Latvia's first Soviet-era car race will be held on May 6 in the western town of Kuldiga. Alongside the rally, the city will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its culture center, which originally housed the Young Soviet Pioneers youth organization. The party will be held in Soviet style with singing and dancing performances by the Pioneers and snacks typical of the period. "We will go back to 'the good old times' with gas mask exercises, shooting competitions, pioneer concerts and a car slalom," said head of Kuldiga's Tourism Information Center Artis Gustovskis. A parade of Soviet-era cars will open the event, while spectators are invited to wear Soviet-style clothing. The Grand Prix is 10,000 Russian rubles.
Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal (photo) retained his Monte Carlo Masters title with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Roger Federer last week. Nadal showed his strongest performance in the third set, and then won a tense fourth to seal his victory. "It was a very unbelievable day for me," said the second seed. "It's special to begin the clay season like this."
A campaign promoting Latvia among European Parliament members will be held in Brussels and Strasbourg during the 2006 Ice-Hockey World Championship. "Hockey from Riga at the European Parliament" will offer game broadcasts, authentic Latvian food and travel information about Latvia. Riga Mayor Aivars Aksenoks has promised to officially open the celebration at the European Parliament on May 10. Brussels' famous landmark, the Peeing Boy fountain, will be dressed in a Latvian ice-hockey player's uniform during the event. The campaign will follow the European Parliament to Strasbourg on May 15.
Spanish Cyclist Alejandro Valverde won his second straight Ardennes classic on April 23, beating Olympic Champion Paolo Bettini in an uphill sprint at Liege. The victory comes only four days after Valverde's first place finish in La Fleche Wallonne - the first classic win of his young career. The Spaniard has been hailed by Lance Armstrong as the "possible future of cycling." Only three other men have accomplished the double in the past half century; Davide Rebellin (2004), Moreno Argentin (1991) and Eddy Merckx (1972).
Estonian cross-country skier Jana Reheema met with President George W. Bush at the White House, and was congratulated along with her Colorado University ski team for finishing first in the United States National Collegiate Athletics Association's championship. Reheema, who is an Estonian citizen, is currently attending the university. The team was one of 12 NCAA championship squads to be honored at the White House by President Bush. Reheema's cousin is Olympic Gold Medalist cross-country skier Katrin Smegun.