Film charts journalist's pursuit of one of sport's greatest scandals
Irish Actor Chris O'Dowd will play Sunday Times' journalist David Walsh in a film version of the book about the writer's dogged pursuit of one of sport's most notorious characters, Lance Armstrong, to be played by Ben Foster.
The Stephen Frears directed film – yet to be named – will be based on Walsh's book Seven Deadly Sins, which charts the journalist's pursuit of the bullish Texan he first met on a rest day of the 1993 Tour de France. Armstrong survived testicular cancer and doped his way to seven Tour de France titles of which he was stripped in 2012.
According to film website Deadline, O'Dowd, who played roles in the film Bridesmaids and popular TV sitcom the IT Crowd, will be supported by Breaking Bad actor Jesse Plemons.
Next month another Armstrong movie, The Armstrong Lie by documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, will premier in America.
In an exclusive interview, the Sky leader on his 2014 Tour wishlist, his rivals and Bradley Wiggins
Although barely three months have passed since Chris Froome won the Tour de France title, the British rider is already turning his thoughts to the defence of his title in 2014. Even before next week’s official presentation of the route of the 101st Tour, he has been following reports about next year’s parcours.
“I’m hearing the rumours about the route and starting to piece together how I think I’m going to tackle it,” he said. Those rumours include reports of a stage over the cobbles in northern France, which, he says, “do ring alarm bells for me”.
Speaking to Procycling in an exclusive interview at Team Sky’s base in Monaco on Tuesday, the Tour champion says he is hoping for “a pretty well-balanced Tour. I think as a winner of the Tour de France you should be rounded as a rider. You should be able to climb exceptionally and time trial very well. That’s what makes the Tour a well-balanced race, whereas if you look at something like the Vuelta where you’ve got 12 hilltop finishes, that is going to suit a pure climber who is not so strong on the flat and in the wind.”
Given the chance to put in a personal wishlist to Tour director Christian Prudhomme, Froome says he would like a race “with longer and flatter time trials. They would be more in my favour, the kinds of tests where pure climbers like Joaquim Rodríguez and Nairo Quintana would lose minutes.”
The Sky team leader adds: “If there are more mountains in it, that’s not a bad thing for me, as I think I’ve proved myself on the climbs. But having more time trials does suit me, including team time trials as I think I’ve got one of the strongest teams for that discipline.”
Bettini has not been approached, says driver's manager
Although Fernando Alonso’s proposed takeover of Euskaltel-Euskadi’s licence for next year ultimately came to nothing, the Formula 1 driver is proceeding with his plans to unveil a new top-level team for the 2015 season.
After Alonso met briefly with Paolo Bettini before the start of the world championships road race in Florence last month, speculation was rife in the Italian press that the national team coach was going to take up a role with the new team, but Alonso’s manager Luis Garcia Abad has quashed the story.
The Spaniard was more effusive about the vaguer concept of the team, repeating Alonso’s affirmation that the project would seek to blend the best aspects of cycling and Formula 1.
“That means technology, research, marketing, promotion and the use of new instruments such as telemetry, as well as setting up our own medical centre,” Garcia Abad said. “The intention is to do something new and avoid the problem of doping.”
Beyond the inevitable speculation linking Alberto Contador to the new Alonso project – even though Contador has two years to run on his current deal with Saxo Bank – Gazzetta also suggests that Ivan Basso and Filippo Pozzato are possible targets for the team. However, Garcia Abad downplayed the speculation by pointing out that, “At the moment, we can’t sign any contracts with riders.”
The team’s title sponsor, too, remains a mystery for now, although...
The 2014 Tour de France is set to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War by holding a stage start in the Belgian town of Ypres. The news was revealed on Belgian radio by former prime minister Yves Leterme, a native of Ypres and member of the local organising committee.
Next year’s Tour starts in Leeds on July 5, spending three days in Britain before returning to France for stage 4, which is reported to start at the seaside resort of Le Touquet. Stage 5 on July 9 is set to start in Ypres, and is rumoured to cover a number of cobbled sections before finishing back in France, perhaps at Arenberg, where Thor Hushovd won after a dramatic day on the pavé in 2010.
"Due to the links to the First World War, I think we can offer a fitting setting for the Tour but in terms of the surrounding area and the town itself,” Ypres mayor Jan Durnez said, according to RTBF. “I think we can offer something beautiful, and a lot of people will be delighted to see this work come to fruition.”
The Flemish town of Ypres - known as Ieper in Dutch - and its immediate surrounds were the site of some of the heaviest combat of the Great War due to its strategic position between German and Allied forces. The first battle of Ypres took place in October and November 1914, while some of the highest casualties of the war occurred at nearby Passchendaele in 1917.
Ypres was rebuilt after the war, and the Menin Gate, the town’s poignant war memorial, was constructed in 1927. The names of 54,415 Commonwealth soldiers whose bodies were never identified or found after the nearby battles are engraved on stone panels in the arch. To this day, buglers from the local fire brigade sound the ‘Last...
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Team Specialized-lululemon) has confirmed her retirement from professional cycling. The German won over 200 races during a career that spanned 32 years. However she was forced to sit out the majority of 2013 due a serious crash earlier in the season.
The 38-year-old suffered a concussion after a crash at the Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo on March 7. She missed the Classics and despite hopes of a return later in the summer, she was forced to remain out of racing for the remainder of the season.
"It's not the way I wanted to retire from the sport," said Teutenberg in a team statement.
"I have considered the option of racing one more season in 2014 just to be able to finish my career racing rather than due to injury, but I've decided it's time now and I'm looking forward to life after racing and finding a new career."
Her last major success came in the Worlds team time trial in 2012 when she helped Team Specialized-lululemon sweep to the gold medal. However the 38-year-old has enjoyed a stellar career with 21 stages of Tour de l’Aude, six stage wins in Route de France, 11 stage wins of Giro d’Italia Femminile, four Liberty Classic, Philadelphia titles and a win in the women’s edition of the Tour of Flanders in her extensive palmares.
Teutenberg’s teammate Katie Colclough is set to leave the sport as well. The British rider announced her retirement in the build up to this year’s World Championships in Italy.
Rider with longest successful breakaway lived to 96
Albert Bourlon, the record holder for the Tour de France's longest successful breakaway, crossed the finish line of life at age 96 on Wednesday, according to AFP.
Bourlon competed in his first Tour de France in 1938, but World War II interrupted his career as well as the race.
He was 30 when he lined up for the 1947 Tour de France, the year he would earn his claim to fame. On stage 14 he attacked from the gun on the 253km stage between Carcassonne and Luchon, and miraculously, his solo escape worked and he won the stage. He finished the Tour in 21st place behind winner Jean Robic.
Bourlon died in Bourges, where a velodrome is named in his honour.
The two riders will help to fill the gap left by the departure of UCI Americas Tour winner Janier Acevedo, who signed with Garmin-Sharp for 2014.
"The team exists to compete at a high level," team manager Sebastian Alexandre said. "Even with Janier joining Garmin, I am confident in the new riders we have signed for the 2014 season. Our goal is to achieve the same or better results in 2014, as we did in 2013."
Alexandre said he is pleased to see Acevedo moving to the sport's top tier. "When I saw Janier, a couple of years ago, I said to myself, 'He is the one! He paid off with a lot of hard work, and some great performances, but our whole team really stepped up last season. I am working now on finalize our 2014 roster and I am very please to announce some great riders for the upcoming season. We are building a super strong squad."
Frenchman without a contract after Euskaltel-Euskadi demise
Romain Sicard is reportedly close to signing with Europcar for 2014. The Frenchman was left without a contract after Euskaltel-Euskadi folded at the end of this season.
According to a report in L’Équipe, Sicard was due to meet with Europcar manager Jean-René Bernaudeau on Thursday to discuss a possible move to the team. Currently a Pro Continental team, Europcar has applied for WorldTour status in 2014, with Bernaudeau planning to expand his roster from 22 to 25 riders if his team is elevated into cycling’s top flight. 18 teams have applied for the 18 available WorldTour places.
World under-23 champion and Tour de l’Avenir winner in 2009, Sicard turned professional with Euskaltel-Euskadi the following year, having raced as an amateur with feeder team Orbea.
Sicard has failed to make the same impact as contemporaries such as Thibaut Pinot, Carlos Betancur and Tejay van Garderen since turning professional, and he was been hampered by a muscular imbalance in his right leg during his time as a professional.
“He hasn’t had any results since his world title four years ago. A career passes quickly, but at the same time, it’s not too late for him. Far from it,” Europcar directeur sportif Andy Flickinger told L’Équipe.
“The aim is to relaunch him, and for him to develop with us. He hasn’t ridden for a French team yet, and he wants to do that. Given his physical problems, he deserves a second chance.”
Sicard’s best performance as a professional was arguably his 12th place finish at this...