CUNEO, Italy -- Somehow, Christian Vande Velde has slipped under the radar at the Tour de France.
The American with deep cycling roots is fifth overall, only 39 seconds behind race leader Frank Schleck.
If Vande Velde can keep pace with the other leaders in the final mountain stages Tuesday and Wednesday, he could gain time on his rivals in the final time trial Saturday and contend for victory.
"I'm totally content with how the race has unfolded -- more than I ever expected," Vande Velde said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press on the Tour's final rest day. "Now I just need to be smart the next few days and smash that last time trial."
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Vande Velde fell two positions after finishing 10th in Sunday's stage -- the first in the Alps -- but he hung tough, and even gained seven seconds on race favorite Cadel Evans, who had the yellow jersey.
• LOCAL BASEBALL -- The 12U Carolina Reds won their first four games at the Dreams Park tournament in Cooperstown, N.Y.
The Reds beat Highland Heights (Ohio) 9-2; South Farmington (Mich.) 13-0; and Elmhurst (Ill.) 12-2. The barrage pushed Carolina to a ranking of sixth out of 98 teams.
Troy Rawls hit a home run with three RBIs in Game 1, while Garrett Rast had three hits and three RBIs. Colton Pagoota homered and Preston Hudak stole three bases. Wade Hopper picked up the win with five innings of two-hit, five-strikeout ball.
Rawls doubled and homered in Game 2 while Rast homered and collected three RBIs. Pagoota fired a complete-game shutout, allowing three hits and whiffing six.
In Game 3, Josh Crump homered with three RBIs, Rawls went deep again and Rast had another three hits and two RBIs. Hudak got the win with one run in five innings.
In their late game on Monday, the Reds smashed Marlboro (N.J.) 20-4. Rawls homered for the fourth straight game and Hopper had three hits and three RBIs, backing up a strong performance from pitcher Matthew Garner.
Carolina will play Prolific Power of Greensboro, N.C., at 11 a.m. today and the game will be broadcast live on the tournament's Web cam. Interested viewers should go to cooperstowndreamspark.com and hit the "webcam" box.
• TRACK AND FIELD -- Disgraced Olympic track star Marion Jones has asked President Bush to commute her six-month prison sentence for lying to federal agents about her use of performance-enhancing drugs and a check-fraud scam.
The Justice Department confirmed Monday that Jones is among hundreds of convicted felons who have applied for presidential pardons or sentence commutations, but would provide no further details. A pardon is an official act of forgiveness that removes civil liabilities stemming from a criminal conviction, while a commutation reduces or eliminates a person's sentence.
Such applications are reviewed by the Justice Department, which makes a recommendation to the president.
• GOLF -- Fresh off a disqualification on the LPGA Tour, Michelle Wie has decided to tee it up against the men, again.
Wie will play next week in the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open, the first time she'll play on the PGA Tour this year, tournament organizers said.
It will be her eighth time playing on the PGA Tour, and she has yet to make a cut. The only time Wie has made money playing against the men was on the Korean Tour, in 2006, at the SK Telcom Open.
Wie, who is 18 and attends Stanford part time, has no status on any tour.