British cyclist Mark Cavendish of the Omega Pharma — Quick-Step team won the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia that was marred by a crash shortly before the finish in Naples.

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Cavendish captures

opening stage of Giro

British standout Mark Cavendish of the Omega Pharma — Quick-Step team won the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia that was marred by a crash shortly before the finish in Naples.

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The main pack was split into two groups Saturday when riders went down with slightly more than a mile to go in the 81-mile leg and less than a dozen riders were left in front to contest the sprint.

Cavendish won in 2 hours, 58 minutes, 38 seconds. He has won a combined 37 stages at the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta — cycling’s three Grand Tours.

Italian Elia Viviani of the Cannondale team was second.

American Taylor Phinney of the BMC team finished 23rd.

It was the 11th Giro-stage victory of Cavendish’s career and his 98th overall. He will wear the overall leader’s pink jersey in Sunday’s second stage, a team time trial on the nearby island of Ischia.

Cavendish said, “I really wanted to win this here in Napoli. … Now I want to go for a pizza.”

The race ends May 26 in Brescia.


Joeckel is adjusting

Jacksonville offensive tackle Luke Joeckel is going through an awkward stage.

The former Texas A&M standout’s hand placement, foot stagger and set balance seem strange — all part of his transition from left to right tackle.

Joeckel has been dominant through two days of rookie minicamp, showing why the Jaguars made him the second selection in the first round of the draft April 25.

Joeckel hasn’t allowed a sack or even a pressure in team drills. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise because he’s going against undrafted rookies and tryout players.

“It’s feeling a lot better than I thought it would,” Joeckel said after a rain-soaked practice. “My set felt a lot cleaner today and my first step felt a little bit faster today. It’s going to be a process, but it’s moving along pretty well.”

The Jaguars have Joeckel locked into a starting role this fall, with hopes he will help solidify an offensive line that allowed 50 sacks last season.

“He has excellent movement skills, great balance, he’s a very smart kid,” offensive-line coach George Yarno said. “He’s working hard. He’s going to get better fast. He’s competitive. Love what I’ve seen so far.”

Yarno is a former Washington State player.

College football

Lowery is hurt in wreck

Kentucky safety Ashely Lowery was hospitalized in Georgia with injuries suffered in a car accident Friday.

Lowery played in eight games as a sophomore last season and was fifth on the team with 43 tackles.


Germans advance

Tommy Haas will play defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber in an all-German final at the BMW Open in Munich.

The third-seeded Haas defeated Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-4, 6-3 in a semifinal. Kohlschreiber edged compatriot Daniel Brands 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) to set up the first all-German title match in Munich in 48 years.


• Kansas officials said they were reviewing a report that Ben McLemore‘s former AAU basketball coach had accepted cash payments from a middleman who was attempting to attract the Jayhawks’ freshman on behalf of sports agents and financial advisers in Los Angeles.

The payments, detailed in a USA Today story, were reportedly made by Rodney Blackstock, the founder of a sports-mentoring organization based in Greensboro, N.C., to Darius Cobb, the St. Louis-based AAU coach who served as a coach and mentor to McLemore during the player’s childhood in St. Louis.

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