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Froome Begins Home Stretch for Anticipated Tour Victory

Entrechaux, France — There appears to be little to stop Chris Froome from reaching the Champs-Elysees on Sunday in the yellow jersey and becoming the second straight British cyclist to win the Tour de France.

After another brutal attack in the mountains on Sunday, Froome leads Bauke Mollema and Alberto Contador by more than four minutes with only six stages left — four of them suited to him. There is a time trial on Wednesday, followed by three straight days of tortuous climbs in the Alps.

But winning looks like the easy part.

The 28-year-old Froome’s physical superiority at the 100th Tour has raised eyebrows, practically inevitable in the climate of suspicion that haunts cycling after Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles for serial doping.

This year’s race is the first since Armstrong lost his titles, and Froome understands the tone of the questions. Still, he was unhappy that doping became a main topic of his news conference on Monday’s rest day. That followed his stage win on Mont Ventoux, a mammoth climb in Provence that he tamed with two blistering attacks and where he left Contador — the 2007 and ‘09 Tour champion — lagging behind.

The race resumes today with a medium mountain stage from Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap in the Alps.

NFL Football

Pouncey Sorry
For Hernandez Support

Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey has apologized for wearing a baseball cap supporting former college teammate Aaron Hernandez.

Pouncey and his twin brother Mike, a center for the Miami Dolphins, were photographed wearing hats that read “Free Hernandez” during their co-birthday party in Miami on Saturday night.

Hernandez played at the University of Florida with the Pounceys from 2007-09. The former New England Patriots tight end is charged with murder in the killing of Boston semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

Soccer

MLS All-Stars Anounced

New York — The MLS All-Star team will have an international flavor when it faces AS Roma.

Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry of France and Irish striker Robbie Keane of the Los Angeles Galaxy are among 20 players on the roster for the league’s All-Star game on July 31 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Italy’s Marco Di Vaio, who plays for the Montreal Impact, also was selected yesterday for the match against the Italian club.

Several players with U.S. national team experience also made the roster, including Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Brad Davis (Houston), Omar Gonzalez (Galaxy) and Graham Zusi (Sporting KC).

College Football

‘Johnny Football’
Pleads for Bar Fight

College Station, Texas — Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor stemming from a 2012 bar fight near campus, closing a case that had dogged his Heisman Trophy-winning season.

Manziel admitted he failed to identify himself to police following the altercation. As part of a plea deal, other charges against the 20-year-old, including disorderly conduct, were dismissed.

Brazos County Attorney Rod Anderson says Manziel was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, about $230 in court costs and was credited with the overnight jail time he served following his arrest.

He had faced up to 180 days in jail for the June 2012 incident.

Police said an officer on bike patrol had intervened to break up a fight between Manziel and Marvin McKinney just after 2 a.m. in a street in the Northgate entertainment district. McKinney told police that a friend of Manziel’s had called him a racial slur. He said Manziel shoved McKinney as he approached the two, and then they exchanged punches.

When officers asked Manziel for an ID, he produced a phony Louisiana driver’s license that showed his birthday as Dec. 6, 1990. Police checked Manziel’s wallet and found two more ID cards — a fake Texas driver’s license and Manziel’s real driver’s license that listed his date of birth as Dec. 6, 1992.

The quarterback dubbed Johnny Football piled up 4,600 total yards last season and helped the Aggies knock off No. 1 Alabama on the road. He became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and has continued to garner headlines in the offseason.

He has been famously photographed partying and gambling, and even his decision to take classes online last semester became controversial. Manziel said his decision to limit himself exclusively to the virtual classroom was a reaction to the attention he was receiving on campus, though he expects to return to regular classes this summer and next fall.

Not long ago, he tweeted that he “can’t wait to leave college station... whenever it may be.”

“Don’t ever forget that I love A&M with all of my heart, but please please walk a day in my shoes,” he added.

Manziel even drew attention this weekend after leaving the Manning family’s football camp in Louisiana a day early, citing illness.

“After missing and being late for some practice assignments, Johnny explained that he had been feeling ill. Consequently, we agreed that it was in everyone’s best interest for him to go home a day early,” camp spokesman Greg Blackwell said Sunday.

The headlines won’t end any time soon: SEC media days are this week in Alabama, as are ESPN’s ESPY Awards.