Riding is Life


Spin Cycle: A different sort of Everesting

I now can't unsee Merijn Zeeman as the Dutch John C. Reilly. Help.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 23.06.2023 Photography by
Maude Dull, Chris Froome, Cor Vos, Jayco-AlUla.
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Spin Cycle is 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.


Welcome back to Spin Cycle! Escape Collective’s news digest.

What a week it’s been. It’s obviously the job of this intro to sell our wares and entice you to continue reading right until the very end, but when Nairo Quintana being linked with a mid-season switch to Soudal Quick-Step (!) and NEOM (that dumb thing Saudi Arabia are building) rumoured to be discussing a potential sponsorship of Jumbo-Visma are items relegated to the Feed Zone section, you know we’ve got a bumper issue in store.

It’s hard to tell what’s our favourite mad thing that’s happened this week in the cycling world. Chris Froome going rock climbing on some holiday spon con to cope with his omission from Israel-Premier Tech’s Tour de France squad? Nah. Rochelle Gilmore trying to flog a million-Euro house via Twitter which led us to uncovering a video she uploaded herself of her vomiting in an apartment block’s stairwell? Maybe. What about Jumbo-Visma turning their hand to acting while EF-Education EasyPost try and fit as many rhetorical questions into one single press release? Yeah, that was fun.

Maybe we’ll just start with a certain boyfriend of Urška Žigart.

Urška Žigart’s boyfriend

The results of the latest archaeological dig at the rich and storied site of Belgium’s newspaper offices was another fossilised dose of, you guessed it, sexism! Some husbands over at Het Nieuwsblad seemed to forget Urška Žigart’s name, instead referring to her as Tadej Pogačar’s girlfriend.

The best way to defeat their latest and unrelenting serving of misogyny? The internet produced a rare W this week in subsequently referring to Tadej Pogačar only as Urška Žigart’s boyfriend, with Jayco-AlUla even getting in on in the act (even if Žigart would have to probably be driven around by Pogačar if the pair were to ever take a trip to Saudi Arabia to visit the ancient city of AlUla).

Regardless, Het Nieuwsblad either doubled down or leant into the joke (we are almost certain it’s the first) with a headline later in the week reporting on Pogačar and Žigart both winning their respective Slovenian national time trial titles with: “Tadej Pogacar (and his girlfriend) beat opponents”. Oh, Belgium.

House prices to make you sick

Here’s something I bet you didn’t think about this week: what’s Rochelle Gilmore up to?

Well, I am pleased to tell you that she is…drum roll please…selling her €1.1 million “dream home” in Mallorca in order to pay for a recent expedition she took to Mount Everest!

She’s included a photo of herself in the living room (just so you know she definitely lived there) and the realtor is certainly earning their money by including typos in the property description, inviting you to ‘walk up’ instead of wake up to mountain and bay views from the master bedroom.

We’re not sure exactly how Gilmore managed to spend €1.1 million on an Everest expedition (a quick google says it costs fraction of that) but what we DO know is that during training, she uploaded a video of her walking up and down a stairwell (presumably at altitude) in which she projectile vomits all over the place (with accompanying sound! and not for the faint hearted).

It is quite the video, maybe the most bizarre we’ve ever seen on the internet, which is saying something. How do you have the presence of mind to quickly grab your phone and start recording when you’re about to do a little-sick from exercise-induced nausea? More importantly, WHY would anyone do this.

Anyway, even if the creepy dudes who are always in Gilmore’s comments weren’t on hand to mop up the sick themselves, maybe they could club together to buy the house she’s flogging.

Feed Zone ?

?? Tour de France squads are being announced thick and fast, we’re compiling them all here.

?‍♀️ The Giro Donne may be one of the oldest and most prestigious women’s stage races, but organiser Starlight clearly has a case of senioritis in its last year running the event before RCS takes over. The latest is a reported €730,000 budget hole for TV production that nearly scuttled the whole thing, and was filled at the last minute by event owners the Italian Cycling Federation.

??‍♂️ We want whatever Miguel Ángel López is having for breakfast (okay, maybe only a little bite) as the Colombian has won five out of six stages at the Vuelta a Colombia – including a bunch sprint and a prologue time trial – and came second in the only one he didn’t win.

? Ironman world champion Taylor Knibbs has signed a contract with Trek-Segafredo, although she will continue to compete in triathlon alongside road racing.

? Saudi Arabia’s NEOM city has emerged as a rumoured new potential headline sponsor for Jumbo-Visma. Team boss Richard Plugge says he doesn’t know anything about it, but agencies contracted to find new funders on behalf of the team may have been in contact. Maybe they’ve floated the idea out there to see how people will react … personally I cannot wait for UAE and Saudi Arabia to fight over the storied yellow jersey for years to come!

?‍♀️ Ineos Grenadiers’ Ben Tulett is close to leaving for Jumbo-Visma next season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. The Italian newspaper also reports that Egan Bernal will be in the British team’s Tour de France squad.

??????? Meanwhile, Geraint Thomas will head to the Vuelta a España for only the second time in his career and also take aim at August’s World Championships in Glasgow.

?? Lotte Kopecky will not be taking part in the Giro Donne and instead focus solely on the upcoming Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.

?? The Swiss national time trial championships were cancelled this week in light of Gino Mäder’s passing.

? Tim Wellens has not recovered from his Tour of Flanders crash and subsequent rehabilitation in time to form part of Tadej Pogačar’s supporting cast at the Tour de France.

? Ag2r Citroën will have their own Continental-level training team next season.

? Arkéa-Samsic’s Maxime Bouet will retire after Il Lombardia this year.

? The rumoured move of Magnus Cort from EF Education-EasyPost to Uno-X is apparently very much happening.

? Team DSM-Firmenich (their new name) will see their sprinter Sam Welsford leave for Bora-Hansgrohe at the end of the year, while Fabio Jakobsen who was linked with the German team will now apparently head to DSM.

? Bauke Mollema will not line up for Lidl-Trek at the Tour de France, having raced every edition since 2011.

?? The Jumbo-Visma development team has signed three British juniors to join the team in 2024: Matthew Brennan, Tomos Pattinson and Jed Smithson.

? According to @MigHermosilla ‘on Twitter’ (so take it with a pinch of salt) Nairo Quintana is heading to Soudal Quick-Step for the second half of the season to take part in the Clásica San Sebastián and Vuelta a España? Surely not.

♻️ Parkhotel Valkenburg will stop sponsoring the women’s team they give their name to at the end of the year but will be replaced by VolkerWessels.

? Tweet of the week ?

For those who haven’t seen, Remco Evenepoel’s slide at the Belgian national time trial championships was one of the most graceful things to happen this year. This from Paxton Hyde and @samlikeybikey, the man who also brought you the Netflix fack-comp this week (terrible username, fantastic content), is so specific and accurate it tickled us just right.

? Video of the week ?

Jonas Vingegaard and Christophe Laporte need not worry about any future career in acting as it certainly does not exist for either of them (I think Jumbo-Visma must have blackmailed Jonas while at this altitude camp into doing the video by promising him extra minutes on the phone with his wife in the evening) but Merijn Zeeman, I don’t know! I could see him emerge as some sort of Dutch John C. Reilly. He’s got chops!

The end product is proof that Jumbo-Visma pulled out all of the stops in order to re-sign Olav Kooij, as the sprinter looked pretty much out the door at the end of the season.

? David Brent-esque contract announcement of the week ?

Press releases from professional cycling teams are usually drab affairs. Information just needs to be conveyed quickly and clearly in a manner that does nothing to risk any unintended consequences. In other news, here’s a paragraph from EF Education EasyPost’s press release about Ben Healy signing a contract extension with the team.

“Ben is a genuine student of the sport who never wants to just stick to the status quo. His first love was mountain biking, so he has always raced beyond road cycling’s codes. Ben is always thinking: How can he get faster? How can he be even more aero? How can he outwit his rivals? He is constantly coming up with brave, creative ideas that will push our organization forwards, especially as he takes on more of a leadership role with his teammates, who respect his talent and his heart.”

The Spin Cycle is always thinking, how can we endear ourselves even less in the peloton with our snark? How can we piss off EF Education-EasyPost just three weeks out from them hopefully inviting us again onto their massive boat on the Seine for the post-Champs-Élysées party in Paris? Look, if Iain managed to pint-watch the team into a furious rage at last year’s Tour and get away with it, I reckon we’re safe. But the above press release is absolutely giving Brent mused and we kind of love it and hate it. Maybe, in the words of Brent’s counterpart Michael Scott, we fear how much we love it.

Even better, the announcement didn’t even tell us how long Healy’s signed for! Only that it’s a “multi-year” contract. EF may be the cool kids of the peloton, but we wish sometimes they would do things more by the book. In other news, I’ve bet my non-existent house on the fact they will be the last team to announce their Tour de France squad.

Cycling on TV ?


Spanish National Road Race Championships – Elite Women

GCN+ (05:30-07:30 ET/10:30-12:30 BST/19:30-21:30 AEST)

French National Road Race Championships – Elite Women

GCN+ (07:55-11:05 ET/12:55-16:05 BST/21:55-01:05 AEST)

UCI BMX Racing World Cup, Round 3 – Papendal

GCN+ (11:30-13:20 ET/16:30-18:20 BST/01:30-03:20 AEST)


British National Road Race Championships – Elite Women

GCN+ (03:50-17:45 ET/08:50-12:45 BST/17:50-21:45 AEST)

Mountain Bike UEC Cross-country European Championships – Elite Women

GCN+ (05:30-07:15 ET/10:30-12:15 BST/19:30-21:15 AEST)

Spanish National Road Race Championships – Elite Women

GCN+ (06:00-08:15 ET/11:00-13:15 BST/20:00-22:15 AEST)

French National Road Race Championships – Elite Women

GCN+ (08:00-11:05 ET/13:00-16:05 BST/22:00-01:05 AEST)

Mountain Bike UEC Cross-country European Championships – Elite Men

GCN+ (08:15-10:15 ET/13:15-15:15 BST/22:15-00:15 AEST)

British National Road Race Championships – Elite Men

GCN+ (08:20-13:20 ET/13:20-18:20 BST/22:20-03:20 AEST)

UCI BMX Racing World Cup, Round 4 – Papendal

GCN+ (09:00-11:50 ET/14:00-15:50 BST/23:00-00:50 AEST)



And finally…

Aside from laying the blame at the feet of the equipment used successfully on a regular basis by all eight members of the squad who managed to make the team (if only Froome had been able to have a hand in the helping develop the bikes he’d be using, oh wait, he literally does!), how’s Chris Froome reacting to not being selected for the Tour de France?

Well, he’s put a big green helmet on for some rock climbing before sitting down for some coffee on a camping stove with teammate Guy Niv as part of a promotional tour of Israel. To be honest, there are worst things than getting paid to go on holiday. We just hope that Factor mountain bike in the last image doesn’t prevent him from completing a loop-de-loop of that square thing he’s in, as that would be the only thing holding him back from doing so!

Corrections corner ?✏️

“Regarding the Spin Cycle from Monday,” writes Eric H. “Contador also hit the deck pretty hard at a Gran Fondo in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada last year. These promo appearances are more dangerous than his entire pro career!”

In Monday’s TV Guide we missed the listings for the French national time trial championships as well as some of the BMX European Championships. They hadn’t been listed on the GCN+ app when we checked, so we’re going to lay the blame squarely at GCN’s door (but also thank you for regularly providing so much live televised racing).

Primes (for helpful members) ?

Thanks to Maude Dull for this week’s laundromat photo all the way from San Francisco, California! (We dread to think how much it costs to do your laundry in there…)

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

Until next time …

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