From Hollywood to the South of France. Hollywood actor Coin Farrell, a late and unexpected addition to the French Europcar squad, won today’s stage four in the Etoile de Besseges.
The star more famous for his roles in Phone Booth, Horrible Bosses and In Bruge showed a sup rising turn of speed, taking the win ahead of Frédérique Robert (Lotto Belisol) and Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale).
The Irish actor had recently taken a break from film to pursue his second dream of becoming a professional cyclist — perhaps taking inspiration from fellow Irishman Daniel Day Lewis, who took a break from Hollywood to learn the craft of shoemaking.
“Yeah, well, you know racing a bike it not unlike Hollywood. Lot of failures and suffering and then once in a while, you get lucky,” said Farrell, who trained hard this winter to get down to race weight.
The 36 year old apparently decided to take a belated shot at pro cycling after a chance meeting with Europcar captain Thomas Voeckler. “I was in Paris doing some bullshit promo thing and I ran into Tommy. Always been a fan,” said Farrell. “Anyways, we got to drinking, then went down to his place in Alsasce for some hunting. He got me thinking big.”
Team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau was delighted to bring Farrell onto the Pro Continental squad. “He is un bon type, very good with the fellows and he works hard. He has some rust to be sure but you can see the bike racer inside. He has come along well and he has also helped Rolland deal with celebrity.”
For now, Farrell’s race program is up in the air but that suits him just fine. “Obviously I’m not doing the Tour de France — although I’d love to give it a bash. I’m just trying to help the lads and work my way into the peloton. This isn’t half as hard as trying to find a good movie script.”
The 154k stage from Sabran to Pont Saint Esprit proved tailormade for a rouler like Farrell. “I’m not the fastest, right? And I’m sure not a climber but you get me close to the finish and it’s like an Academy award. I’m taking it.”
The Etoile des Besseges would seem to be a symbolic race. Etoile means “star” in French and Farrell was certainly the biggest “etoile” in the race.