'Out-of-Shape' Crowe Bests Journo in Bike Duel

Actor challenges gossip columnist after she pokes fun at his fitness
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2009 1:53 AM CDT
Australian actor Russell Crowe poses for photographers as he arrives at the world premiere of the film "State of Play" at a cinema in London earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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(Newser) – Aussie gossip columnist Annette Sharp had to face down a challenge from Russell Crowe the day after she mocked the Gladiator star for puffing on cigarettes during a Sydney bike ride and chowing down on tacos, she writes for Australia's News Network. "Get on your bike," the star's spokesman told her. "Russell wants you to go riding with him. Are you ready to die?"

The pair met at dawn for a 12-mile cycle through Sydney, and Sharp soon lagged far behind the star, who was in top condition after months filming Robin Hood. Point proven, Crowe turned into a tour guide, showing Sharp the joys of cycling in Sydney and graciously helping her up after she slid off her bike. "You're better than Baz Luhrmann," Crowe said of the Aussie film director when the duel was done. "You're twice the man Baz is."