Sports Calendar

July 1-21

Tour de France

The 83rd Tour, which began in the Netherlands June 29, now puts the world's best cyclists to the test with daily doses of heavy mileage - 141 miles followed by 121, 143, 140, etc., etc. On and on it goes before the final sprint down the Champs-Elysees in Paris . The total distance covered: 2,380 miles. Spain's Miguel Indurain is seeking his sixth straight victory.

July 9

Baseball All-Star Game

Major-league baseball's midseason showcase has long been viewed as the best of the pro all-star games, partly because baseball is at heart a duel between pitcher and batter, with limited team coordination required. The All-Star Game moves into Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium this year, which is where Heathcliff Slocumb, last year's winning National League pitcher, used to play for the Phillies. Now, a year later, he's a struggling reliever for the Boston Red Sox. The All-Star Game, like Slocumb's career, is hard to figure. The National League once dominated, then the American League took charge. The last two years they were as evenly matched as possible, each earning a one-run victory.

July 13-14

Fed Cup (tennis)

The semifinal round of this year's prestigious international team competition for women falls between Wimbledon and the Olympics. Monica Seles is expected to lead the United States squad against Japan in Tokyo before the Americans return home to start Olympic play in Atlanta on July 23. Japan, a surprise semifinalist, upset Germany in April as Kimiko Date handed Steffi Graf a rare defeat. Defending champion Spain meets France in the other semifinal. For the US, Mary Joe Fernandez was the star of the Americans' first-round victory. Pressed into service when other players were injured, she won two singles matches and a doubles match, yet has been crowded off the US Olympic team.

July 14

Major League Soccer all-star game

MLS's inaugural season has exceeded attendance projections thus far, with nearly 21,000 per game, far outpacing the 12,000 league officials anticipated. The all-star bash at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., offers the league an opportunity to show off its top players where Pele once attracted huge crowds for the now-defunct North American Soccer League. The regular season runs through Sept. 22.

July 18-21

British Open (golf)

Jack Nicklaus, a three-time British Open winner, isn't expected to contend this time, but he should attract huge galleries at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in Lancashire, England. A member of the senior tour since 1990, Nicklaus said he'd pass up the British championship and end one of golf's greatest streaks if he didn't perform to his satisfaction at last month's US Open. He was pleased enough, however, with his 27th-place tie to make plans to play in his 139th consecutive major championship, a run that began in 1962. The winners of this year's first two major tournaments were Nick Faldo (Masters) and little-known Steve Jones (US Open). John Daly is the defending champion.

July 19-Aug. 4

Centennial Olympic Games

For 17 days in Atlanta, the sports world will be focused on the athletic dramas of roughly 10,000 athletes from a record 197 countries. (Look for a full preview in the July 17 Monitor.)

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