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For those stories that aren’t the biggest, that maybe can be conveyed in a couple of paragraphs or even a single sentence, and for amusing photos and the very simple important information of ‘what time is the racing on TV this weekend?’ We have a solution. The Spin Cycle. It’s a news digest. Some people like reading material that drops straight into their email and others enjoy reading it on website so it will be delivered in newsletter form to your email inbox and it will be published on this website. If this one hasn’t landed in your inbox, you can sign up here.
Without further ado, here’s our first edition.
Welcome to the first edition of the Spin Cycle! The Escape Collective’s news digest.
We’ll be bringing you important news stories, humorous anecdotes and lots of interesting nuggets of all things cycling every Monday and Friday (ish). Today, we bring you good and bad news.
Well, it’s actually mostly bad news, which is not necessarily the vibe we wanted to kick things off with but unfortunately we don’t control the news. If we did, the Women’s Tour 2023 certainly wouldn’t be getting cancelled and Wout van Aert definitely wouldn’t be getting into dangerous situations while training.
Ah…we promised some good news didn’t we? Well, it’s the Tour of Flanders on Sunday! News doesn’t get much better than that.
Tadej Pogačar is so chilled he could be the answer to global warming
Even in direct sunlight it would be impossible for Tadej Pogačar to be more chilled. Just look at him. Relaxing in the sunshine ahead of one of the biggest race days of the year dressed like he’s a roadside Tour de France fan waiting for the peloton to arrive, having a quick nap after drinking a couple of small beers. If he was more laid back he’d be horizontal.
More bad news for the British scene
The Women’s Tour will not run in 2023 due to a financial shortfall, organisers Sweetspot announced Friday.
The five-stage race was slated to take place in June but difficulties closing a major funding gap were clear earlier in March. Sweetspot announced the 2023 route along with a call for crowdfunding. That campaign raised £18,000 of the needed £100,000.
Sweetspot thanked contributors to the crowdfunding campaign but made it clear that there was no viable path forward. The organisation promised to return in 2024.
“Organisers are already working on plans for next year’s edition, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the first Women’s Tour,” a statement read. “Wales will host the event’s Grand Départ for the first time as part of a long-term agreement already in place with the Welsh Government.”
The race went forward without a title sponsor in 2022, after years sponsored by Ovo, AJ Bell, and Friends Life. For 2023, major partnership slots remained available less than three months out, including leaders jerseys, stage partnerships, and an official vehicle, after Skoda pulled out.
Sweetspot also cancelled the Tour Series criterium races earlier this year.
Feed Zone 🥖
🇺🇸 A major US bike race founder has been indicted
❌ Alberto Bettiol (illness), Mike Teunissen (illness) and Dylan van Baarle (injury) will not race the Tour of Flanders
🤧 Ag2r Citroën forced to withdraw from Région Pays de la Loire Tour as they have too many sick riders to field a squad
Lukewarm rider quote of the week
“The goal is to be the best I can be on Sunday”
Tom Pidcock fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as the Brit confirms he doesn’t want to be the best somebody else he can be, or indeed the worst possible version of himself at this weekend’s Tour of Flanders. An inspiration to us all. Don’t stop being true to yourself Pidders.
‘Wout was almost dead’
In episode no. 3,015,645,783 of a motor vehicle nearly hitting a bike rider, Wout van Aert had a very fortunate escape while out training in Belgium.
“Wout was almost dead. He was literally almost under a concrete mixer,” the Belgian’s training partner and former pro Jan Bakelants told VRT’s cycling podcast Wielerclub Wattage.
“Because the cycle path on the road was not adapted for speeds of 40 to 45 km/h, we rode on the road. Suddenly I heard the horn of a concrete mixer, which drove past us. As befits a vehicle of that size, the driver of the concrete mixer closed the door while honking. Wout had no choice but to force Daan Soete off the road. Otherwise he would probably have ascended to heaven. Wout was almost dead. He was literally almost under the concrete mixer, it was really harrowing.
Looking to downplay the incident, and no doubt wishing Bakelants hadn’t added to the hysteria surrounding him in the lead-up to Belgium’s Holy Week, Wout van Aert said the tale had been overblown
“I have received many concerned messages that were not really necessary,” he explained “Unfortunately, this happens almost every day when you cycle on public roads. It was certainly not a safe situation, but almost dead? Of course we were shocked by the truck that cut us off, but that was all there was to it. I was shocked a second time when I heard that Jan had told that [story] in the podcast.”
Also, a big big BIIIG ‘come on guys’ to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws after they captioned the above photo ‘Wout van Aert rides past some cycle tourists’, somehow failing to notice they were members of the Ceratizit-WNT squad also out on a recon ride ahead of De Ronde. We can only assume the mistake was made due to the people making the newspaper lacking eyes and/or brains.
Cycling on TV (all times CET) 📺
• Volta Limburg Classic (3pm-4.30pm)
• Gran Premio Miguel Indurian (3.30pm-6pm)
• Women’s Tour of Flanders (3pm-6.30pm)
• Men’s Tour of Flanders (9.45am-5.25pm)
• Tour of the Basque Country – Stage 1 (3.30pm-6pm)
Nairo’s not giving up
After being spotted training in Andorra, Nairo Quintana has confirmed he is still searching for a team in 2023.
Dropped like a stone all hopped up on painkillers by Arkéa-Samsic following his double Tramadol positive at last year’s Tour de France, the Colombian didn’t find a new squad over the winter but a) remains resolved to continue racing professionally and b) is still proclaiming his innocence.
“The day I put a race number on my back again in big events, it will be a great victory for myself, Colombia and all of Latin America,” he told ESPN in an interview.
“I have not done anything wrong, I’m holding my head high. I was in the Nationals and I wanted to win, that’s the truth. I’m still convinced that I can do something and the numbers I have from training back me up.
“I’ve been talking to various different people, and right now any team can contract me without any problem. We have to bear in mind that some already have full rosters and that makes things much more complicated.”
We’re still holding out for Nairo going full privateer and racing Unbound 2023.
Just a reminder that you can check out the whole Escape Collective podcast network at any time on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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