Cavendish sprints to Swiss victory

Mark Cavendish stormed to victory as stage four of the Tour of Switzerland came down to a bunch sprint finish while Germany’s Tony Martin retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.

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Cavendish’s powerful kick in the closing stages of the 160km ride on Tuesday from Heiden to Ossingen enabled the Briton to hold off Spain’s Juan Jose Lobato and Slovakian Peter Sagan, who won stage three a day earlier.

Australia’s Matthew Goss crossed the line in 10th and was among nine riders to share the same time behind Cavendish.

“My team worked really hard to chase down the breakaway and stay in front the entire day to protect me,” said Cavendish, who picked up a welcome tonic in his Tour de France preparation.

“I followed Mark Renshaw in the final and Mark was incredible. He led me through the peloton, and put me in the position to lead it out.”

“It was a headwind and uphill finish, so it was really about timing your sprint perfectly. I knew I had to go between 200 metres and 150 metres to go.

“So, I waited, and even though the others jumped before I still went at the right time. I was able to hold on until the finish,” added the Isle of Man native, who will go into next month’s Tour de France with 25 stage wins, only nine behind all-time stage winner Eddy Merckx of Belgium.

Cycling’s most prestigious race begins July 5 in Leeds, England and runs until July 27.

Prior to Cavendish’s exploits on Tuesday a sprint finish had seemed inevitable with just two category four climbs for riders to navigate and so it was the case after early breakaway pair Laurens de Vreese and Daniel Teklehaimanot were reeled in by the peloton.

De Vreese and Teklehaimanot were allowed to open up a lead of almost four minutes before the pack began to chase the duo down with 50km remaining and finally caught them 10km from the finish, leading to a fiercely contested finale.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Martin, who has worn yellow since winning the opening time-trial, finished safely in the peloton to maintain his six second advantage over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin.

Bradley Wiggins endured another miserable day, though, as the 2012 Tour de France champion suffered a crash with around 25km remaining, leaving him with cuts and grazes on his legs.

Wednesday’s stage five is another relatively flat stage although the 184km ride from Ossingen to Buren an der Aare does feature four minor climbs and will encourage breakaways.

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Complaints about data fees on the rise

More mobile users are complaining of being hit with up to thousands of dollars in fees for exceeding data limits.

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The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman says overall mobile and network complaints dropped by almost a fifth in the first three months of the year, compared to early 2013.

But while complaints about faults such as slow data speeds dropped 67 per cent, disputes over excess data charges rose by nearly a third.

Ombudsman Simon Cohen says mobile plan customers have been shocked to discover huge charges for exceeding their data cap.

“Commonly we are seeing consumers come to us with complaints in the hundreds to thousands of dollars,” he told AAP.

“It might be the case where the consumer has a low cost service but the amount charged for excessive data use is at a very high rate, and as a result the charge they received is many times the regular monthly bill they were expecting.”

Many consumers felt the charges weren’t properly explained to them from the beginning, and that they couldn’t get the telecommunications provider to properly hear their complaint.

“A great deal of clarity of how customers are being charged is critical to reducing problems down the track,” Mr Cohen said.

“Many Australians have finely balanced budgets and they don’t have the flexibility to have significant variations in charges for basic utilities like mobile phones.”

One in three internet disputes were over billing issues, with many complaints related to faulty services or late connections.

The ombudsman received 36,256 new complaints in the three months to the end of March.

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Kaymer’s U.S. Open victory has us buzzing, says McGinley

“On the back of Martin’s win, it creates a buzz for everybody at this tournament, everybody in the European Tour in the background and obviously me (as) Ryder Cup captain,” said McGinley.

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“It is exciting. There are a lot of exciting players in the field. Obviously Rory McIlroy is going to get a lot of attention and Graeme McDowell, too. It’s all good and there is a good buzz around the place.”

With all four Major champions from both sides of the Irish border in the field – Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, McDowell and McIlroy – McGinley is looking forward to big home crowds at the event, which has returned to Cork for the first time in 12 years.

“I think some venues are blessed with good weather and Fota Island seems to be blessed,” added McGinley, who will lead the European team against the United States at Gleneagles in Scotland in September.

“The last time we were here the weather was sensational, as well, and looks like we are going to have a tremendous week too, the way the forecast is.”

Ryder Cup stalwart Harrington, who finished tied second and tied sixth when the Irish Open was last played at Fota Island, in 2001 and 2002, was equally happy at the prospect of a return.

“It’s obviously been a happy hunting ground for me over the years. I do like the venue. I like the atmosphere the venue gives off,” said the three-time major champion.

He will play alongside McIlroy and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher for the opening two rounds, while McDowell and fellow Irishman Shane Lowry will be joined by defending champion Paul Casey.

(Reporting By Tony Goodson; editing by Martyn Herman)

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Dutch wary of Socceroos ambush

The Netherlands are bracing for an Australian ambush despite the Socceroos losing foot soldier Mark Milligan to injury for their World Cup battle.

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Milligan’s hamstring strain has sidelined him from a second group match in Porto Alegre fixture on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) that is making the highly-fancied Dutch a little nervous.

As Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal batted away numerous questions about winning the World Cup in the wake of his team’s defeat of champions Spain, his star midfielder Wesley Sneijder insisted Australia could prove more difficult to topple than Spain.

“It’s perfectly possible,” Sneijder told reporters on Tuesday.

“We have never won against Australia. We have played them three times and we didn’t win so it will be a difficult match.

“After the 5-1 victory (against Spain) everybody will have taken a light view of this. But we will not.”

Australian coach Ange Postecoglou was forced into another reshuffle after Milligan reported a hamstring tightness.

Postecoglou, who declined to nominate Milligan’s replacement, must also cover injured defender Ivan Franjic, who has returned home with a torn hamstring.

Despite the double blows, Postecoglou promised his rank underdogs won’t adopt defensive tactics to try and stifle the rampant Dutch, led by their twin strike force of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben who both bagged doubles against Spain.

“That is not why we came to the World Cup,” Postecoglou declared on Tuesday.

“We know we’ll have to be very strong defensively because the Dutch are very dangerous going forward and they proved that against Spain.

“The other side of that is, if we just try to defend for 90 minutes there is only going to be one result and that won’t be in our favour.

“It’s just as important that we’re dangerous when we have the ball, and I think we can be.”

His Dutch counterpart van Gaal believed Postecoglou wasn’t bluffing.

“I do not expect Australia to have a defensive game,” van Gaal told reporters.

“I also expect Australia to play an offensive game because, indeed, their national coach is basing himself on this.

“He should line up (Tim) Cahill in such a game while he is one of the unique qualities of the Australian team.

“So I do think that they will be playing a much more offensive game than anybody thinks.”

Both coaches welcomed the cooler climes of Porto Alegre, with a forecast maximum temperature of 15 degrees on match day.

“With the cooler conditions you can expect a quicker tempo and maybe for the game to be a little more compact,” Postecoglou said.

“We know both teams like to play attacking football. The Dutch do, and that is certainly our intent.”

Captain Mile Jedinak said the Socceroos were prepared for a rapid-fire encounter, confident the jitters that cruelled Australia in their 3-1 opening loss to Chile had dissolved.

“We did address it after the game – obviously it was too late then,” Jedinak said.

“But a lot of players were playing in their first World Cup, the biggest game of their careers.

“That was the unfortunate thing that happened in that game.

“But the key part in that was the response, what you saw after that first 20 minutes. And I know that will drive the boys going forward.”

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