Team Sky's future has been plunged into doubt with the news their main headline sponsor will end their involvement in cycling after the 2019 season.

Sky confirmed on Wednesday that the next 12 months will be their last on the UCI World Tour, leaving the future Dave Brailsford's team unclear.

Brailsford launched the team in 2010 and has enjoyed unprecedented success as Team Sky, winning 322 times – including eight Grand Tours and 25 one-day races.

Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas have all won the Tour de France yellow jersey racing for the team - success that has brought some animosity towards the British team on the road.

Questions about the legality of Wiggins' win and Froome's adverse analytical finding this year have turned some fans against the team.

Froome, who infamously had urine thrown on him at the 2015 Tour, was cleared of any wrongdoing over his use of salbutamol by the UCI ahead of July's event.

Wiggins and Team Sky strongly refuted claims by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee that they crossed an "ethical line" by using legal drugs to allegedly enhance the performance of the 2012 Tour winner.

What happens after the 2019 season remains unclear, although cycling teams regular change main sponsors so another having to seek funding is nothing new.

And Brailsford confirmed the team are open to new opportunities but gave no guarantees that cycling's most successful squad in recent times would be in the peloton from 2020.

"The vision for Team Sky began with the ambition to build a clean, winning team around a core of British riders and staff," he said.

"The team's success has been the result of the talent, dedication and hard work of a remarkable group of people who have constantly challenged themselves to scale new heights of performance. None of this would have been possible without Sky. We are proud of the part we have played in Britain's transformation into a cycling nation over the last decade.

"While Sky will be moving on at the end of next year, the team is open minded about the future and the potential of working with a new partner, should the right opportunity present itself. 

"For now, I would like to thank all Team Sky riders and staff, past and present - and above all the fans who have supported us on this adventure.

 "We aren't finished yet by any means. There is another exciting year of racing ahead of us and we will be doing everything we can to deliver more Team Sky success in 2019."

Manchester City will look to secure top spot in Group F as the Champions League group stage ends on Wednesday, with Manchester United and Juventus also jostling for position in Group H.

Most of the placings in Groups E through to H have already been decided but Lyon are among the teams scrambling to finish in the top two, while Europa League spots are also on the line.

United boss Jose Mourinho has already confirmed Paul Pogba will face Valencia after a spell where the midfielder has been in and out of the team, the France star having been influential in their Champions League campaign.

Here, we assess all eight games on Wednesday's schedule with the use of Opta numbers as the group stage is wrapped up ahead of Christmas.

 

Real Madrid v CSKA Moscow

33 - Madrid have failed to score in only one of their last 33 Champions League matches - but that was when they lost 1-0 to CSKA this season.

7 - Gareth Bale has been involved in seven goals in his last five Champions League appearances; scoring five and assisting two more.

Viktoria Plzen v Roma

17 - Plzen have only ever kept one clean sheet in their 17 Champions League matches – this coming in a 1-0 away win over BATE in November 2011.

15 - Edin Dzeko has scored 15 Champions League goals for Roma; just two off Francesco Totti's club record (17). The Bosnian has five goals in four outings in the competition this season.


Ajax v Bayern Munich

20 - Ajax have lost just one of their last 20 European home matches (W13 D6 L1), winning all five of their games in Amsterdam in 2018-19.

31 - Arjen Robben (31 goals) is now the outright second top scoring Dutch player in Champions League history behind Ruud van Nistelrooy (56), having moved ahead of Roy Makaay and Patrick Kluivert (both 29).

Benfica v AEK Athens

8 - AEK have failed to score in eight of their 11 away matches in European competition since the start of 2016-17.

4 - Since the beginning of last season, Benfica have won just four points from a possible 33 in the Champions League group stage (W1 D1 L9).


Manchester City v Hoffenheim

4 - Riyad Mahrez has assisted more goals (four) than any other player in the Champions League this season, setting up a team-mate once every 75 minutes.

42 - There have already been 42 goals scored in this group so far; the most for any group in Champions League history is 51, set by Group F, comprising Borussia Dortmund, Madrid, Legia Warsaw and Sporting CP, in 2016-17.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Lyon

13 - Brazilian players have had 13 goal involvements in Shakhtar's seven Champions League goals so far this season (seven goals, six assists); more than any other team in the competition this season.

3 - Houssem Aouar and Memphis Depay have assisted three goals in the Champions League this season. The last Lyon player to assist four or more goals during the group stages was Juninho Pernambucano in 2006-07 (five).


Valencia v Manchester United

60 -  Pogba has been directly involved in 60 per cent (three out of five) of United's away goals in the Champions League this season (two goals and one assist).

6 - Valencia have failed to score in six of their last eight games in the Champions League, including last time out against Juventus (1-0).


Young Boys v Juventus

46 - Juve head coach Massimiliano Allegri has seen his side return a clean sheet in 46 per cent of his Champions League games (37/81) – only Diego Simeone (54 per cent) and Fabio Capello (48 per cent) have a better rate among managers with over 50 games in the competition.

2 - Young Boys have the worst shot conversion rate of any side in the Champions League this season (3.1) – just two of their 64 shots have resulted in goals.

The Houston Rockets inserted Eric Gordon into the starting lineup in an attempt to give them a boost and it paid off against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

Houston topped the Trail Blazers 111-103, despite trailing by as many as 15 in the first quarter. The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Rockets and they will hope to build on their success with the change.

Gordon contributed 14 points on six-of-13 shooting while James Harden showcased his proficiency as a scorer by pouring in a team-high 29 points. Houston also benefited from the all-round effort of Chris Paul, who recorded his first triple-double of the season with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists on a cold shooting night.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum led Portland with 34 and 22 points respectively.

The Rockets have struggled so far this season but Tuesday was definitely a bright spot.

Forbes fabulous for Spurs

Bryn Forbes scored a game-high 24 points and was a perfect five-of-five shooting from three-point range in a 111-86 victory for the Spurs over the Suns.

T.J. Warren scored a team-high 23 points for the Suns on nine-of-16 shooting in their loss to the Spurs.

 

Jackson struggles

Josh Jackson played a team-high 35 minutes for the Suns but scored just seven points on two-of-14 shooting.

 

Tremendous Teodosic

Milos Teodosic was slinging dimes left and right for the Clippers against the Raptors.

Tuesday's results

Houston Rockets 111-103 Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs 111-86 Phoenix Suns
Toronto Raptors 123-99 Los Angeles Clippers

 

Raptors at Warriors

Toronto claimed a 131-128 victory the last time they played Golden State, but the Warriors were missing Stephen Curry. Kawhi Leonard sat out Toronto's game against the Clippers on Tuesday and his status is unclear. This has a chance to be an NBA Finals preview.

Kawhi Leonard will not play in the Toronto Raptors' matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday because of a sore right hip, coach Nick Nurse told reporters.

Leonard originally suffered the injury late in Toronto's 104-99 home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, according to TSN.

Leonard went through shootaround before the contest in Los Angeles but was still sore.

"He did go through shootaround," Nurse said. "We were hoping he would pass the test and go, but it was a little too sore."

The two-time All-Star's status is uncertain for the Raptors' road game against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

Leonard has averaged 26.1 points and 8.3 rebounds in 22 games for the Raptors in 2018-19. He has shot 48.8 per cent from the field and 38.1 per cent from three-point range.

The 27-year-old star is in his first season with the Raptors. He and Danny Green were sent from the San Antonio Spurs to Toronto in exchange for a package centred around DeMar DeRozan.

The Raptors will enter their matchup against the Clippers with a 21-7 record.

Jimmy Butler has opened up about the infamous practice he was involved in while he was still a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Butler asked to be moved out of Minnesota in mid-September and the team finally honoured his request by dealing him to the Philadelphia 76ers two months later.

But, shortly before he was traded, Butler took part in a scrimmage where he challenged multiple team-mates as well as Minnesota's coaching staff and executives.

Butler discussed the incident during a recent appearance on The JJ Redick Podcast. Redick and Butler are now team-mates in Philadelphia.

The 29-year-old star said he was set off when someone in the organisation told him he had to practice.

"First of all, I have a for-real problem with authority," Butler said. "When somebody's telling me what to do as a grown man, I have a problem with it. So now you done lit the match, but ain't nothin' on fire yet. You just lit the match.

"I was on one [angry], there you go. I was on one. All because he lit the match. I would've been cool otherwise."

Butler said he started "yapping" after winning multiple scrimmages while playing with the Timberwolves' third-stringers.

"I always talk, anyways. If you can't tell, I'm always talking, talking about how somebody can't guard me, or nobody can beat me," Butler said. "I do that. That's what I do. This time it was just a little bit different 'cause of whose team I was on and I ain't been around, so it was just taken up a notch and it didn't help who was watching – ownership, management, all of that good stuff."

Butler reportedly had an impressive performance during the practice. But, he said "the most interesting detail" from that day had yet to be revealed.

"I was dominating, but I only shot the ball once," Butler said. "Dimes, boom, boom, boom. Steals, blocks. I only shot the ball one time."

Butler has averaged 19.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 13 games with the 76ers so far.

 

Defending champions Kingston Hummingbirds will be looking to give their bench players some game time but will be hunting another win when they take on the St. Catherine Racers on Wednesday night.

Iberostar Tenerife bounced back from their first Basketball Champions League defeat of the season with a last-ditch victory on Tuesday while defending champions AEK Athens won again.

Jimmy Butler's MRI "came back favourable" but the Philadelphia 76ers star is still listed as doubtful for Wednesday's game against the Brooklyn Nets with a groin strain, according to head coach Brett Brown.

The Toronto Blue Jays have released five-time MLB All-Star Troy Tulowitzki, it was announced on Tuesday.

Head coach Bernard Jackman has left the Dragons after 18 months in charge. 

The Minnesota Vikings have fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, they announced on Tuesday.

Kevin Durant immersed himself in basketball to help him get through the aftermath of his confrontation with Golden State Warriors team-mate Draymond Green.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and his backroom staff will be made available to assist the country's Super Rugby teams in the 2019 season.

Deontay Wilder claims Anthony Joshua is "begging" for a heavyweight unification fight following the American's controversial clash with Tyson Fury.

Katinka Hosszu continued her domination at the Short-Course World Swimming Championships as she successfully retained her 400-metre individual medley title in Hangzhou.

Johnny Sexton has agreed a three-year contract extension with the Irish Rugby Union (IRFU) that will see him remain with Leinster and Ireland until 2021.

Steve Kerr is running out of superlatives for Stephen Curry after he produced another superb display to help the Golden State Warriors earn a fourth win in a row.

Draymond Green was like a "kid in a candy shop" making his Golden State Warriors return in Monday's 116-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Jamaica's Alia Atkinson advanced to the final of the 50m breaststroke at the World Swimming Championships (short course) in Hangzhou, China after winning her semi-final heat on Tuesday morning.

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