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Welcome back to Spin Cycle, Escape Collective’s news digest.
Today we may have the absolutely humdinger of a trifecta containing Miguel Ángel López getting dope tested at mother f-ing Disney World, Thibaut Pinot guzzling pints and a welcome return of Julian Alaphilippe’s winning personality, but the most exciting news (we may be biased) is the fact you can now own a tangible piece of Spin Cycle! Scroll down for details. We’ll leave it at that.
The Happiest Place on Earth (to piss into a cup)
Miguel Ángel López is ticked off. Why? You ask. Well, the currently provisionally-suspended 29-year-old had the out-of-competition testers turn up at his door while he was on holiday at Walt Disney World in Florida.
An amazing mental image of López answering the door to his hotel room whilst wearing Mickey Mouse ears, exhausted after a day of having his senses assaulted by the visual splendour of the theme park, yet maybe taking some slight relief in having five minutes to himself while he pees into a cup.
We likely would never have known this happened had López not decided to post a video on Instagram, filmed on site at Disney World.
“I had not wanted to say this in public, but it is time because a long time has passed,” López said (thanks to CyclingNews for the translation), having provisionally been suspended for ‘use and possession of a prohibited substance in the weeks before the 2022 Giro d’Italia.’
“Everyone knows the situation I’m going through, the provisional suspension that the UCI has had on me for almost 5 months, and that as of today I know absolutely nothing about my future.
“Just like now in the Disney hotel, I have collaborated, I have done the things they have asked of me. I have collaborated with information, with controls, because I have passed many.
“If they take the trouble to come here (to do the anti-doping test), let them take the same trouble to solve the issue for me and expedite me, investigate and give me the green light to do what I like because I am not hiding anything and I’m clean, I have nothing to do with it.”
Sounds like Miguel needs a go on Space Mountain to cheer him up.
Something for the Cian film festival
We are nearing the one-week anniversary of Jumbo-Visma and Bora-Hansgrohe’s duelling press releases claiming Cian Uijtdebroeks as their own rider, the highlight of which has to be this supercut video from Belgian media of the 20-year-old rider present at Jumbo-Visma’s training camp in blank training kit, walking around clearly in full knowledge that his every move is being captured and analysed. It looks like quite an uncomfortable way of being.
It now seems inevitable the dispute between Uijtdebroeks, Bora-Hansgrohe, and Jumbo-Visma will have its day in court, where things like the allegations of bullying will be clarified. Appearing on The Cycling Podcast this week, as both sides engage in the PR battle for the hearts and minds of the cycling public, Bora sports director Rolf Aldag gave his view of the situation.
“Cian is very, very intense to work with. He demands a lot of time, but in a positive way. He asks very specific questions, challenges us as a team, and takes people out of their comfort zone. Some people like that, others might like it less,” Aldag explained.
“Cian raises the bar, also for other riders within the team. You have to imagine that you are thirty years old and that the team management constantly refers to a twenty-year-old as a reference. And then says: ‘If you had lived like him, you might have done better.’ The young guys are pushing the older riders these days. That is an evolution within the sport and is very positive. The experienced boys can no longer keep the young people under their thumb.”
Sounds like Aldag is grateful to have had a rider of Uijtdebroeks’ fastidiousness. We hope for Uijtdebroeks’ sake this whole mess gets sorted out sooner rather than later.
Although another new theory has emerged, that maybe Uijtdebroeks just didn’t want to wear the new Bora-Hansgroß kit. Even the affable Jai Hindley looks like he can’t believe what he’s going to be wearing for the next 12 months.
Feed Zone 🥖
👊 Lotto-Dstny’s Maxim Van GIls has been given a 25-day suspension (starting mid-January) for hitting Georgios Bouglas during the Japan Cup Criterium in October. He’s also been fined 50 Swiss Francs ($57).
🚀 Mark Cavendish is expected to begin his season at the Tour Colombia, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, adding on an altitude camp in the country too.
👋 Daniel Navarro has announced his retirement from professional cycling at the age of 40.
💪 Tao Geoeghegan Hart will focus on the Tour de France for Lidl-Trek next season. “I have banished every form of doubt from my mind,” he told Het Nieuwsblad of his confidence ahead of returning to the peloton following serious injury.
🛒 Intermarché-Circus-Wanty will be known as Intermarché-Wanty next year.
☀️ Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme is hopeful Remco Evenepoel will race Paris-Nice (with 2024’s course unveiled this week featuring two uphill finishes and a team time trial) as a warm-up to the summer’s French Grand Tour.
📈 AG Insurance-Soudal will step up to Women’s WorldTour level in 2024 to make it 15 teams in the top tier.
💰 Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué is still looking for a new co-sponsor to provide additional funds for his team.
⛰️ Peter Sagan has revealed his 2024 mountain bike race programme, which will begin in Abu Dhabi on February 11 before a number of World Cups as well as a few Slovakian road races for his brother Juraj’s Continental team RRK Group-Pierre Baguette-Benzinol.
🇩🇰 Denmark will have a men’s and women’s WorldTour one-day race from 2025, Ekstra Bladet reports.
😬 Wout Poels is not happy that the Olympic road race peloton consists of only 90 riders. “It’s ridiculous because you won’t get all the best riders at the start,” he told GCN. “Instead you have all these countries with no cycling history. They bring riders to the start who cannot even follow ten kilometers. It’s a nice Olympic idea, but it doesn’t really work. A peloton of ninety riders takes away some of the shine of the race.”
🦌 Elmar Reinders has extended with Jayco-AlUla until the end of 2025.
🦈 31-year-old Antonio Nibali has retired from professional cycling, Gazzetta dello Sport reports.
🚜 Some fighting talk from Tim Declerq: “The team [at Lidl-Trek] for the Classics is stronger than the one at Soudal Quick-Step,” he told GCN.
🤞 38-year-old Jakob Fuglsang is about to enter the final year of his Israel-Premier Tech contract but has no plans to retire just yet. “When I signed this contract, I was pretty sure that 2024 would be my last year. But when I started training a month ago and thought about the fact that this could be my last season, I came to the conclusion that I want to do one more,” he told Ekstra Bladet. “I’m going into the season with the goal of riding one more.”
⚽ French rider at the football of the week
It looks very much like Thibaut Pinot is living his best life, double parked with a couple of lager beers at this week’s Borussia Dortmund vs. Paris Saint-Germain Champions League game. We hope someone was feeding the goats while he was away …
Cycling on TV 📺
Saturday December 16th
X20 Trofee Herentals – Elite Women
GCN+ (07:45-08:45 ET/12:45-13:45 GMT/23:45-00:45 AEST)
X20 Trofee Herentals – Elite Men
GCN+ (08:55-10:20 ET/13:55-15:20 GMT/00:55-02:20 AEST)
Sunday December 17th
UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Namur – Elite Women
GCN+ (07:30-09:00 ET/12:30-14:00 GMT/23:30-01:00 AEST) and on FloBikes in the US
UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Namur – Elite Men
GCN+ (09:00-10:30 ET/14:00-15:30 GMT/01:00-02:30 AEST) and on FloBikes in the US
Monday December 18th
No live racing …
👕 T-shirt of the week
I’ll cut to the chase: WE HAVE SPIN CYCLE MERCH NOW.
This means we are a real, tangible thing that doesn’t just exist on a phone or computer screen.
Yes, I drew the logo myself and yes it looks like I used my feet to hold the pen. Yes, it’s a drawing of Jonas Vingegaard chugging a bottle of champagne while inside a washing machine. Yes, it’s supposed to be a bit shit but hopefully in a lovable way.
Here’s the deal, if you sign up for an annual Escape Collective Insider membership you get a t-shirt of your choice for FREE (and there are a number of different options if you don’t like the Spin Cycle one).
Alternatively, if you’re already a paid-up member (and thank you once again for being so) you can buy one using your money. It’s just a bit of fun close to Christmas and another potential avenue we’re exploring to support our fledgling independent media company.
Follow this link for the membership and t-shirt bundle and if you’re just after a t-shirt (five different colours available) then get yourself clicking right here.
And finally …
Even as Patrick Lefevere edges Julian Alaphilippe closer to the exit door (stuff like sacking his cousin Franck as the former World Champion’s coach, or using the press to say he’s not performing to the salary he’s paid) the Frenchman still finds it in his locker to pull out an all-time performance for Soudal Quick-Step’s unveiling of their new(?) kit for 2024.
I wish I could have been one of the people in the background holding the torches. Looks fun.
🩳 Corrections Koener
Escape Collective’s pre-eminent commenter, a name likely familiar to anyone who’s perused the right-hand side of one of our website articles, the one and only Koen Miseur, has dropped an absolute knowledge bomb on the direct translation of Uijtdebroeks’ name:
“The direct translation [of Uijtdebroeks] is ‘out the pants’ (but it really means out of the swamp). Just a fun note for ya!”
🧺 Send us yer laundry pics
“Found myself in Launderama (always wondered why they were called that) in north west London earlier and couldn’t resist grabbing a picture,” writes Tom Elwood, attaching today’s laundrette photo. “Hopefully you can use them for Spin Cycle, if not then you’ve just got a couple more pictures in what I imagine to be a vast album of laundrette photos!”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time …
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