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Zulle Races to Win Prologue in Tour de France

From Staff and Wire Reports

Alex Zulle, last year’s runner-up in the Tour de France, won the cycling race’s prologue Saturday as five-time defending champion Miguel Indurain finished seventh.

Zulle, a Swiss, was timed in 10 minutes, 53 seconds over the 5.8-mile rain-slicked route through Den Bosch, Netherlands, which is southeast of Amsterdam.

“I didn’t think I could win,” Zulle said. “Because of the wet corners, I didn’t think I could make it.”

American Lance Armstrong, the 1993 world road race champion, was 24 seconds behind Zulle in 12th place.

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Indurain, the last of the riders out in the individual time trial for the fifth consecutive year and wearing the yellow jersey as defending champion, was 12 seconds back. The Spaniard is attempting to become the first to win the Tour six times.

Chris Boardman, with two screws in an ankle fractured in a prologue crash one year ago, was second, two seconds behind Zulle.

Jurisprudence

Former Dallas police officer Johnnie Hernandez, accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill Cowboy receiver Michael Irvin, wants his bail reduced and his lawyer wants to see the evidence against his client.

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Hernandez, who quit the Dallas police force after his Thursday arrest, was in a private cell under suicide watch in the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, held in lieu of a $250,000 bond for the solicitation charge and $2,500 bond for the bribery charge.

“We’re working on setting up an examining trial right now,” said Hernandez’s attorney, Frank Perez. “I want to see that they do have probable cause to hold him, and it’s also an opportunity to see their evidence.”

Hernandez was arrested after paying an undercover officer, posing as a hit man, to have Irvin killed. While investigating the Irvin case, Dallas officers say they learned that Hernandez sold classified criminal records of an unidentified person to an undercover officer for $300 earlier this month.

Hernandez and his longtime girlfriend, a 24-year-old topless dancer, have been subpoenaed as witnesses in Irvin’s drug trial stemming from a March 4 party at an Irving, Texas, motel. The girlfriend, Rachelle Marie Smith, was a friend of the women caught with Irvin at the motel where police were called to break up a loud party. Smith was subpoenaed because her name appeared on motel registration records.

Sean Hutson, a former University of California at Davis football player arrested in March for theft of university electronic equipment, has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor burglary charge.

Hutson, 25, admitted taking a computer, printer, television set, video recorder and portable stereo from a Hickey Gym office. Judge Timothy Fall granted Hutson probation on the condition that he complete a drug diversion program. Hutson was the Aggies’ leading receiver over the first six games last season before leaving school.

Pro Hockey

The Phoenix Coyotes are preparing to introduce Calgary Flame assistant Don Hay as their new head coach, according to the Arizona Republic.

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The Coyotes scheduled a news conference for Monday but declined to say what would be discussed. Hay, 42, is expected to be in Phoenix for the conference, according to reports.

The Coyotes, the transplanted Winnipeg Jets, have been without a head coach since Terry Simpson was fired May 14.

Hay, who had two years remaining on his three-year contract with Calgary, was considered a leading candidate for the Phoenix job from the start. However, it appeared he wouldn’t get it after Phoenix balked at the Flames’ compensation demands before last Saturday’s NHL entry draft.

Calgary reportedly wanted to swap first-round draft choices with the Coyotes and receive Phoenix’s second-round pick in next year’s draft. Phoenix offered a third-round pick this year or next year.

The Republic said the Flames have agreed on a third-round pick in next year’s draft as compensation for hiring Hay.

Motor Sports

Two-time world champion Michael Schumacher won a pole position for the third time this year, driving his Ferrari to the leading qualifying time for the French Grand Prix. Schumacher averaged 125.136 mph and is bidding for a third consecutive victory in this race.

The second-fastest qualifier for today’s race was Damon Hill, who has won five of the first eight races this season. Hill, who drove a Williams-Renault, was faster than Schumacher on the first two thirds of the track before losing time on the final two turns.

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Jimmy Vasser gained the provisional pole for today’s Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland with a lap of 146.194 mph. Alex Zanardi, last week’s winner at Portland and Vasser’s Target-Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, was the second-fastest qualifier.

“The key here, like a lot of races, is to be there at the end,” said Vasser, who earned one championship point for winning the pole. “This is a long race and you can’t do anything foolish at the start. Last year, I got a podium finish [third] because I was around at the end. I wasn’t all that strong, but a lot of things happened right at the end and it helped me out.”

Miscellany

Times columnist Jim Murray was named sportswriter of 30 years at the 30th Victor Awards in Las Vegas. The awards benefit the City of Hope Medical Center.

Fired basketball coach Hugh Durham and the University of Georgia reached a contract settlement 15 months after Durham’s firing, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. The deal is said to be worth more than $500,000 to Durham, who coached the Bulldogs for 17 seasons before being fired on March 19, 1995. He was replaced by Tubby Smith.

Don Casey, who once coached the Clippers and spent the last six seasons as an assistant with the Boston Celtics, has joined John Calipari’s staff with the New Jersey Nets.


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