Spin Cycle: Basque-ing in pre-Tour glory

It's time for the Tourdy France!

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 30.06.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos, Het Nieuwsblad, Jonny Long
More from Jonny +

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.

Spin Cycle has hit the road! For three and a half weeks our grubby mitts will be rummaging around in the vast sarcophagus of the Tour de France, seeing what odds and ends we can find. The rest of this website will have all of the other great reporting from our ground team but we will be sticking to our principles of rumour, memes and poorly constructed Photoshop jobs. Onwards!

A lidl less fight and a lidl more … thank you, non-sportswashing, morally fine and friendly face of cycling sponsorship, Lidl supermarkets

“Mixed reaction to new outfit. Riders’ faces says it all” reads the above headline from Het Nieuwsblad. Harsh, and who gave the misogynists over at Belgium’s Big Sexism HQ the keys to the fashion kingdom? Yeah, the new kit is in your face, loud. Yes, there are enough primary colours for every pre-schooler in every pre-school that has ever existed, but does it not also remind you of the delicious freshly baked pastries produced by the budget supermarket chain? Did you ever expect to look at Quinn Simmons and think “Yes, croissants”?

Maybe let’s get behind Lidl dropping off a big bunch of money for our sport. Otherwise, you’ll regret it when Christophe Laporte is doing spon-con over at NEOM in Saudi Arabia. Then you’ll wish you had your garish supermarket jerseys.

? Spotted at the Tour ?

While on the ground at a Big Bike Race™️, we will be occasionally donning our capital-J Journalist hats…the only thing is that ‘J’ is written in Comic Sans. So here are our scoops. Also, we’re going to be posting weird sightings and murmurings in the -m-tdf-insiders on our Escape Collective member Discord server.

Come fly with Cavendish

Heading from London to Bilbao, we were honoured to be breathing the same pressurised air in a hurtling metal tin of fumes and doom as none other than Mark Cavendish. Turns out, the Vueling plane we were on did not have any sort of first or premier section, so the sprinter was just another member of cattle class. Once arrived in Spain and waiting at the luggage carousel, we also witnessed Cavendish’ first sprint of the year, to the incorrect motorised loop in pursuit of a Scicon bag that wasn’t his. (Fun aside: it doesn’t seem that despite playing a part in nuking Astana-Qazaqstan’s Scicon deal with his insistence on wearing Oakleys has resulted in Scicon heavies wrenching it from his hands with a disgusted tut).

Unfortunate sponsor placement

Peter Sagan was given a suspended sentence this week after being found guilty of drink driving in Monaco. Pretty unfortunate (or perhaps perfect?) that his team’s sponsor TotalEnergies had a bunch of Peter Sagan posters put up at bus stops in Bilbao, coincidentally a piece of street furniture that the Slovakian will be becoming well accustomed to as he serves his driving ban.

A golden omen?

Did I miss the memo that Jumbo-Visma have won an Olympic gold? Or is the gold – officially part of the Ride Your Dreams marketing campaign – actually a not-so-subtle nod to their Tour de France victory last year? Feels a bit braggy, if we’re honest. Let’s hope this bus-based hubris doesn’t come back to drag them down like the oversized metaphor next to it.

ACAB (All cops are berets).

There is something that tickles us about continental European policemen. The spectre of state-sanctioned violence on its own population mixed with … a red beret! “Anything you do say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” “Even if I say I think your beret really brings out the colour of your eyes?”

Feed Zone ?

✅ The downhill finishes of the Tour’s stages 14 and 17 will stay following safety talks, with work being undertaken on the road surface and new signs put in, reports Het Nieuwsblad. CPA head Adam Hansen is personally heading to France to help the effort, including uploading video of the descents for virtual rider recon.

1️⃣ Race numbers 13 and 61 will not be worn at the Tour de France this year. UAE Team Emirates’ Felix Großschartner will instead wear number 14 and Bahrain Victorious have left number 61 empty in tribute to Gino Mäder.

? Anthony Perez has had his contract with Cofidis extended for another two years. Arkéa-Samsic’s Jenthe Biermans has also been handed a two-year extension.

 ?? “I do not hide that this is a sour pill to swallow,” Greg Van Avermaet told Het Nieuwsblad about his non-selection for the Tour. “I had hoped for more respect.”

? Neilson Powless and his wife Fran are expecting a child in October.

?️ Before the Dauphiné, Egan Bernal’s plan for July was to go on holiday before he was selected for the Tour de France.

?? China’s WorldTour events, the Gree-Tour of Guangxi and the Tour of Chongming Island will return to the calendar in 2024.

☔ Heavy rain forced a cancellation of the opening stage of the Giro Donne. Abby has the story here.

? Not only has season two of the Unchained: Tour de France Netflix documentary been commissioned but a Mark Cavendish documentary titled ‘Never Enough’ will also be coming to the streaming platform from August 2.

? Kirsten Faulkner was hit by a car while out training in California and sustained a small fracture to her knee. She will most likely miss the Tour de France Femmes.

Jasper Disaster is okay with being Jasper Disaster

At the pre-Tour press conference, Spin Cycle got the opportunity to ask Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Jasper Philipsen what he thought of the fact that one of a total of only eight episodes of the Netflix documentary, was titled with a slightly demeaning nickname for him.

“In the beginning, I didn’t really know what to think of it, but of course they created a character a little bit, but I think they did it nicely in the series,” Philipsen Mr. Disaster said. “It’s not that I’m against it, I think they did a good job with showing cycling to a bigger audience, but they always want to create some stories. Maybe it was a bit strange that I was created like that. But it’s not like they made it a really negative story.”

Congrats on the new job, David

by Iain Treloar

In news that we can file under ‘eyebrow raising but not surprising’, David Lappartient – president of the UCI – won the election on Thursday to become president of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). Lappartient had been hotly tipped to score the gig following the resignation of the previous president amid a flurry of infighting, with the Breton taking on the most important role in French sports at its most important time in decades, leading up to the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

Lappartient’s enthusiasm for multiple roles – and numerous controversies involving Russian oligarchs, Turkmen dictators, and Afghan refugees – has been a regular feature of the French media landscape in the lead-up to the vote. That wasn’t enough to dissuade the voting delegates, however, despite Lappartient’s opponent campaigning on the fact that at least she wouldn’t be doing the job part-time. In becoming CNOSF president, Lappartient’s tally of concurrently-held positions now climbs to 11 across the sporting and political sphere. Don’t stress: he’s said that he’ll “probably” quit two of them at some point. 

The UCI did not respond to a request for comment from Escape Collective, including specific questions about whether the organisation sees his many roles as a distraction from his well-paid role, how he will balance his competing priorities, and how he will navigate conflicts of interest. Onward!

Cycling on TV ?


Tour de France, stage 1

GCN+ (07:00-13:00 ET/12:00-18:00 BST/21:00-03:00 AEST)
Coverage also available for American viewers on Peacock premium

Giro Donne, stage 2

GCN+ (07:45-19:45 ET/12:45-14:45 BST/21:45-23:45 AEST)

Mountain bike

UCI MTB World Cup – Val di Sole

Downhill – Elite Women Semi-Final

GCN+ (05:30-06:15 ET/10:30-11:15 BST/19:30-20:15 AEST)

Downhill – Elite Men Semi-Final

GCN+ (06:15-07:35 ET/11:15-12:35 BST/20:15-21:35 AEST)

Downhill – Elite Women Final

GCN+ (07:45-08:50 ET/12:45-13:50 BST/21:45-22:50 AEST)

Downhill – Elite Men Final

GCN+ (08:50-11:00 ET/13:50-16:00 BST/22:50-00:00 AEST)


Tour de France, stage 2

GCN+ (07:00-12:45 ET/12:00-17:45 BST/21:00-02:45 AEST)
Coverage also available for American viewers on Peacock premium

Giro Donne, stage 3

GCN+ (07:45-09:45 ET/12:45-14:45 BST/21:45-23:45 AEST)

Mountain bike

UCI MTB World Cup – Val di Sole

Cross-country Olympic – U23 Women

GCN+ (03:25-04:55 ET/08:25-09:55 BST/17:25-18:55 AEST)

Cross-country Olympic – U23 Men

GCN+ (05:25-06:55 ET/10:25-11:55 BST/19:25-20:55 AEST)

Cross-country Olympic – Elite Women

GCN+ (07:30-09:45 ET/12:30-14:45 BST/21:30-22:45 AEST)

Cross-country Olympic – Elite Men

GCN+ (10:00-12:15 ET/15:00-17:15 BST/00:00-02:15 AEST)


Tour de France, stage 3

GCN+ (07:45-13:00 ET/12:45-18:00 BST/21:45-03:00 AEST)
Coverage also available for American viewers on Peacock premium

Giro Donne, stage 4

GCN+ (07:45-09:45 ET/12:45-14:45 BST/21:45-23:45 AEST)

? Unhinged team press release quote of the week ?

‘You take a slap, question yourself and go for it again.’

Is Groupama-FDJ’s David Gaudu talking about his underwhelming Dauphiné performance or his experience of his first BDSM meet up?

? Bonus award for yay go team friendship of the week ?

‘He is definitely one of my best friends.’

A quote from Mathieu van der Poel talking about doing the lead-outs for Jasper Philipsen who will now be going by the name of team friendship.

“I like to do the lead-out for Jasper … I think I’m a good leadout for Jasper. Is he my best buddy in the race? He is definitely one of my best friends.”

And finally…

Here we have a number of Ineos athletes announcing (unconfirmed whether at gunpoint or not) the Ineos Grenadiers ‘Tourdy France’ team. But to be paid millions to not win at sports and do social media content doesn’t sound like too rough of a gig so get that bag huns!

Primes (for helpful members) ?

Big thanks to Benjamin Derrien for today’s laundrette photo. He writes:

“Attached are some photos from a laundromat in Bastia – Corsica. Spent a week and a half in Corsica attempting the GR20 but failed due to poor weather conditions in the mountains. But was beautiful in Bastia and Ajaccio on the coast.”

As always, we are accepting your own 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 …

That’s all folks! A big thank you to all of you who have signed up already as Escape Collective founding members. If you haven’t there is no time like the present and to smooth the process just click this link here and hit the Join Today button in the top right of the page.

And if you’ve been forwarded this email from someone else and want to receive it straight into your own inbox while it’s still hot, you can sign up here.

What did you think of this story?