It may seem like an odd thing to say right now but there is only good news and good news coming out of the doping positive of Danilo "The Killer" Di Luca.
For those who missed the headlines, Di Luca was suspended on Friday (AEST) after testing positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test taken a week before the start of the Giro d'Italia. We now await its confirmation, usually a formality.
This is Di Luca's third serious career brush with the anti-doping authorities so clearly he is a hard core recidivist.
"I wasn't expecting this. It was a surprise for me. I'm disappointed," Di Luca told journalists when last seen hightailing it out of the team hotel. "I'll ask for the backup analysis then we can talk again."
The Coens were praised, Nicolas Winding Refn was booed, and once again, there's a curious lack of female directors.
Incredibly, Cannes attendees this year pulled out the coats and winter woollies as the temperatures on the Côte d’Azur plummeted to a mere 13 degrees over the first weekend. A German colleague noted that it was 25 degrees in Berlin, while a Norwegian mused that it was 27 degrees in Oslo and that he’d packed his bathing suit for nothing.
Having just seen Rebecca Zlotowski’s Grand Central, a film set in a French nuclear power plant and its environs, one wonders if there might be a film about global warming hidden in the festival, as there certainly should be. Then again, Gus Van Sant’s fracking drama Promised Land was never a strong candidate for Australian cinemas, where smaller films are struggling to find an audience, or to be seen at all. And here’s the dilemma in Cannes: Will these art films make it to cinemas back home?
Of course, Promised Land’s star Matt Damon was in Cannes with a very different venture, the Liberace–Scott Thorson love story, Behind the Candelabra, which played better than anyone had expected. With his showy performance Michael Douglas announced he was back in movies following his treatments for throat cancer. Certainly, he evokes Liberace in his portrayal, even if he admits his legs are half the size and that he looks nothing like the late performer, who died prematurely from AIDS at the age of 67. Douglas is 68.
Morbid curiosity about the bodies-in-the-barrel case was key to the widespread awareness of this Saturday night's movie.
Snowtown is the best known film that Australia has made in recent years. No research or focus groups or any of that business proves this bold statement but I’m confident I could win a debate on the topic.
Snowtown is based on the true story of South Australia’s bodies-in-the-barrel case – not that I need to remind anyone. At the time of its release in May 2011, I was struck by how often non-film industry people asked me about it: from people I hardly knew to life-long farmer friends.
Once again the film is front of mind because I’ve been telling anyone who cares to listen that SBS has a short Australian season starting this Saturday and this notorious film is the only film in the bunch with a 100 percent recognition value.
One need only cast their minds back eleven years ago to support the overused TV commentator’s phrase that ‘anything can happen’. But as Anthony Tan writes, for the podium to be redefined four days from the finish, logic, caution and reason must be thrown out the back door.
The most interest in terms of racing is going to be amongst the fourth to tenth players. They’ll be the ones squabbling over the seconds, chasing each other down and one of those moves might just be the catalyst that Nibali is waiting for to show just how superior he is.Before the final time trial and the arguably the two most difficult mountain stages in this year’s Giro d’Italia, it seems the canny Scotsman reckons the podium is just about set in stone, with the scrap for minor placings where he predicts most change.
It’s a big call. Because maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali needs to have just one bad day in the Dolomites and he could lose five minutes. Or ten. Or fifteen.
With just four days to go, think it impossible? Then cast your minds back eleven years to the 85th edition of the Giro, in 2002.
Visitors to New York usually know Greenwich Village as a cute part of the city with crooked streets, tiny restaurants, quirky bars, expensive boutiques, and celebrity sightings. Yet, for those who live and frequent there, all of that is true but Greenwich Village has always cultivated a dark underbelly.
Last Friday night that underbelly rolled over to see a man shot in the head on a busy street by a passer-by for what should be no reason whatsoever.
According to police, Elliott Morales traveled to Greenwich Village from the Far Rockaways – a part of the city in the news recently for damage sustained dining Hurricane Sandy – on Friday night, his agenda so far unknown.
Yet it first came clear something was bugging the 33-year-old when he urinated in front of a bar, then walked inside and made anti-gay slurs at the bartender.
Thirteen years is a long time between drinks for fans of Australian
cross country (XCO) mountain biking but on Monday the community awoke to
a pair of victories and blossoming hope for the future, writes Phil Gomes.
On Saturday night (AEST) Rebecca Henderson was the first to break the long running Australian drought by winning the opening race of the under 23 category at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Albstadt, Germany.
Her victory was the first recorded at that level by any Australian rider since Cadel Evans and Mary Grigson at the turn of the millennium in 2000.
Grigson, a multiple national champion and Olympian won her event in Napa, California while Evans, who needs absolutely no introduction, won in Canmore, Alberta and Mont Sainte-Anne, Quebec.
It’s never easy when apprentice usurps master, particularly when it happens earlier than expected. But as Anthony Tan writes, for those on the sidelines, it makes for fascinating viewing.
When the winner of the 14th stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia, Mauro Santambrogio of Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, was asked what it felt like to drop his former leader Cadel Evans on the climb to Bardonecchia-Jafferau, he responded thus:
“It gives me great confidence, although I have to thank Cadel because I learned a lot when I rode alongside him. With Cadel I learned how to prepare for a three-week tour. Now, as a captain on a team, I can really make the most of what I have learned.”
It’s never a nice feeling, when the apprentice becomes the master, at least for the latter, that is. Even more so when the unspoken changing of the guard happens prematurely.
Women’s race organisers in France have turned their tainted reputation a little muddier, after the debacle of the second consecutive cancellation of the Tour Languedoc Rousillion, originally scheduled as UCI 2.2 stage race from 17-22 May.
In 2012, the race was cancelled because of possible ‘financial problems’ leaving many riders in a tight spot. It had been the final opportunity for women to fight for UCI points to qualify places for the London 2012 Olympic Games before the May 31 deadline.
Last year, teams had three weeks notice. This year, many teams were already in Carcassonne, or en-route to the region in the south of France known for its good wine and great cycling terrain.
Some had flown straight in from China, having raced at the Tour of Chongming Island and the World Cup only two days earlier. Unfortunately, it had been the scene of another farcical race event, leaving the world’s best sprinters incredulous and team directors getting nothing but an apology.
For the second year running, he’s the oldest licensed rider in the WorldTour peloton. But as Anthony Tan writes, nothing’s going to slow Jens Voigt down. Not yet, anyway.
I’m mother f**king Jens Voigt so they’re not going to catch me.If only one could clone ‘The Jensie’. Or bottle it up and make Andy Schleck skol copious quantities of it till he’s inebriated beyond belief, drunk on The Jensie.
In January last year, at the Santos Tour Down Under, I interviewed Jens Voigt at length for US cycling publication VeloNews. Then aged 40, he told me that, “Nobody likes to get old, but I can still keep up, so it’s all good”.
“Cycling is too hard a sport to do it for the money. You’ve got to have the passion. The willingness to do it… the desire to go. And I still have that. It’s not a tiny little spark in the dark, but a full-on burning flame, the passion that I have (for cycling).”
The bears tore through the Australian dollar over the past two weeks, falling from US$1.03 to nearly US$0.97.
That's good news for exporters, but bad news for Australian travellers.
The sudden decline follows speculation the US Federal Reserve may be winding down its bond buying program.
That essentially means, America's central bank will be pumping less cash into the economy.
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