Spin Cycle: A big weekend for dads

Whoever wrote the script to the finale of this Giro d'Italia needs a raise.

Laundrette outside a branch of Intermarché in Alès, France.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 30.05.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
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The Spin Cycle is the Escape Collective’s news digest, published every Monday and Friday. You can read it on this website (obviously) or have it delivered straight to your inbox. You can sign up here.


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What an ending to the Giro d’Italia! If you were watching live and didn’t gasp when the television camera cut to Primož Roglič’s mechanical, then hard luck on possessing neither a heart nor a soul. It had looked like heartbreak once again for the Slovenian, but he managed to pull it out of the bag and secure the maglia rosa. While Roglič’s overall victory was a satisfying one, Geraint Thomas’ gracious acceptance of defeat provided a tonic of raw and genuine humanity that only added to the warm, fuzzy feeling pulsating through the whole weekend. That he also found the time to lend a lead-out to Mark Cavendish was the cherry on top, even if the sprinter interrupted the wall-to-wall good vibes for 10 seconds in his post-stage interview. Ah well, nothing’s ever perfect.

He’s back

You know things are going alright in Tadej Pogačar’s world when videos like the above start popping up again. The arrival of Formula 1 in Monaco for the Grand Prix coincided with the Slovenian ramping up his training as he continues his recovery from the broken wrist suffered at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Therefore, in the latest pure distillation of Pogačar, he again flexes his comedy muscle:

“Charles L’eclairc,” Pogačar says mid-mouthful of a delicious looking bakery purchase, issuing a direct-to-consumer play-on-words with the Monegasque Ferrari driver. “Bon Appétit.”

Ski-daddle on over mate, I need a hand

Remember that guy who ran from the side of the road to help Primož Roglič mid-mechanical during the Giro stage 20 time trial? Turns out it was his former ski jumping teammate Mitja Mežnar who was in the right place at the right time.

If that’s not auspicious enough, ponder this. The time trial stage started in Tarvisio, venue of the ski jumping world championships in the year that Roglič took his final ski jumping victory, becoming world champion in a team event with Mežnar, before turning to cycling full time … whoever wrote the script for the finale to this Giro d’Italia needs a raise! And if that wasn’t enough, he’s taught his son how to do his signature podium celebration.

Feed Zone ?

?‍⚕️ After crashing out of RideLondon on stage 1, Elisa Balsamo was taken to hospital where scans revealed she had suffered a fracture of the left scaphoid bone as well as fractures of both the left and right mandible which will require surgery.

? Another item to add to the list of things Patrick Lefevere doesn’t like: the Giro’s stage 20 time trial, calling the uphill test with savage gradients “a farce”.

? Tim Wellens is forced to miss the upcoming Tour de Suisse (June 11-18) as he continues to recover from a fractured collarbone sustained at the Tour of Flanders. It’s now a race against time for him to be fit enough to compete at the Tour de France.

? Caleb Ewan beat Tim Merlier to record his first UCI victory of the season. The Australian won the Van Marksteijn Fences Classic on Saturday (the successor to the Marcel Kint Classic) as he prepares for next month’s French Grand Tour.

? SD Worx turned up to the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour one rider light, won the team time trial, won all of the next five stages with a different member of their five-woman squad, and then finished 1-2-3 on GC, also taking the points and team classifications. Matt de Neef has more on this story here.

?? There are whispers we may have a new Slovenian star in the works as Gal Glivar won the overall at the Orlen Nations Grand Prix (U23) in impressive fashion.

? Charlotte Kool won stages 1 and 3 to help her take the overall victory at the three-day RideLondon Classique.

?? At the Tour of Norway, Trek-Segafredo’s Thibau Nys took his first professional victory on stage 3 but was beaten into third overall by GC winner Ben Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers). The Brit’s teammate Magnus Sheffield was runner-up. As for the Norwegians, Alexander Kristoff won the final stage for Uno-X – on a course practically made for the Stavanger Stallion, seeing as it started in Stavanger, finished in Stavanger, and went up a hill near his house which has ‘Kristoff’ painted all over it. Synergies.

Send Nudes

If Tadej Pogačar hadn’t provided video evidence over the weekend that he wasn’t at the finish of the Giro’s stage 19, we would put him in at least the top 5 suspects for having created this mountain-top edition of ‘send nudes’.

? The Spicy Cav interview moment of the week ?

“Mark, your very last stage of the Giro d’Italia and your very first win of the year, how exceptional is that?”

“I’m very happy, you’ve always got to put a little negative thing on every little question, don’t you? Like a pessimistic thing, that it’s my first win.”

Just like you can always trust Mark Cavendish to eventually come up trumps with a Grand Tour stage win, he is almost as consistent in unnecessarily being a bit of a dick.

The above quote is from his post-stage 21 interview after Cavendish took the win in Rome. Some context: those immediate grabs are done by the Giro d’Italia organisation itself on the world feed, and conducted by a courteous Frenchman called Jeff Quenet. Jeff is not only a ubiquitous behind-the-scenes presence at loads of bike races, helping make sure everything runs smoothly, but he is also an absurdly charitable individual, willing to always go the extra mile to help anyone out. If you listen back to the interview, the malice that Cav detects in the question is not there.

With the Tour soon upon us, we will no doubt have a lot of competition for the Spicy Cav moment of the week, but after he retires maybe we should start ranking tribute acts out of 10 Spicy Cavs? We’ll ruminate on it; it’s important to keep his legacy alive.

As the interview fades out, commentator Rob Hatch subtly gives his view of what’s just gone on: “Jeff Quenet doing his job there.”

Cycling on TV ?


• Mercan Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes

Wednesday – Friday

Erm, not to panic anyone, but it doesn’t appear there’s any live racing for the rest of the week? Unless we’ve got things completely wrong. The women’s Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia Ruta Del Sol begins on Wednesday but we can’t see any TV listings for that, neither the 1.1 Giro dell’Appennino on Friday. Maybe there will be a domestic Italian broadcast for that one you can find on a maybe-not-totally-legal streaming site, but we haven’t seen anything. Could be a long week folks!

And finally…

Of all the Geraint Thomas moments of this weekend, the post-Rome interview featuring his son, Macs, is a good one that may have flown under the radar. It’s always nice when riders include their kids in these big career moments, creating memories for the both of them while humanising the riders as more than Garmin-pressing watt monsters. Clearly, Thomas’ son is in the ‘Why?’ stage of his life.

Parents around the world will shiver in fear at the intonation accompanying the ‘DaaAAAaaaddd’, a question-that’s-not-actually-a-question, as Macs proceeds to simply point out that the microphone stand is long. Thomas, having just climbed off after a gruelling three weeks, following an emotional crescendo to a race he once led, showcases God-tier levels of patience in deftly answering his son and continuing with the interview. A couple of minutes later, another question and explanation of what a selfie stick is. Geraint Thomas’ stock continues to rise.

Primes (for helpful members) ?

Today’s featured laundrette comes courtesy of Denise, who writes:

“We‘re spending some time cycling in the Cévennes region in the south of France and came across this outdoor laundrette outside the local Intermarché in Alès. How cool is that?”

As always, we are accepting your own laundry photos to star in the Spin Cycle. Either send them via the Discord or shoot me an email: [email protected]

Until next time …

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