Spin Cycle: A load of old Oqtosh

A man must have a code.

Can confirm this was pizza margherita and not the pineapple abomination that gripped last year’s Giro?

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 12.05.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos, Andrei Martinaș, Jan Tratnik, Ulugbek Saidov and Thibaut Pinot - AKA the five-a-side team of your dreams about dying.
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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 then. The Giro d’Italia is in full swing and we’ve got a bumper edition of this newsletter for you. Maybe you could have done with it being published during stage 7 of the Italian Grand Tour to while away the hours, as little of note happened on the final 45 km-long climb. Maybe, just maybe, this is an argument against climbs this long in the first week of a Grand Tour when there is still all to play for.

Anyway, that’s the Giro. It’s not really supposed to make sense. What does make sense is Mads Pedersen honking the horn on his team bus to interrupt an interview, or Jan Tratnik confirming he’s one of the smiliest men in the peloton, or that Annemiek van Vleuten is hinting maybe she’ll follow Alejandro Valverde into the Movistar brown-short bandit squad next year. And it’s all contained below! As well as a TV guide with revamped time zones that made our brain very hurty when putting together and is almost definitely at least a little wrong. So please, have a field day letting us know the fuck-ups to remind us what worthless, lowlife pieces of human gárbage we are at the Spin Cycle. Enjoy your weekend!

I moustache you to stop that

The day before Mads Pedersen won the Giro’s stage six, we learned that his knack for good timing encompasses both the WorldTour sprinting and comedic worlds.

While his Trek-Segafredo sports director Grégory Rast tried in vain to answer questions before the start of stage five, Pedersen took position in the bus driver’s seat, and gave the horn a wallop each time Rast tried to speak.

The comedic timing is perfect, especially the last one, and is certainly better than his moustache-growing ability. You can’t have it all, I guess.

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A load of old Oqtosh

A weird one emerged at the Tour Oqtosh, a 1.2 mountain time trial UCI race in Uzbekistan.

A relatively unknown 26-year-old, Ulugbek Saidov, who is contracted to American ProTeam Novo Nordisk and has never taken a top 10 in a UCI event before this day, won the 9.5 km race against the clock by more than two and a half minutes against many other seasoned pros of the UCI Asia Tour circuit.

Supposedly, according to a report by, this victory – with an average speed more than 3 km/h faster than the next-best rider – was enough to trigger the suspicion and anger of his opponents, who contacted the aforementioned publication with allegations that Saidov was helped by a motorbike to achieve such a result. The next day in the Tour Oqtosh road race he was the second-to-last finisher, more than five minutes down on the winner. He must have spent everything in his conquering time trial performance.

It is important to point out that Saidov was racing for his national federation at their home race, and not Novo Nordisk. And that there is no visual evidence of any wrongdoing or any communication from race officials to confirm that anything happened.

Races such as the Tour Oqtosh are apparently important in designating spots for riders at events such as the Olympic Games.

Novo Nordisk told Escape Collective they have no official comment to make about the situation.

Feed Zone ?

? So far three riders have been forced to pull out of the Giro d’Italia due to COVID-19 positives: Clément Russo (Arkéa-Samsic), Giovanni Aleotti (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck).

? An already raw, wet day at Itzulia Women’s was made substantially worse when a police car, escorting an ambulance the wrong way on course, hit a group of riders head-on, sending four to the hospital with injuries. Reports suggest the strung-out field confused course officials into thinking the race had already passed.

?‍♀️ All three stages of this month’s Ford RideLondon Classique will be broadcast by the BBC.

?️ Jay Vine has signed a contract extension to keep him at UAE Team Emirates until at least the end of 2027.

? Tom Dumoulin is now a co-owner of fellow former pro Tom Leezer’s sustainable cycling brand. You know what is more sustainable than producing a bunch of new clothes? Just wearing the old ones you’ve already got!

?? Chris Froome was forced to pull out before the start of his planned participation in the Tour de Hongrie, as the four-time yellow jersey winner aims towards another ride at the Tour de France, which begins in six weeks.

? Annemiek van Vleuten will return to the Crocodile Trophy this year, in what we’re guessing is a precursor to her joining Alejandro Valverde in the brown-shorted Movistar off-road-All-Stars™️.

? Lotto Dstny’s Leenert Van Eetvelt is allowed to return to competition after being suspended in April for an ‘alleged anti-doping violation’ after using a nasal spray during the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. The rider is said to have given an adequate explanation to the French anti-doping authorities.

? Mads Pedersen is the 104th rider in history to win a stage of all three Grand Tours. Having taken only 301 days to do it, he’s the second-quickest to complete the feat behind Daniele Bennati, who accomplished the trio in 297 days.

? Life-affirming photo of the week ?

Maybe it’s because the operation was successful, maybe it’s because he’s seen the combo of hard racing and miserable weather this first week in Italy, but have you ever seen someone so happy while in hospital?

There’s Jan Tratnik, who injured his knee after colliding with a car on a final training ride before the opening Giro d’Italia time trial and was ruled out of the race. He’s just got his big jug of blackcurrant squash. He’s happy. Although that brown bread looks so dry maybe he could lend a slice of it to his Jumbo-Visma teammates still in Italy to towel off with.

‘I said, any more of that egg nonsense and I’ll tell Vino you still have one of those Scicon suitcases hidden away.’

Cav surely can’t be eggstatic about all this

Not only does Mark Cavendish have to wear that monstrosity of a Dutch British national champs jersey. Not only does he have to pretend to be best pals with a man who if he wasn’t in bike racing would likely be an evil supervillain hatching plans to take over the tri-state area in Alexandre Vinokourov. And not only does Mark Cavendish have to suffer through a series of crashes during a wet first week of the Giro d’Italia, but he has to do so while his qwazy Astana-Qazaqstan teammates mess about with an egg. If you missed that story, it got the Treloar Treatment, being the type of story that Iain is contractually obliged to write about (you think we’re joking).

On a serious point, it absolutely sucked that Cavendish fell in that sprint finish, and was amazing how he managed to hold onto his handlebars and slide across the line into fourth place (even if the photo finish allowed everyone an afternoon spent doing bad Photoshops).

The very next day, as he no doubt suffered a little from his injuries, Cavendish was knocked over by a gust of wind in a corner as he descended off a climb. Again, no serious injury, just more pain for the Manxman. Not doing so well in the wind: Mark Cavendish ? Dorothy and Toto.

And THEN, as if it couldn’t get any worse. Cavendish’s teammate Samuele Battistella is spotted, mid-stage seven, passing out lamb kebabs to TV cameramen and riders on rival teams. No lamb kebabs for Cav. PISSED.

Joking aside, we hope Cavendish heals up well and is so ticked off by the misfortune he’s suffered that he channels it into a stage win, before telling every single person on Twitter that memed his slide across the line to fuck off.

? Soudal Quick-Step having more in common with fictional Baltimore police higher-ups than you’d think quote of the week ?

“They were obsessed with McNulty.”

This is according to the sworn testimony Geraint Thomas, who on his Watts Occurring podcast said how Soudal Quick-Step chased down Brandon McNulty on stage 4 like a wolfpack obsessed, when all McNulters wanted was a little trip up the road for a potential stage win.

The American was only five minutes down on GC, a time not acceptably lengthy enough for Remco Evenepoel’s team to allow him that freedom.

“They were obsessed with McNulty…of course you don’t want someone like him to come back in the standings,” Thomas explained. “But still, it’s stage 4 and he’s already at five minutes. It would be a strange move to lose five minutes first and then go for the general classification.”

Cycling on TV ?


Giro d’Italia, Stage 8

Itzulia Women, Stage 2

Tour de Hongrie, Stage 4

MTB – XCO Short Track

Nové Mesto UCI MTB World Cup – Men’s U23

Nové Mesto UCI MTB World Cup – Women’s U23


Giro d’Italia, Stage 9 ITT

Itzulia Women, Stage 3

Tour de Hongrie, Stage 5

MTB – XCO Short Track

Nové Mesto UCI MTB World Cup – Elite Women

Nové Mesto UCI MTB World Cup – Elite Men


No televised live racing – after the weekend’s jam-packed schedule it gives your family the chance to remember what your face looks like.

And finally …

A fun story from Xylon van Eyck: Andreas Leknessund ran a marathon in the 2018 off season with no training. He spent the week after on crutches and couldn’t ride his bike. Did an impressive time of 3:01.

Corrections corner ?️?

An edition passed on Monday featuring zero glaring mistakes. So instead we’ll lend this space to Thibaut Pinot who corrected both the Giro d’Italia and Jumbo-Visma earlier in the week when they conspired to try and present stage 5 as something it wasn’t.

Primes (for helpful members) ?

The laundromat photo used in today’s cover image was provided by the iridescent Andrei Martinaș. He writes:

“It’s from a laundromat in Offenbach, Germany. I used to cycle to it 15 years ago when I didn’t yet own a washing machine in my first home when I moved to Germany… it’s pretty rough.”

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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