Ben Foster and Lance Armstrong - separated at birth?

Courtesy of film distributor Studiocanal and Empire magazine, here's a pic of Lance Armstrong that you've not seen before. Except of course, it isn't.

In fact, that's actor Ben Foster who is playing Lance Armstrong in Unnamed Cycling Project, the movie by director Stephen Frears based on David Walsh's book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong.

Foster was chosen for the role in part because of his facial resemblance to Armstrong, and in a set of US Postal clothing you have to look twice to tell them apart. 

As suggested by its working title, Frears and the studio have not yet decided what to call the film, which suggests they have fast-tracked it into production to get it out ahead of the other two feature movies about Armstrong in development.

Unnamed Cycling Project has been filming in France, which is believed to be the location of this image, and in London. Alongside Foster, the film will feature Chris O’Dowd from The IT Crowd as David Walsh, French actor Guillaume Canet (Tell No One) in a supporting role and Jesse Plemons, most recently seen in Breaking Bad.

If you can't wait for Unnamed Cycling Project, Alex Gibney's documentary The Armstrong Lie opens in the UK on January 31.

Two other Lance Armstrong movies are also in development. Warner Brothers has the ‘life rights’ of Tyler Hamilton as part of an Armstrong project. Hamilton’s positive tests, eventual confession of doping and subsequent book The Secret Race helped take the lid off the culture of doping in cycling in the early 2000s and at the US Postal cycling team, where he was a team-mate of Armstrong’s. Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers films, is tipped to helm that one.

Meanwhile director JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek) is also working on an Armstrong movie based on the book Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong by New York Times sportswriter Juliet Macur. Abrams is rumoured to have spoken to actor Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) about taking on the Armstrong role.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.