Spin Cycle: A Jumbo-sized problem is brewing

The World Health Organization say that Covid-19 is no longer 'a global health emergency', just an emergency in the Jumbo-Visma Giro d'Italia squad.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 05.05.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos and Unsplash
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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.


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

Here we go! The first Grand Tour of the season is nearly upon us. The Giro d’Italia. A big Primož Roglič vs. Remco Evenepoel punch-up. But when do things ever go as expected at these three week races?

While Roglič against Remco is a tasty match-up, the fervour for Grand Tours is in entering the unknown: that predicting what will happen, the assorted vibrancy and intrigue, is ultimately unpredictable. The riders are ready, the official Giro d’Italia meme team have fired up their laptops, and we are all ready to watch the racing unfold.

That is, if a Covid-19 resurgence doesn’t mess it all up. But let’s not think about that. La la la, everything is fine! Honestly, nothing will go wrong!

Giro d’Itali-ah, that piece of official online content released the requisite tiny amount of dopamine so that maybe the world is not such a terrible place after all.

Of all the races that would be the most online, the most in tune with the temperature of our internet hellscape, you wouldn’t think it would be the Giro d’Italia. A race steeped in tradition, so laid back it’s almost horizontal (everything apart from the stage profiles, that is), would surely be the last to hold a desire to capture as many social media clicks and impressions.

Yet the social media admins who run the race’s accounts are clearly back for another year, judging by the above video. So, strap in for three weeks of beautiful racing and pure fuego alarm emoji memes. Whoever is behind the gear-shift to meme-mastery, we salute you. This is what “growing the game” is all about.

Primož Roglič back in a mask at the 2023 Giro d’Italia


It’s just like 2020, 2021, 2022 all over again, as Covid-19 positives threaten riders’ participation in a major bike race.

Positives at the Tour de Romandie are now seeping into Italian Grand Tour rosters, with Jumbo-Visma’s squad the most affected. Tobias Foss and Robert Gesink were replaced in the original eight-man team, before replacement Jos van Emden also came down sick. (Not Covid-related, but Jan Tratnik’s training crash, forcing him out in favour of Thomas Gloag, will surely tax the depth of even Jumbo’s roster.)

Elsewhere, Trek-Segafredo’s Giulio Ciccone will also have to miss out on his home Grand Tour, as will Bahrain-Victorious’ Gino Mäder.

“Covid is going around like crazy,” Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge told NOS, his team aiming for the overall classification with Primož Roglič.

“Hopefully RCS [the race organisers] will do a lot about it. For example, you now see a lot of crowds around. I understand very well that people think it’s over, but it really makes riders sick. And if you’re sick, you just have to get off course. That would be a shame, especially for the contenders.”

“Of course, this worries us, but not only us,” Jumbo-Visma sports director Arthur Van Dongen said about the spread of the virus. “We came to Italy with the team on Wednesday on a flight with many riders,” Van Dongen told De Telegraaf about the anxieties being felt by all teams. “The world around us has forgotten Corona but everyone from the cycling teams on the plane wore a face mask. Other measures will also be restarted, like testing every day.”

Feed Zone ?

? 33-year-old Portuguese climber Joni Brandão, formerly of W52-FC Porto, has been banned for five years for “possession of a prohibited substance and using a prohibited method.”

? Trek-Segafredo will become Lidl-Trek from July, reports HLN, and will receive a significant budget increase.

?️ Former Zaaf rider Danielle De Francesco has signed with Arkéa Pro Cycling, while her former teammate Michaela Drummond finally had her contract with Farto-BTC approved after foot-dragging by the Spanish federation.

? The UCI will reopen talks with athletes and federations on transgender participation and new decisions will be made at the next UCI Committee Meeting at Glasgow World Championships in August.

? A double edition of Covid-19 once again looming large before a Grand Tour and riders tempting fate in just the wrong way quotes of the week ?

“What’s there to worry about? Just wash your hands, and stay away from people”Geraint Thomas

“We hope for the best, huh”Primož Roglič

Here we have two riders in Geraint Thomas and Primož Roglič, known for their terrible, long-term misfortune, playing with fire as they try to temper any potential misery that would arise from a wave of coronavirus positives at the Giro d’Italia.

Cycling on TV (all times CET) ?


• Giro d’Italia, Stage 1 (13:30-17:45)

• La Vuelta Femenina, Stage 6 (14:00-16:00)

• Grand Prix Du Morbihan Femmes (10:15-11:45)

• Grand Prix Du Morbihan Hommes (15:30-17:40)


• Giro d’Italia, Stage 2 (12:00-17:45)

• La Vuelta Femenina, Stage 7 (14:00-16:00)

• Tro-Bro Léon (15:00-17:00)


• Giro d’Italia, Stage 3 (11:30-17:45)

And finally …

We missed this one earlier in the week. Big shoutout to the Hayter family for the kit donation. File this directly under: things we love to see. The Lunsar Cycling Team account (@lunsarcycling) has been providing some great photos and coverage of the Tour de Lunsar in Sierra Leone, so definitely check it out.

“I caahn’t belieeeve they fooked up the TV guide AGAIN!” – Mark Cavendish, if he ever read Spin Cycle.

Corrections corner ?️?

Primes (for helpful members) ?

Until next time …

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