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Vendee to host Tour de France Grand Depart in 2018

The 2018 Tour de France Grand Depart will take place in the Vendee region of western France, organisers Amaury Sport Organisation announced on Tuesday.

The 2017 Tour begins in Dusseldorf, Germany on July 1. Credit: PA

The first stage on June 30, 2018, will begin on Noirmoutier-en-l'lle and travel across the often submerged Passage du Gois before finishing after 195kilometres in Fontenay-le-Comte.

The 2011 edition also began on the island and crossed the causeway.

La Roche-sur-Yon, which has not hosted a Tour finish for 80 years, will be the finishing spot for the second stage.

And stage three will be a 35km team time-trial in Cholet as the race leaves the Vendee.

Stage four will start from La Baule, with the finish to be announced on October 17 in Paris, when the full route will be unveiled.

The 2017 Tour begins in Dusseldorf, Germany on July 1.

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Walsh defends Leicester players after Liverpool win

Former Leicester head of recruitment Steve Walsh has defended the Foxes' players and backed them to escape relegation.

Walsh has backed Leicester's players after fierce criticism. Credit: PA

Monday night's 3-1 win over Liverpool not only saw the team score their first league goals of 2017 but also lifted them out of the bottom three and two points clear of the drop zone.

Leicester's Premier League-winning players were criticised following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri last week with many pointing fingers at the squad for their performances under the Italian.

However, Walsh, who left in the summer to become Everton's director of football, believes that was unfair on the players, many of whom he recruited.

He told Sky Sports:

Football is a funny game - there are a variety of factors why teams don't perform.

We are talking about human beings and they all have different feelings. Players don't go out to not want to perform - they all want to perform but for a variety of reasons it sometimes doesn't happen and that applies to the best players in the world.

It is just one game (the Liverpool win) but they have enough talent within the squad to retain their Premier League status and I am sure they will do that.

– Leicester head of recruitment Steve Walsh

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Koeman wants Man United captain to rejoin Everton

Koeman is keen to sign Wayne Rooney in the summer. Credit: PA

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has opened the door for Wayne Rooney to return to Goodison Park.

Manchester United's record goalscorer has been linked with a move back to his boyhood club, having struggled to hold down a regular place under Jose Mourinho.

Rooney's agent was in China this month, seemingly to sound out interest in his client, but the 31-year-old player last week issued a statement insisting he was staying at Old Trafford.

However, his long-term future remains in doubt, and Koeman is ready to make a move in the summer to bring Rooney back to where it all began.

The Dutchman told Sky Sports:

I believe that Wayne Rooney is still playing at a high level. I think he made a good choice to stay at Manchester United and in the Premier League because he has still two or three years in front of him to play on a high level.

What will happen at the end of the season? I don't know but in my opinion he is one of the players who can make Everton more stronger.

It's all about what the player likes, what Manchester United needs to do, and we are not involved in that project. But every player that we at Everton think can make the team stronger is welcome to Everton.

– Everton manager Ronald Koeman

Fuchs: Leicester used media coverage as motivation

Leicester defender Christian Fuchs insists the managerless Foxes must build on their win over Liverpool.

Leicester were worthy 3-1 winners over Liverpool. Credit: PA

The champions beat the Reds 3-1 on Monday, just four days after Claudio Ranieri was sacked, to lift themselves out of the Premier League relegation zone.

They are two points above the bottom three and host fellow strugglers Hull on Saturday with caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare aiming to cement his chances of the job.

Shakespeare has backing from within the club and the squad and Fuchs knows the importance of continuing their revival following Ranieri's controversial exit, just nine months after he delivered a shock Premier League title.

He told the club's official site: "There were lot of things written in the media but it fired us up and we wanted to show what we were made of with a lot of untruths written. You saw the Leicester from last season.

"Every game for us is now a final, we want to stay in the league and we can build on that game.

"We were fired up from minute one. This season we were trailing a lot but were were going up 1-0, 2-0 and even 3-0. It's good for our game, it didn't happen too often until now.

Motherwell part company with manager Mark McGhee

McGhee has been dismissed by Motherwell. Credit: PA

Motherwell have parted company with manager Mark McGhee, the Scottish Premiership club have announced in a statement.

The Steelmen have lost lost four Ladbrokes Premiership game in a row, conceding 17 goals in that run.

Fans protested against McGhee during and after Saturday's 5-1 home defeat by Dundee which left the Lanarkshire club 10th in the table, three points above bottom side Hamilton.

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