up.”

A racehorse comes past the winning post in a big race, with two other horses close behind.
Jockey Mark Zahra rode Verry Elleegant to a narrow victory over Anthony Van Dyck (nearest) in the Caulfield Cup.(AAP: Racing Photos: Pat Scala)

In Melbourne, Chris Waller trained his first winner of the Caulfield Cup, as Verry Elleegant held off a fast-finishing Anthony Van Dyck to win the $5 million race, with The Chosen One in third.

Anthony Van Dyck came into the race with a big reputation as a winner of the English Derby.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained thoroughbred came rattling down the outside in the straight to challenge Verry Elleegant, who had hit the front ahead of The Chosen One with 250 to go.

In winning the first leg of the Melbourne spring carnival’s historic Cups double, Verry Elleegant will be one of the favourites to win the Melbourne Cup on November 3.

ABC/AAP



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Classique Legend wins The Everest at Royal Randwick, earning $6.2 million in the richest race in Australia


Classique Legend has won the richest race in Australia, the $15 million The Everest at Royal Randwick.

Trained by Les Bridge, the grey picked up the $6.2 million winner’s cheque, with jockey Kerrin McEvoy winning the big race for a third time, ahead of Bivouac in second place.

More to come.



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Rafael Nadal wins 13th French Open to claim record-equalling 20th grand slam title


Rafael Nadal has demolished world number one Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the French Open final to claim a record-equalling 20th grand slam title.

With the Spaniard’s record-improving 13th triumph at Roland Garros, world number two Nadal is now tied with Swiss Roger Federer as the player with the most men’s singles major titles.

Nadal was the early aggressor as he choked Djokovic to win the opening set in brutal fashion, having made only two unforced errors.

He then kept a firm grip on the Serbian in the second set under the roof of court Philippe Chatrier.

Djokovic, who was looking to win his 18th grand slam title, rebelled in the third set, breaking back for 3-3, only to drop serve on a double fault in the 11th game before Nadal went on to bag his 100th victory at Roland Garros with an ace.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament.
Nadal celebrates winning the final match of the French Open against Djokovic.(AP: Michel Euler)

“First of all of course congrats to Novak for another great tournament, sorry for today,” Nadal, who has now beaten Djokovic in all of their three French Open finals, said on court.

Djokovic had won five grand slam finals in a row since being beaten by Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 Australian Open, but Nadal was not unsettled by a new stadium design, the roof and the lack of spectators amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The 34-year-old Nadal said he was not thinking about matching Federer’s mark.

Spain's Rafael Nadal bites the trophy as he celebrates winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal now has as many grand slam titles as Roger Federer.(AP: Michel Euler)

“To win here means everything. I don’t think today about the 20th and equalling Roger on this great number, today is just a Roland Garros victory and that means everything to me,” the world number two said.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after missing a shot against Spain's Rafael Nadal in the final match.
Djokovic had won 14 of the last 18 matchups against Nadal, and led 29-26 overall.(AP: Alessandra Tarantino)

Nadal is the oldest French Open champion since 1972 and the more than 15 years between his first and most recent grand slam titles is the longest such span for a man.

This was the 56th instalment of Nadal v Djokovic, the most meetings between any pair of men in the professional era, and their ninth in a grand slam final, equalling Nadal v Federer for the most.

Djokovic had won 14 of the past 18 matchups against Nadal, and led 29-26 overall, including a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win in the 2019 Australian Open final.

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Reuters/AP



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Dylan Alcott wins a second French Open quad wheelchair title, beating Andy Lapthorne 6-2, 6-2


Dylan Alcott has enhanced his reputation as one of the all-time greats of wheelchair tennis with an 11th quad singles grand slam triumph at the French Open at the expense of his old rival and doubles partner Andy Lapthorne.

And the man who has become one of Australia’s great sporting ambassadors and pioneers was thrilled he was able to achieve his 6-2, 6-2 victory on one of the sport’s great stages, Court Suzanne Lenglen at Roland Garros.

“Putting us on a high stage today was really cool. It really was. I was shocked. I didn’t know that was going to happen,” said the ever-effervescent Alcott, who continued his domination over his British friend Lapthorne to retain the crown a day after the pair lost as a team in the doubles final.

“To the organisers, thank you. I love the clay. I didn’t think I liked clay, to be honest. I hate getting dirty. I play well on it. I think I like it now!”

Alcott was recently instrumental in getting the US Open to make a U-turn on its decision to exclude the wheelchair tournament in New York, his angry comments about “disgusting discrimination” prompting a wave of support from some of the sport’s biggest names.

“Oh, mate, it’s cool,” said Alcott. “I can’t believe it. When we missed out on the US Open originally, I just wrote those tweets because I was really sad, to be honest. As someone with a disability, not to be included just because of our disability was tough.

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“I didn’t think anyone would listen. The next thing it’s on the third page of the New York Times, Andy Murray has called me on the phone. The support from the world of tennis has been amazing.

“I get to play on Rod Laver Arena back in Australia, 10,000 people there, a million people watching on TV, that kind of stuff. My match was live on Australian TV today, which is so cool.”

Alcott reckoned the news he would be playing on Lenglen really spurred him on to his best tennis.

“I’m bloody happy, to be honest. It’s awesome. It’s been obviously such a crazy year.

The triumph made handsome amends for Alcott’s shock defeat to Sam Schroder in the US Open final, which was his only defeat in a grand slam final and his only loss in his 19 matches this year, as he added this second French title to his six Australian Open crowns, two US Open victories and last year’s first Wimbledon championship.

“I stuffed up the US Open, lost in the final. I think winning today made the trip worthwhile, you know what I mean? I’m really proud of how I played. I had a really good time out there.”

The double Paralympic gold-medallist from Melbourne had only an early moment of concern in his 51-minute triumph, as he lost the opening two games to Lapthorne only to immediately strike back.

Once he had recovered the break and then grabbed another in a tough sixth game, the 29-year-old took firm control of the match to annex the set in 27 minutes.

Lapthorne finally broke a run of seven straight games lost in the second set, but after the pair had exchanged breaks, Alcott raced away with the last three games to win the 37th singles title of his glittering career.

What made Alcott happiest was putting his sport on the map again.

“The media, to the public, people want to watch because it’s entertaining sport. It means a lot to me, more so for not just us but the next generation of young people with a disability,” he said.



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Australia beats New Zealand to equal ODI world record for most consecutive wins



The Australian women’s cricket team has equalled the world record for most consecutive ODI wins following a 232-run victory over New Zealand at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.

Despite being without injured captain Meg Lanning, Australia matched the ODI record of 21 consecutive victories set by Ricky Ponting’s men’s side in 2003.

The result completed a whitewash in the trans-Tasman Rose Bowl ODI series and marked Australia’s biggest win over the White Ferns in the women’s 50-over game.

After being sent in, stand-in skipper Rachael Haynes (96 off 104 balls) and fellow opener Alyssa Healy (87 off 87) helped steer Australia to a daunting total of 5-325.

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The White Ferns were bowled out for 93 in 27 overs as Australia marched to its ninth straight win over the visitors.

New Zealand was asked to pull off a record run chase after the hosts posted their highest ODI total against the White Ferns, their second biggest on Australian soil and fourth best overall.

Instead, the White Ferns slumped to their ninth lowest total in ODI history and worst since they were dismissed for 80 by India in 1982.

The wicket-taking duties were shared around by the Australians, with Sophie Molineux, Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt taking two wickets each.

Australia had big shoes to fill without Lanning, who had not been dismissed this series after scores of 62 not out and an unbeaten 101.

Lanning suffered a hamstring tweak compiling a century in the second match of the series on Monday.

Haynes stepped up in Lanning’s absence, hitting 10 fours and two sixes to just fall short of her second ODI century.

She shared a 144-run opening stand with Healy, who hit 13 fours and a six.

Healy posted her highest ODI score against the White Ferns after being dropped on 61 and 67.

Leg spinner Amelia Kerr was the best of the White Ferns’ bowlers with figures of 3-50 from 10 overs.

AAP/ABC



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Primoz Roglic wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege as Julian Alaphilippe throws away classic win with early celebration


Julian Alaphilippe, resplendent in his new world champions jersey, crossed the finish line of this year’s delayed Liege-Bastogne-Liege race with his arms aloft in victory.

Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he did not account for the doggedness of Tour de France runner up Primoz Roglic, who pipped him on the line in a dramatic finish to the 257km ‘monument’ race.

To make matters worse for the 28-year-old, he was then relegated to fifth place after an erratic sprint hindered Marc Hirschi, who was promoted to second, with Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar in third.

Alaphilippe, who became the first Frenchman in 23 years to don the world champions rainbow jersey after his spectacular solo victory in last week’s World Championships in Imola, said it was better to be relegated from second than first.

“I really didn’t realise I’d made such a severe deviation [in the sprint]. That was the first error.

“The second error was to lift the arms a bit too early. It’s the first time in my career that’s happened, and I think it’ll also be the last.

Primoz Roglic rides to the line on left as Julian Alaphilippe holds his arms out wide on right
Julian Alaphilippe, right, proves you should never celebrate early.(AP: Olivier Matthys)

“I prefer to be relegated having finishing second, than if I’d have won.”

Meanwhile, victory for Roglic offered some relief after the Slovenian’s dramatic penultimate-stage capitulation in last month’s Tour.

Roglic was leading heading into the time trial at the Tour until his fellow countryman Pogacar stormed past to claim an astonishing victory.

The Slovenian poked fun at himself after his own come-from-behind victory was confirmed.

“It’s unbelievable. It was so close. Never stop believing.

“It was definitely on my wish list to win a monument.”

Matej Mohoric, another Slovenian, finished fourth in the bunch sprint.

In the women’s race, Australian Grace Brown was pipped to the line by British former world champion Lizzie Deignan, who claimed her maiden ‘monument’.

The race, one of cycling’s five ‘monument’ races, was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic from its usual time slot in spring.



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Qantas wins legal stoush with union


Qantas could not have prevented the stand-down of over 400 maintenance workers during the COVID pandemic, a court has ruled as the airline scored a legal win over a union.

The Federal Court on Tuesday ruled the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) was “disingenuous” after it argued the airline should be held responsible for the decision to stand down staff after its business was hammered by border closures and movement restrictions.

Qantas was seeking a declaration that it could not have “reasonably” prevented or be held responsible for the decision to stand down 333 Qantas and 113 Jetstar maintenance engineers for one month earlier in the year.

They were stood down at the time around 20,000 other employees including pilots, cabin crew and ground staff were also stood down.

The airline argued during a hearing last month it would have faced severe financial hardship had it continued to operate with a full workforce and it would have prevented them from resuming at full capacity once the pandemic does subside.

The national carrier’s barrister Rowena Orr QC told the court that if they continued to operate, the company would have extinguished its cash reserves and gone broke in eight to 10 weeks.

Justice Geoffrey Flick ruled Qantas could not be held responsible for the downturn in travel and passenger numbers, which limited its ability to operate.

“Given the substantial downturn in passenger flights, there was no other option ‘reasonably’ open for Qantas or Jetstar to pursue.

“Neither Qantas nor Jetstar could obviously be held responsible for the downturn in international and domestic air travel and neither Qantas nor Jetstar could ‘reasonably’ have prevented the stoppage of work which occurred.”

Qantas in a statement described the legal proceedings as “vexatious” and accused the union of wasting their members’ money.

“This is a victory for common sense,” the company said.

“The union’s argument that Qantas should be flying empty planes in the middle of a pandemic was ridiculous. It would have put the future of the company and thousands of jobs at risk.

“Standing down our workers as travel demand collapsed due to factors outside of our control wasn’t a decision we took lightly. We did it because the alternative would have been to burn cash and put the whole company at risk.”

According to its enterprise agreement, the airline was able to stand down any worker who could not be usefully employed because of a stoppage that it could not reasonably prevent.

However, the union challenged the stand-down, saying it was in the airline’s control to continue flying.

ALAEA barrister Lucy Saunders said the measures were taken to “protect their viability” and “improving their profitability”, despite noting the substantial decline in customers.

However, Justice Flick said the stand down was “a necessity forced upon them”.

“It is, with respect, disingenuous to suggest that the action taken by the airlines was action within their ‘own volition’,” Justice Flick said.



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