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Sports briefs for Oct. 26, 2012

The Associated Press

Long John race at Unity Raceway Saturday

UNITY — With good weather in the forecast, the annual Long John 100-lap Late Model race will finally cap the racing season in the state of Maine on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. at Unity Raceway.

It was rained out two weeks ago.

Three-time Long John winner Jeff Burgess, Speedway 95 Late Model points champion Andy Saunders and Unity Raceway Late Model points titlist Ajay Picard are among the favorites.

There will be several other races as well.

Ex-NY Giant Taylor wins teen hotel sex tryst case

NEW YORK — NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor celebrated with a cigar on Friday and pledged to concentrate on his “broken life” after a jury rejected a woman’s claims that he assaulted her by failing to recognize her distress when he had sex with her in a hotel room when she was 16 years old.

The jury in U.S. District Court in Manhattan deliberated for about an hour before siding with Taylor, who appeared relieved as he turned around and gave a thumbs-up to a friend on a court bench behind him. Outside court, Taylor signed a copy of the verdict sheet belonging to his lawyer, Arthur Aidala, and then spoke about his future and his past.

Taylor, led the New York Giants to Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991, said he wanted to go home to Broward County, Fla., and “concentrate on my own broken life and try to repair that.”

Asked to elaborate, he said: “I’ve done a lot of things I need to address. I look forward to going home.”

Outside the courthouse, Taylor, whose post-NFL life has been marred by missteps including drug and tax charges, smoked a cigar. When asked what kind, he said, “Redemption.”

The verdict came after a four-day trial in which Taylor testified that he had sex with a “very, very pretty” prostitute in 2010 but denied accusations that he ignored obvious signs she was a teen runaway who had been beaten and forced to meet with him. He said she told him she was 19.

UCI: Tour winner list stays blank in Armstrong era

GENEVA — The seven Tour de France titles stripped from Lance Armstrong will not be awarded to any riders, and the American cyclist and his teammates should return their prize money, the sport’s governing body said Friday.

Acknowledging “a cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period,” the UCI said the list of Tour winners will remain blank for the years from 1999 to 2005.

“This might appear harsh for those who rode clean (but) they would understand there was little honor to be gained in reallocating places,” the UCI said after a board meeting in Geneva.

The UCI said Armstrong and “all other affected riders” in the case should return their prize money. That amounts to almost $4 million in Tour money from Armstrong.

Armstrong attorney Sean Breen declined comment.

The cycling body also ordered an independent, outside investigation to examine allegations about the UCI’s conduct and its relationship with Armstrong raised by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that detailed systematic cheating by the Texan and his teammates. In the report, UCI is accused of making a financial deal from Armstrong to cover up a suspicious doping test.

Riders and officials involved in doping programs will also be targeted by the inquiry commission. “Part of the independent commission’s remit would be to find ways to ensure that persons caught for doping were no longer able to take part in the sport, including as part of an entourage,” the UCI said in a statement.

Sharapova beats Stosur at WTA Championships

ISTANBUL — Maria Sharapova swept past Sam Stosur 6-0, 6-3 at the WTA Championships on Friday to retain a small chance of finishing the year as the No. 1-ranked player.

But if Victoria Azarenka beats Li Na in the final match of the day, Azarenka will be assured of staying No. 1.

Agnieszka Radwanska became the third player to advance to the semifinals when she edged Sara Errani of Italy 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4 in a match that lasted 3 1/2 hours. The fourth-ranked Radwanska will play Serena Williams on Saturday.

Sharapova had already qualified for the semifinals of the elite, eight-woman event and has won all three of her round-robin matches.

The Russian rolled through the first set, allowing Stosur only five points. Stosur was an alternate who replaced defending champion Petra Kvitova, who withdrew because of illness.

“I certainly didn’t want to play as long a match as I did in the previous round. I wanted to do a better job of a few things and I think I did,” said second-ranked Sharapova.

Stosur put up more of a fight in the second set, but Sharapova ended it with a smash. Sharapova won the French Open this year and briefly held the No. 1 ranking.

Ravens fined $20K for not listing Reed’s injury

NEW YORK — The NFL fined the Baltimore Ravens $20,000 Friday for not listing safety Ed Reed on the team’s injury report.

Reed publicly acknowledged his right shoulder injury Oct. 17, a few days before the Ravens played Houston and said it could be affecting his play. The Pro Bowl safety played during practices and games after the injury occurred.

The league he should have been listed on the injury report with a shoulder injury and was fully participating in practice.

The NFL’s policy on injury reports states that players with “significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice.” The rule covers players the team is certain will play in upcoming games.

Reed has played in every game this season. He has 30 tackles, two interceptions — including a 34-yard return for a touchdown — and seven passes defensed.

Washington and Buffalo were fined $20,000 each for similar infractions last week.

Former Steeler Hines Ward to tackle Ironman next

Hines Ward is trading the gridiron for the Ironman.

The former Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver and 2006 Super Bowl MVP is training for the 2013 Kona Ironman championships as part of the “Become One” program sponsored by Refuel’s “got chocolate milk” campaign.

The 36-year-old Ward retired after being released by the Steelers last spring. He holds the franchise record with 1,000 career receptions and was selected to the Pro Bowl four times. Ward is one of only two players in NFL history with 1,000 catches and two Super Bowl rings.

Known as one of the most physical players at his position, Ward understands the next 12 months will require a different kind of toughness.

“For 14 years I’ve always kind of put my body on the line, going out there catching passes and blocking and putting my body through hell really each and every Sunday,” Ward said. “For me (the Ironman) is about the learning experience.”

One that will include two amateur athletes who will be selected to train with Ward for the race, which will be documented in the “Become One” web series. Ward expects to go through a culture shock while transitioning from the breakneck pace of the NFL to the steady grind of the Ironman, which requires a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full 26.2 marathon.

“In the NFL, it’s all about speed,” Ward said. “It’s about going as fast as you can possibly go for five seconds … This is about how hard can I maintain to keep this pace for a long period of time.”

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