Landis faces final court of appeal to regain Tour title

GENEVA -- Floyd Landis will make his final appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in New York next week in an effort to regain the 2006 Tour de France title he lost because of a positive doping test.

The hearing that begins March 19 is expected to last six days.

"It will be a hearing behind closed doors unlike the previous arbitration hearing," CAS secretary-general Matthieu Reeb told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Landis went to CAS, world sport's highest appeal body, after losing a public hearing by the American Arbitration Association last year. That panel upheld the results of a laboratory test that indicated Landis used synthetic testosterone during a comeback win in the 17th stage of the 2006 Tour.

Landis went on to win the title in Paris but was later stripped of his yellow jersey.

The 32-year-old rider from Pennsylvania has been fighting an expensive legal action to regain his title and reputation. He is banned from cycling by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency until the end of January 2009.

• PRO FOOTBALL -- Two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has agreed to a new $40 million, four-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals.

The team announced the agreement Tuesday and Fitzgerald trumpeted the deal with a headline on his Web site. It includes $30 million in guaranteed money.

The Cardinals wanted to renegotiate Fitzgerald's incentive-laden rookie contract because he had reached many of the benchmarks and was to receive $14.6 million in 2008 and just under $17.4 million in 2009.

• A woman who obtained a restraining order earlier this year against New England Patriots star Randy Moss has requested that the order be dissolved and the case dismissed, court records show.

Rachelle Washington, 35, filed papers March 3 with the Broward County Circuit Court clerk's office requesting that the case be closed. The restraining order had required the All-Pro wide receiver to stay at least 500 feet from Washington.

Moss denied he harmed Washington as she claimed at her Florida home on Jan. 6, or that he prevented her from seeking medical attention. Moss did acknowledge there was an "accident" involving Washington, but would not be more specific.

• YOUTH BASEBALL -- The 9U Carolina Reds unthawed from an icy 12-11 first-game loss to 29er Prep before winning three in a row en route to the Kings Mountain USSSA Grand Slam Championship. A 15-7 victory over the Southside Royals tallied the first win of the year for the Reds.

The Reds beat the Carolina Tigers 6-3. A 19-1 victory in three innings over the Carolina Outlaws sealed the championship.

The Reds are: Wes Bostic, Nick Catan, Will Gardiner, Aaron Groller, Will Hagood, Wade Harris, Thomas Kuchenbrod, Andrew Shipman, Cameron Smith and Bo Taylor. Their next tournament is Saturday-Monday in Charlotte's USSSA WNC Spring Championship NIT.

• IDITAROD -- Victory in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is all but assured among two past winners who were waging a tight contest expected to end early today morning in this frontier town.

There's a second-tier race underway in the 1,100-mile trek to Nome. A trio of strong of contenders was jostling for third place Tuesday behind defending champion Lance Mackey of Fairbanks and four-time winner Jeff King of Denali Park.

Mackey was slightly ahead of King in a race where half the top 10 mushers were previous champions, including 2004 winner Mitch Seavey of Seward, four-time winner Martin Buser of Big Lake and Rick Swenson of Two Rivers, the Iditarod's only five-time winner.

• WOMEN'S BASKETBALL -- University of Alabama athletic director Mal Moore has announced that women's basketball coach Stephany Smith will not return to coach the Crimson Tide next season.

A statement from the school says Moore informed Smith of his decision to replace her during a meeting.

Moore said Smith arrived when the program was having difficulties and that he appreciates efforts by Smith and her staff. But he said it's time for new leadership.