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Kittel claims 12th stage

Germany’s Marcel Kittel overtook Mark Cavendish at the line Thursday to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France in Tours, and Chris Froome avoided a late crash in the main pack to preserve his big lead.

Cavendish moved in front but Kittel gained ground and just beat him to the line to earn his second stage win in three days and third of this race.

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German riders have won five stages so far, with Tony Martin capturing Wednesday’s time trial and Andre Greipel also winning a sprint stage.

Froome leads Alejandro Valverde by 3 minutes, 25 seconds and is 3:54 ahead of two-time former champion Alberto Contador. Froome is on track to become the second British rider to win the race — Bradley Wiggins won it last year.


Another Patriot in trouble

Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was arrested and accused of drunken driving in Nebraska while on probation for assaulting a police officer, the second New England player to get in serious legal trouble this summer.

Dennard’s early morning arrest in Lincoln, Neb., where he was a college star for the Cornhuskers, came 15 days after Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder.

Dennard’s arrest is his second in 15 months. He hasn’t served a 30-day jail sentence for the assault outside a Lincoln bar on April 21, 2012.

A former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader won a defamation lawsuit against a gossip website in a case that has been watched by First Amendment experts.

Sarah Jones wiped away tears after jurors in federal court in Covington, Ky., awarded her $338,000 in damages. The jury found that posts about her on the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based website in 2009 were substantially false. The jury also found website operator Nik Richie acted with malice or reckless disregard in posting the submissions he said were anonymous.


Billups returns to Detroit

Chauncey Billups and the Detroit Pistons agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract. Only the first season is guaranteed, for $2.5 million. Billups went to five straight All-Star Games with the Pistons.

Lakers waive World Peace

The Los Angeles Lakers waived Metta World Peace under the NBA’s amnesty provision, which will save the team about $15 million in luxury tax. He was set to earn $7.7 million next season, which the Lakers still must pay.


Kovalchuk gives up $77M

Star forward Ilya Kovalchuk stunned the New Jersey Devils, retiring from the NHL to return to his native Russia to play.

Kovalchuk, 30, walked away from the $77 million that was left on the 15-year contract he signed with New Jersey in 2010, including guaranteed annual salaries of at least $11 million over the next four seasons.

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Ole Miss guard had drugs

The Oxford police chief said Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson appeared to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana and cocaine during a traffic stop in May. Henderson was suspended from the team.


Jury sides with challengers

Tensions in the troubled America’s Cup could be easing after an international jury sided with challengers from New Zealand and Italy in their arguments that regatta director Iain Murray overstepped his authority in making rules changes after the fatal capsize of a third challenger’s catamaran two months ago.

One promising sign was that Italy’s Luna Rossa ended its boycott and sailed its 72-foot catamaran alone around the course on San Francisco Bay to collect its first point of the Louis Vuitton Cup for challengers.


• The Minnesota Timberwolves and veteran power forward Ronny Turiaf from Gonzaga agreed to a two-year, $3.2 million contract.

• The Portland Trail Blazers signed free-agent guard Earl Watson.

• The Brooklyn Nets agreed to a $3.2 million contract with free-agent forward Andrei Kirilenko.

• The Dallas Mavericks signed free-agent guard Jose Calderon to a four-year, $29 million deal.

• Attorneys representing a man who said he was beat up by Scottie Pippen filed a $4 million lawsuit against the former NBA All-Star in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Sara Nevins and Jessica Moore combined on a two-hitter, Valerie Arioto delivered a two-run single and the U.S. beat Canada 7-0 in six innings at the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City.

• American Michael Russell advanced to the semifinals at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I., by beating Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-5).

• Penn State’s former president Graham Spanier initiated a libel and defamation case against Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who a year ago produced a report for the school that was highly critical of Spanier’s role in the child sex-abuse scandal involving longtime assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

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