Riding is Life


Spin Cycle: Aer-no

Drag me to hell ... which presumably is filled with 2024-issue TT helmets.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 08.03.2024 Photography by
Andrew Smith, Cor Vos
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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. Sign up here.


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

For those of you who, like me, aren’t as enamoured with the tech side of bike racing, who don’t lose your mind every time a new sock is spotted in the peloton, this week may have felt longer than others.

Of course, the initial shock and hilarity of the new Visma-Lease a Bike lid was the perfect antidote to a sleepy Monday, but by Friday we’ve had it up to *here* with helmet-based discussion. To be clear as to exactly where *here* is, we’re holding our hand up to the level of the top of the Giro Aerohead II that’s metaphorically sitting atop our heads.

Drag me to hell … which presumably is filled with 2024-issue TT helmets

In case you’ve been living under an oddly-shaped time trial helmet all week – oddly-shaped time trial helmets have been the talk of the town. Which town you ask? I don’t know but I definitely don’t want to live there.

Ronan McLaughlin was lost for words (personally, not professionally, of course), before the UCI announced it would be conducting research into the “increasingly radical” time trial helmets. Visma-Lease a Bike’s performance manager Mathieu Heijboer told AD: “A year ago, the rules were drawn up regarding dimensions and safety. We and the helmet manufacturer Giro started working within those frameworks.”

Similarly, Bahrain-Victorious have told GCN their new TT lid was approved by the UCI just 10 days ago, and they wouldn’t wear anything that wasn’t allowed.

In the same UCI press release stating the governing body was coming for these helmets, they also announced they were banning the Specialized head sock, with Remco Evenepoel probably one of the only people in the entire world upset by this move.

“It’s laughable. There are rules around brake levers, but I still see riders riding around with their brake levers tilting inwards,” Evenepoel told Sporza. “Two years ago, they authorised our helmet, and now they’re taking it out. I kind of feel like they want to play with our balls.”

Another petition: riders to stop using the ‘playing with our balls’ analogy. Thanks.

Red Bull is coming ?

This is what everyone was waiting for following the news earlier this year that Red Bull had acquired 51% of Bora-Hansgrohe: the full Red Bull-ification of the Bora Bois.

According to CyclingNews and Gazzetta dello Sport, Red Bull will become an official title sponsor alongside both Bora and Hansgrohe (Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe we presume?) at this summer’s Tour de France.

This will also include a new kit, naturally, which will apparently be red, so maybe more along the lines of the energy drink’s football club kits rather than the blue/red combination of the Formula 1 outfit. Is this why they offered us the bilious dark green/lime green combo currently being worn by the German team? To make the new Red Bull jersey look even better by comparison?

Feed Zone ?

?‍? Primož Roglič told RTV Slo that he’s still getting used to being a Bora-Hansgrohe rider, having to catch himself before instinctively following Visma-Lease a Bike wheels in the bunch.

? Peter Sagan, in his return from heart surgery and continued build-up to a seemingly-mathematically-impossible Olympics mountain bike race participation, will ride on the road for the fabulously named Pierre Baguette Cycling. He will race a number of one-day races in Slovenia later this month and has also added the Tour de Hongrie to his calendar in May in between some mountain bike World Cup rounds.

? Some slight fisticuffs at the Paris-Nice team time trial, won by UAE Team Emirates, where Remco Evenepoel accused former teammate Tim Declerq of potentially hindering the progress of the Soudal-Quick Step on a technical section of the course by not moving out of the way. Declerq, who now rides for Lidl-Trek, said it was unintentional and he should have been notified by in-race vehicles of Quick Step’s presence behind him. Evenepoel has since apologised for the words said in the heat of the moment.

? Biniam Girmay was stripped of his third-place finish on stage two of Tirreno-Adriatico due to an irregular sprint, the stage having been won by Jasper Philipsen.

? Having recused himself from Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico for personal reasons, Stefan Küng has let it be known his wife suffered a miscarriage last week as the reason for his non-participation in those races. Our thoughts are with Stefan and his family.

?‍♂️ The 2024 edition of La Route d’Occitanie in June has been cancelled due to a lack of available police ahead of the Paris Olympic Games, La Depeche reports.

? Despite reportedly starting Paris-Nice pain-free following his Le Samyn crash, Arnaud De Lie has abandoned the race due to still suffering from the effects of that fall. Lotto Dstny assured Sporza the sprinter would still be ready for the upcoming Classics.

? Chris Froome suffered a nasty-looking fall in the finale of Tirreno-Adriatico’s stage 2, holding his wrist as he got back to his feet. A trip to the hospital revealed no fractures and the 38-year-old was able to continue for another two days before a further MRI showed he had in fact did have a fracture in his scaphoid.

?? After the Giro di Sicilia was not able to raise enough funding to take place this year, RCS Sport have instead managed to squeeze a new race, the four-day Giro d’Abruzzo (located east of Rome), into its mid-April spot on the calendar.

?? Having stolen a march on the Paris-Nice peloton and forced his way into the yellow jersey, Jayco-AlUla’s Luke Plapp says he’s achieved more than he ever expected to this week, making anything else a bonus.

? Christ- again, knees! As three Alpecin-Deceuninck riders are currently suffering from knee injuries, Søren Kragh Andersen was already in the sick bay before being joined by Michael Gogl, who abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico, and Kaden Groves, who was forced to abandon Paris-Nice, both suffering from knee problems.

? Lorena Wiebes won the sprint from a small group to take the 1.1 Altez Gooikse Pijl Oetingen.

? Lars van den Berg has spoken of the worrying crash he suffered at the recent Faun-Ardéche Classic. “I was working on my placement towards a descent and I wanted to start, but suddenly I felt very light-headed and I could no longer move my legs,” Van den Berg said on his own Cycling Inside podcast. “I immediately thought: ‘What’s happening to me now?’ I felt bad and put my hand in the air to warn the peloton and let me drop, because I wanted to stop. My teammates saw me out of nowhere crashing into someone to my left. He gave me a normal shoulder push in response. I collapsed and fell to the ground, but luckily we were driving uphill at 35 to 40 km/h. I came away with a few scrapes, but that was the only thing. Everything went black. Just before I fell, I panicked and thought: ‘This is really going wrong’.” Matt de Neef has a fuller write-up here.

? Jonas Vingegaard surged into the race lead at Tirreno-Adriatico with the stage 5 victory, beating second-place Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) by more than a minute. Dane has more on this story here.

?? At Paris-Nice, Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) won stage 6 from a late attack trio containing Matteo Jorgenson (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), the latter of whom is now the race leader. Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič finished more than a minute off the pace with a lot of ground to gain back over the final two stages if they wish to challenge for the GC.

?️ The queen seventh stage of Paris-Nice has been shortened due to bad weather on the final climb to Auron. Instead, the riders will finish on the Madone d’Utelle.

Cycling on TV ?

Saturday March 9th

Paris-Nice, Stage 7
(07:25-09:25 ET/12:25-14:25 GMT/23:25-01:25 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Peacock, ??FloBikes, ??SBS

Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 6
(08:20-11:20 ET/13:20-16:20 GMT/00:20-03:20 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

Sunday March 10th

Paris-Nice, Stage 8
(07:05-09:05 ET/12:05-14:05 GMT/23:05-01:05 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Peacock, ??FloBikes, ??SBS

Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 7
(08:20-11:20 ET/13:20-16:20 GMT/00:20-03:20 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

Miron Ronde van Drenthe
(10:00-12:00 ET/15:00-17:00 GMT/02:00-04:00 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

Monday March 11th

No live racing …

False flag weird DNF of the week ?

As the race season kicks into gear, we find the news often being dominated by race abandons and injuries. One abandon, however, has caught our eye.

Marc Soler DNFed stage 4 of Paris-Nice due to an injury he picked up outside of racing, having hit his thigh on his handlebars before the start of racing.

“Marc suffered a quadriceps contusion after coming into contact with his handlebars before the start of the second stage,” explained UAE Team Emirates doctor Adrian Rotunno.

“He did his best to continue in the subsequent stages, but unfortunately the injury worsened and he was no longer able to continue racing. Marc will now go home for further examination and focus on his rehabilitation.”

We asked the team for more information about what exactly happened. Did he do it en route to sign-on? Was he absent-mindedly pedalling around whatever car park he found himself in that morning before disaster struck?

Unfortunately, it turns out it actually happened during the stage, not before, despite the doctor’s statement. An oddity with huge potential that turns out to be a complete non-story. Booooo.

And finally …

Looking for something to set your nerves jittering before the weekend? This finale from the Vuelta al Tolima in Colombia featuring a loose dog should do the trick.

? Send us yer laundry pics

“The attached photos are of the dank laundry room in the basement of the apartment building that myself and my wife have found ourselves in, thanks to her brave moves to re-envision her career as a nurse in Louisville,” writes in Andrew Smith, the provider of today’s laundry machine. “I split my time between California and the great southern state of Kentucky, so it’s back to our college days living in an apartment building with people she has deemed ‘animals,’ which is clear given the rather dismal state of the laundry area and the well-worn machines.”

As always, we are accepting your laundry photos (especially ones with the doors open so we can Photoshop riders inside the drum) 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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