Where to Catch the Stars this Weekend

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It’s another action-packed weekend of sport featuring your favourite Olympians.

Tennis fans will be looking forward to the final Grand Slam of the season, the US Open, which gets underway in New York on Monday.

But there is plenty of excitement before then including the start of one of cycling’s great races.

LINING UP FOR LA VUELTA

La Vuelta a Espana kicks off on Saturday with an eight-kilometre individual time trial in Picasso’s birthplace Malaga.

Chris Froome has chosen not to defend his title but 2016 champion Nairo Quintana lines up with fellow previous winners, Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru.

Simon Yates, who led for much of this year’s Giro d’Italia, is one of the favourites with his brother Adam hoping to help him secure a first Grand Tour.

Like Nibali, Richie Porte crashed out of last month’s Tour de France but the Australian is another rider expected to go well.

With Le Tour hero Geraint Thomas also missing, the last Grand Tour of 2018 looks wide open.

David de la Cruz heads Team Sky’s challenge in Froome and Thomas’s absence.

Peter Sagan returns to La Vuelta for the first time since 2015 when he was forced to quit after collision with an in-race motorbike.

The Slovak is seeking stage wins as he warms up for a tilt at a fourth consecutive world road race title in Innsbruck, Austria next month.

The battle for the coveted red jersey ends in Madrid on September 16th.

PADDLES UP IN PORTUGAL

Gold medals at the Canoe Sprint World Championships will be decided in Montemor O Velho in the west of Portugal this weekend.

The highlight could be the women’s K1 500m with the top three from Rio 2016 reopposing.

Hungary’s Danuta Kozak was victorious two years ago ahead of Denmark’s Emma Jorgensen and Lisa Carrington of New Zealand who had already retained her 200m title from London 2012.

Kozak – the most succesful Olympian in canoe sprint history with five gold medals – is returning to action after taking a maternity break following the Rio Games.

Carrington is bidding for a sixth consecutive world title in the K1 200m and she cannot wait to get started.

On the men’s side, Germany’s three-time gold medallist Sebastian Brendel will be seeking to add to his tally of nine world titles in the C1 1000m, 5000m and C2 1000m.

Others to watch out for include Brazil’s three-time Olympic silver canoe sprint medallist Isaquias Dos Santos, and double C1 500m world champion Martin Fuksa of the Czech Republic.

RONALDO’S MAKES JUVE HOME DEBUT

Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo makes his Serie A home debut for Juventus on Saturday against Lazio.

For a change, the 33-year-old failed to find the net in his first match last weekend as the Italian champions came from behind to win 3-2 win at Chievo Verona.

But Turin has been a happy hunting ground for Ronaldo.

He scored for Real Madrid at Juventus in the Champions League group stages and semi-finals in the 2013-14 season.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner also hit the back of the net twice for Madrid in the quarter-finals this year.

MOUNTAIN BIKER WORLD CUP DRAWS TO A CLOSE

The final round of this year’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup takes place in La Bresse, France.

With Olympic champion Nino Schurter already claiming his sixth men’s overall title, the focus is on the battle for the women’s crown.

Jolanda Neff is on course to regain the title she won in 2014 and 2015 after winning in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada two weeks ago.

The Swiss rider will be hoping to complete the series victory before going to the World Championships on home soil in Lenzerheide.

Her nearest rival for the World Cup is reigning world champion Annika Langvad with the pair on two wins apiece this season.

Danish rider Langvad is bidding for a her fifth world title in Lenzerheide, but she is focused on La Bresse first.

Langvad also has four wins in the short-track XCC category which is new for this year.

Matthias Fluekiger scored his first win in Canada with his fellow Swiss Schurter only seventh, and he will be hoping to back up that victory.

Italy’s Gerhard Kerschbaumer and 2018 Commonwealth Games champion Sam Gaze are also among the contenders.

TRIATHLON WORLD SERIES HEADS TO CANADA

Montreal hosts the penultimate round of this year’s World Triathlon Series.

Olympic bronze medallist Henri Schoeman is among the stars in action with the South African’s last WTS appearance coming in Leeds, UK in June.

Before that, Schoeman won the Commonwealth Games in April and he is hoping to find form ahead of next month’s Grand Final, also at Australia’s Gold Coast.

Spain’s Mario Mola leads the overall standings and has already booked his place on the Gold Coast as he bids for a third consecutive world title.

Katie Zaferes leads the women’s standings despite failing to win in the six previous rounds.

The American has been supremely consistent, however, finishing in the top six every time.

Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Vicky Holland is second after two triumphs this season with Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, like Mola seeking a hat-trick of world titles, also winning twice this term.

USA WOMEN BID FOR WATER POLO SWEEP OF AUSTRALIA

Two-time Olympic champions USA will face Australia in the third of a three-game series in Santa Barbara, California.

The Americans are on course for a series sweep having won the first two games 9-2 and 11-4.

Kami Craig, a gold medallist from 2012 and 2016 and a silver medallist from 2008, will be honoured for her contribution during the match following her retirement at the end of last year.

OTHER EVENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR

There is a plethora of top sporting action on Olympic Channel this weekend including the Asian Games.

We have already seen a future Olympic star in the form of Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee, with athletics now taking centre stage.

You can watch the action from Indonesia including the men’s marathon on Olympic Channel (geo-restrictions apply).

Also on Olympic Channel is the latest round of the FEI Nations Cup from Millstreet, Ireland featuring eventing and jumping.

Plus there is stage four of the 3×3 World Tour Masters in Lausanne.

Also in basketball, but this time five on five, Olympic Channel has live coverage of the closing stages of basketball’s U16 Women’s European Championships.

Winter Games NZ is underway with the first few days dominated by the Junior World Championships for freestyle skiing and snowboarding.

Norway’s Birk Ruud heads the contenders for the Big Air skiing at Cardrona Alpine Resort.

Birk Ruud of Norway in action

Other top contenders lining up include Sweden’s Oliwer Magnusson and Kiernan Fagan of the USA with all three possible medal hopes for when big air skiing making its Olympic debut at Beijing 2020.

Next weekend, Cardrona will see the likes of Olympic champions Sarah Hoefflin and Redmond Gerard in action.

And in volleyball, Poland’s men welcome three of their rivals in next month’s World Championship to the Hubert Wagner Memorial Tournament.

Russia, France and Canada are the other nations taking part in the three-day round robin event in Krakow.

Wagner was a former Polish international who played at the 1968 Mexico City Games, and was the head coach of Poland’s gold medal winning team at Montreal 1976.

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