On Saturday, the structure of pro racing will change fundamentally: 19 top teams are committed to riding each of 27 races, both multiday...

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Cycling


Reform could help market sport:

On Saturday, the structure of pro racing will change fundamentally: 19 top teams are committed to riding each of 27 races, both multiday tours and one-day classics. As a result, the sport will have the chance to market itself, as NASCAR and Formula One do in auto racing, as a yearlong series with a confirmed champion.

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Marketing is at the heart of the reform, according to officials of the International Cycling Union, which governs the sport.

“Mediawise, we can say that our sport is enormous, but from the point of view of the bottom line, it’s very small,” ICU president Hein Verbruggen said.

In a sport that has no admission fees, the new alignment, which is scheduled to be in place for at least four years, allows potentially lucrative deals with European television channels and an overall sponsor of what has been dubbed the ProTour.

According to The New York Times, Verbruggen valued the potential television rights of the ProTour at about $405 million.


College basketball



Phillips exits, Williamson named interim coach:

Tulsa men’s coach John Phillips resigned.

Assistant coach Alvin “Pooh” Williamson, 31, a former Washington State assistant, was named interim head coach for the rest of the season.

Phillips, 57, was 61-42 in three-plus seasons with the Golden Hurricane, 2-5 this season.


Junior hockey



U.S. beats Russia:

Dan Fritsche’s two goals helped the defending-champion U.S. team beat Russia 5-4 in the first round of the World Junior Hockey Championship in Grand Forks, N.D.

Canada defeated Slovakia 7-3.


Horse racing



Santa Anita season opens today:

Harvard Avenue, owned by Emerald Downs president Ron Crockett, is entered in today’s Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.

The $250,000 Malibu is the feature race on the opening card of the 85-day Santa Anita season, which runs through April 18. Twelve 3-year-olds entered the Malibu, and Bobby Frankel-trained Mass Media is the morning-line favorite at 5-2. Harvard Avenue is listed at 12-1.


Carson City dies:

Carson City, a sire of at least 72 stakes winners, died Friday at Overbrook Farm near Lexington, Ky., according to The Blood-Horse Web site. He was 17.

Seattle Times news services