Sports Extra

NHL

NHLPA counters thrice times, but Bettman rejects all three

TORONTO - Hopes for a quick resumption of the NHL season are in jeopardy after Commissioner Gary Bettman rejected the NHL Players’ Association’s counterproposals Thursday, calling them a “step backward.”

The NHL’s latest proposal, delivered Tuesday, called for an immediate drop of the players’ share of hockey-related revenue from 57 percent to 50 percent.

“It’s clear we’re not even speaking the same language,” Bettman said.

The commissioner said his negotiating committee was heading back to New York, and that no new discussions were planned between the two sides.

Cycling

UCI could respond ‘any time’ to the Armstrong report

MILAN – Cycling’s governing body could respond “at any time” to the report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong was a serial drug cheat.

The International Cycling Union received USADA’s report last week and has until the end of the month to decide whether to accept the American agency’s decision to strip Armstrong of his Tour titles or appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“All we can confirm is that the deadline is Oct. 31,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told The Associated Press on Thursday. “But it could happen any time from (Friday) onwards.”

USADA banned Armstrong for life and said he should be stripped of his tour titles because of his involvement in “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

The USADA report already has cost Armstrong key sponsors, including Nike and Anheuser-Busch. Armstrong also stepped down Wednesday as chairman of the Livestrong cancer charity he founded.

Unlike Armstrong, Bruyneel will fight the USADA

BRUSSELS – Johan Bruyneel intends to fight charges he was a central figure in doping programs within Lance Armstrong’s teams, provided his defense hasn’t been “permanently prejudiced” by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s accusations.

Armstrong’s former manager was a key figure in USADA’s damning report into massive doping undertaken in American cycling teams he oversaw. While Armstrong chose not to contest the USADA charges, Bruyneel is opting for arbitration.

Cavendish flies from Sky for Omega Pharma-QuickStep

LONDON – Team Sky said cycling sprint star Mark Cavendish is leaving to join Belgium’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep for the 2013 season.

The British rider won three Tour de France stages this season in his only year with Team Sky, which he joined from HTC-Highroad at the end of the 2011 season.

But the British team said a “clash of priorities” meant Cavendish always was likely to leave, with the 2011 world champion forced into a support role for Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour de France this year.

Soccer

Americans finalize their friendly finale against Russia

CHICAGO – The U.S. soccer team will complete its 2012 schedule with an exhibition against Russia at Krasnodar on Nov. 14.

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the match Thursday. The game could be the last for the Americans before starting the final round of World Cup qualifying Feb. 6.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann is leaning toward scrapping the annual January training camp in Carson, Calif., which started in 2004.

Officials from the six teams in the final round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean – USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama and Jamaica – are to meet Friday in Miami in an attempt to work out a schedule for the matches next year. If they can’t, FIFA would conduct a draw.

Associated Press