Mustafa Sayar's overall win at the Presidential Tour of Turkey is either a sporting fairytale or something far more insidious, writes Al Hinds.
There was a rarefied atmosphere ahead of this year’s Presidential Tour of Turkey. The confession of Lance Armstrong, the fallout from the USADA investigation, the ongoing inquiries in Italy have all made cycling observers hyper sensitive to even a sniff of the unbelievable or the incredible.
Turkey however had even more reason to feel the heat of critical eyes. Last year, lest we forget, a 34-year-old Bulgarian, Ivailo Gabrovski, raised eyebrows at the Tour when he rode clear of the field on Stage 3 to Elmali, seven kilometres from the finish, arriving home a minute and a half ahead of the next best on the stage, Astana's Alexandr Dyachenko.
In July of last year it was revealed that Gabrovski had tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO with the second sample confirming the first.
The star of this Saturday night's film, The Reluctant Infidel, is is worth following on and off the screen.
I stalk the British actor and comedian Omid Djalili on Twitter. There, the truth is out. And if I lived in London there is no question that I’d be rushing to see him during his stand-up comedy season at the Leicester Square Theatre. I know about the show starting this Tuesday because he told me and his 179,079 (as of April 24) other followers on Twitter, and I know it will be hugely entertaining because I’ve seen many of his comedy routines and sketches online as a result of falling for him in the British comedy The Reluctant Infidel.
He has a buoyant career but Omid Djalili simply wasn’t on my radar until I saw him in this film, which screens on SBS One this Saturday at 9.30pm. He plays the lead role of Mahmud, a Muslim who has an identity crisis when he discovers that he was adopted and that his birth parents are Jewish. (In real life, Omid Djalili was born to Iranian parents of the Baha’i faith.)
[ SBS ONE Film season: full schedule ]
One thing they didn't tell me about life as a professional cyclist was the important role of karma.
Sure, I knew there were going to be days when the sprint wouldn't go my way. It happens to every rider at some stage of their career, unless your name is Alexandre Vinokourov. But I figured karma and its potentially career-altering impact would be restricted to actual racing and not the little stuff, like what I yelled at the TV.
Anyway, it all started when our team reconvened in Belgium after Liege-Bastogne-Liege for a team meeting, where the team directors delivered good news and bad news. The good news: I'd been named in the provisional squad for the Giro! The bad news: So was my main rival, and we were told that whoever produced the best training results over the next week would get the nod.
Given the considerable reputation that precedes me - a future star sprinter and potential Grand Tour stage winner - I thought it was about time I was allowed to practise with the team's leadout train. All my prior requests had been rebuffed by the team bosses with increasingly flimsy reasons, but this time they agreed.
Spain is now on par with Greece with having one of the worst jobless rates in Europe.
Official figures show more than 6.2 million Spaniards don't have work, pushing the country's unemployment rate to a record 27.2 per cent.
In October 2006, it was 7.6 per cent. It's even worse for those under 24 years of age, with the youth unemployment rate at a staggering 57.2 per cent.
There is evidence young people are fleeing the country to find work in other parts of Europe and the world.
The next film from David Cronenberg will examine the influence of celebrity culture on society.
David Cronenberg is ready to make his next movie, having last made the second best film of 2012 about white stretch limousines, Cosmopolis. Maps to the Stars, written by the longtime chronicler of oddball Los Angeles behaviour, author Bruce Wagner, is a critique of the celebrity-obsessed Hollywood culture that forms the background chatter of everyday life now. Cronenberg’s cast includes John Cusack (The Paperboy), Julianne Moore (Safe, the forthcoming Carrie remake), Cosmopolis star and one-time teen vampire Robert Pattinson, and Sarah Gadon, who has recently worked with both Cronenberg (A Dangerous Method) and his son Brandon (Antiviral).
Laurent gets new look
Forget music, the hot new biopic is fashion. French filmmaker Bertrand Bonello (On War) will direct Yves Saint Laurent, a biopic of the French fashion designer considered by many to be the finest creator of women’s clothes in the 20th century. Saint Laurent, who died in 2008 at the age of 71, will be played by Gaspard Ulliel (Hannibal Rising, The Princess of Montpensier), with Jeremie Renier (Summer Hours, The Kid with a Bike) as his long-time lover and business partner, Pierre Berge. The in-demand Lea Seydoux (Farewell, My Queen) will play Saint Laurent’s friend, accessories designer Loulou de la Falaise, but who can possibly play the fashion icon’s muse and companion Catherine Deneuve?
Hughes snipes Expendables gig
The first stop for dramatic actor turned inscrutable action star Wesley Snipes after his release from jail following a three year sentence for failing to file U.S. tax returns? The set of The Expendables 3, Sylvester Stallone’s franchise for ageing action heroes. Snipes would be joining Stallone, Jason Statham and other regulars, although it’s unclear if Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who featured in the second instalment, will return.
A few years ago, okay, almost 20 years ago, when I first discovered risotto, I went mad for it. I cooked a batch at least once a week and added all manner of elements to create Franken-risottos that were philosophically aligned with the originals, but truly had a life of their own. They were almost all delicious and made wonderful work lunches, but, slowly, risotto and I drifted apart.
That is, until I decided to renew the friendship by making the cauliflower and cavalo nero rice pie in our To Market story of the May issue. This filo pie, filled with a simple risotto, is very similar to burek, which is found up and down the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. I ate wheelbarrow-loads of it in Turkey and have even been known to make my own filo pastry as a starting point (it’s a nice party trick when there are kids around). I have tried burek (or pitta, as it’s known in Serbia) with a number of different fillings, but never with rice, so I was keen to try this version.
I enjoyed re-engaging with my old friend risotto and I find the constant stirring quite contemplative – it also prevents me from doing anything else at the same time – something of which I’m often guilty and which occasionally results in kitchen mishaps. Our recipe calls for vialone nano rice, which is imported from Verona, however I substituted Arborio, because that’s what my local shop had. I also used silverbeet instead of cavalo nero because I’m all about making life easy.
English actor Tom Hiddleston will play the pioneering photojournalist Robert Capa.
The Spanish Civil War raged between 1936 and 1939, a bloody proxy for the looming World War II that would transfix writers such as Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell as well as inspiring subsequent generations of filmmakers as diverse as Ken Loach (Land and Freedom) and Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth). The latest work to be set during the conflict focuses on the photographer whose work covering the conflict made him internationally renowned. Robert Capa’s photo 'The Falling Soldier', showing a Republican soldier flying backwards at the moment a bullet strikes him dead, is one of the most famous (and controversial) images of the 20th century, but it’s only one of many he took.
The untitled film being prepared by director Paul Andrew Williams (Song for Marion) and screenwriter Menno Meyjes (Empire of the Sun) will focus on the charismatic exiled Hungarian Jew’s two years in Spain (Robert Capa was Endre Friedmann’s professional name) and his relationship with fellow photographer Gerda Taro. Capa will be played by British actor Tom Hiddleston, who has portrayed villains both otherworldly (Thor, The Avengers) and all too human (The Deep Blue Sea) in recent years, while Taro is the responsibility of another Brit, Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans, Tamara Drewe).
Vaughn suits up
How many times can John Hughes’ 1987 comedy Planes, Trains & Automobiles be remade? Plenty. In Business Trip, Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers) will play an American suit whose European work trip is marked by a succession of disasters that lead to some unconventional travel arrangements on the Continent. I have visions of lederhosen.
With the first four months just about done and dusted, Anthony Tan provides some insight into what he’s seen so far.
1. Spring Classics: It’s (Always) Something Unpredictable
Okay, when Tom Boonen crashed out of Flanders less than 20km into proceedings we expected cobbled classics maestro Fabian Cancellara to walk away with the win, which he duly did with both eyes closed. But don’t tell me you thought he would come within a wheel of losing the Hell of the North the following weekend – to Blanco’s Sep Vanmarcke, no less!
And what about Gerald Ciolek’s ‘come-from-nowhere’ (I only used that line to annoy web editor Phil Gomes) triumph in Milan-San Remo? Or Roman Kreuziger’s come-from-nowhere (not saying he doped, Phil, but former team-mate Leonardo Bertagnolli said he worked with the nefarious Michele Ferrari) pot of Amstel Gold? Or Daniel Moreno’s come from… (okay, okay, enough come-from-nowhere jokes for now) .. somewhat surprise victory atop the Mur de Huy in La Flèche Wallonne? Or namesake Daniel Martin’s breakthrough bonanza to claim ‘La Doyenne’ last Sunday?
No three weeks of predictable, metronomic riding here. Just pure, unadulterated panache from the world’s best one-day riders. And when the day is done, not a skerrick of glycogen left.
Virgin Australia is now one step closer in its bid to take on arch rival Qantas at all levels of the aviation market, but just how strong is the newest brand to its stable?
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has approved Virgin Australia's 60 per cent takeover or Singapore Airlines' low-cost carrier Tiger Airways Australia.
The $35million acquisition will allow it to compete with Qantas' budget airline Jetstar, after Virgin abandoned the segment by moving upmarket to capture more high yielding business travellers.
Only recently, Virgin Australia completed its purchase of regional airline SkyWest.
The last time I saw Miguel Martinez in person he looked like the above image. On his way to winning the men's cross-country (XCO) at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
For those who don't remember Martinez, he was the best mountain bike rider at the turn of the century, and in 2000, he won not only gold in Sydney at the Olympic Games but also the MTB world cup and world championships.
There was another guy you may know chasing Martinez in Sydney that day; Cadel Evans, who went on to finish seventh, and later, of course, Tour de France glory.
Martinez eventually moved to the road with Mapei-QuickStep (2002) then Phonak (2003) but was essentially pack fodder in an era fuelled on anything but bread and water.
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