Spin Cycle: Croissants and conga lines

Also: Macron is Salt Bae.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 07.07.2023 Photography by
Not Sir Wiggo, Cor Vos, Gruber Images
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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. You can sign up here.


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

The Tour de France is in full flight thanks to the generosity of the course designers plonking two hard Pyrenean mountain stages slap bang in the middle of the first week. Stage 6 Tourmalet anyone? The race has been an absolute delight. Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard have come out swinging, cycling’s most chill human Jai Hindley won a stage and yellow jersey, and the vibes are just good, to be honest. Everything is quite chilled out after the turbulence of the COVID-19 Tours, fans are once again allowed to get up close with the race (which is what it’s all about) and the riders seem to be having a good time. There’s your hit of positivity for the day, maybe things aren’t so bad after all!

‘Croissant, croissant, croissant, croissant, croissant’

The gift that keeps on giving and we’ll be damned before we don’t include anything Tadej Pogačar does. He could breathe and we’ll chuck it in there. Don’t blame us! Blame him!

Today’s instalment includes the impish Slovenian boy king teaching Mikkel Bjerg how to say ‘croissant’ with all the brooding severity of your actual high school French teacher. I’m just hoping this leads to a Mr-Beast-says-Logan-Paul-100,000-times type of video where Bjerg and Pogačar spend an entire day of their off-season pronouncing croissant in more ways than you could ever dream were possible.

? Spotted at the Tour ?

Gimme shelter

Following stage 6, where Jonas Vingegaard had taken the yellow jersey but also shipped some time to Tadej Pogačar, our Caley Fretz diligently went to wait by the Jumbo-Visma team bus to collect some quotes and also imbibe the vibes around the team.

After feeling like it was going to rain all day as the peloton made its way from Tarbes, over the Tourmalet and finally up to Cauterets-Cambasque, drops started falling near the top of the climb. In response, a member of Jumbo’s team staff began to extend the mechanically operated canopy out from the bus in order to shield the riders and non-racing colleagues from a potential downpour.

He stopped the canopy just short of the belt barrier, which the press stands on the other side of. Monsieur Fretz made eye contact with the canopy operator and motioned (in a polite way) for him to continue extending the cover.

“No,” came the simple and mean-spirited reply. Maybe, you ask, the canopy had extended as far as it could? It certainly didn’t look that way, there were still crimps in the fabric, not taut like if it was at its full extension. And anyway, then surely Jumbo-Visma just bring the barrier rope closer toward the bus? This is, of course, a very minor and insignificant detail. But, we also think, very telling.

Vinokourov’s golden bike

This one is simple and brief, Astana-Qazaqstan boss Alexandre Vinokourov has a gold bike with him at the Tour de France. Again, read into that what you will from a retired professional who lived a, let’s say, enhanced life on the bicycle and to this day enjoys turning up to masters events and decimating his opposition.

Man playing his flute, conga line

We saw some things on the Tourmalet on stage 6. Firstly, a man playing the recorder, who could not be heard above the deafening dance music. More troublingly, when we rocked up he was walking by with recorder in one hand and loo roll in the other. We hope no one else touched his recorder that day.

Secondly, as you might have also heard in our Tour Daily podcast, three French men in pink tutus brought a sound system and created the real party zone of the climb with 200 metres to go until the top. One of the games they rolled out for the waiting fans was constructing a massive conga line. As it grew to an almost untenable length, the pink tutu’d leader began to weave between the roadside fans until he knocked over someone’s beer bottle. The beer bottle owner, aggrieved, started to remonstrate, at which point pink tutu man picked up the spilt beer and downed the rest of it, which seemed to completely rectify the situation. The mountain air is different, the laws of sea-level Earth don’t apply.

Feed Zone ?

? 34-year-old Sep Vanmarcke (Israel – Premier Tech) has been forced to retire with immediate effect due to heart problems.

?️ A number of teams have lodged complaints with Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge’s running of the AIGCP team’s union, CyclingNews has the story.

? Lidl-Trek’s Mattias Skjelmose struggled on stage 6 of the Tour due to back problems. “My back feels like I’m 90 years old,” he said.

☘️ Sam Bennett won the opening stage of the Sibiu Tour in Romania.

?? Benoît Cosnefroy has attracted interest from a number of French teams but L’Équipe reports he will sign a contract extension with Ag2r Citroën. Bryan Coquard is also close to a renewal at Cofidis.

? Lorena Wiebes decided to quit the Giro Donne in order to prepare better for the upcoming Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.

?? After crashing out of the Tour de France, Richard Carapaz is hopeful of a start at the Vuelta a España.

?? Elisa Balsamo is back in training after breaking several bones in her crash at the RideLondon Classique in May.

✒️ Edoardo Affini has re-signed with Jumbo-Visma for three more seasons.

? Urska Žigart was forced to abandon the Giro Donne after suffering a concussion following a crash.

? Primož Roglič has had a plaque laid in his honour at the spot on the Monte Lussari where he suffered a chain problem.

? After the Paris Olympics road race route was announced on Tuesday, Mathieu van der Poel has not ruled out his participation, saying it’s similar to a Flandrian classic.

? Jasper Philipsen will have his contract with Alpecin-Deceuninck improved and extended, according to Het Laatste Nieuws.

✏️ DSM-Firmenich are apparently going to have their title sponsors extend until at least 2028 soon, Wielerflits reports.

?‍♂️ Nacer Bouhanni is consider retiring at the end of this year, according to L’Équipe, which could open the door to Arnaud Démare at Arkéa-Samsic.

? Lidl-Trek are apparently close to signing Andrea Bagioli from Soudal Quick-Step and Simone Consonni from Cofidis, Gazzetta dello Sport says.

A little spot of Macron-washing

French President Emmanuel Macron turned up to stage 6 of the Tour de France in a move that likely pleased absolutely no-one but himself.

Macron arriving at the Tour kind of feels like Salt Bae appearing at the football World Cup, except instead of sprinkling gold leaf on top of overpriced steak he’s swanning around showing off his vital work in the ongoing neoliberal destruction of our man-made and natural world.

When asked about the Presidential visit and what he and Macron spoke about after securing the yellow jersey, Jonas Vingegaard was a little hazy on what exactly was said and when the last time they met had been.

“Yeah we just … I can’t remember really,” Vingegaard admitted in his post-race press conference. “He said nice to see you again, I couldn’t remember where we met last year on stage … errr … stage 18, 19, 17 or 18 or something, yeah so he remembered that and he said good luck for the rest of the race.”

Even better is that while Macron went around congratulating everyone, looking for good photo ops, Alberto Bettiol turned the opportunity back onto the French President by asking in an Instagram caption for him to return the Mona Lisa to Italy.

Cycling on TV ?


Tour de France, stage 8
GCN+ (07:15-13:00 ET/12:15-18:00 BST/21:15-03:00 AEST)
Coverage also available for American viewers on Peacock premium

Giro Donne, stage 8
GCN+ (08:00-10:15 ET/13:00-15:15 BST/22:00-00:15 AEST)


UEC European Championships – Men & Women
GCN+ (12:50-16:45 ET/17:50-21:45 BST/02:50-06:45 AEST)


Tour de France, stage 9
GCN+ (08:00-13:45 ET/13:00-18:45 BST/22:00-03:45 AEST)
Coverage also available for American viewers on Peacock premium

Giro Donne, stage 9
GCN+ (08:00-10:15 ET/13:00-15:15 BST/22:00-00:15 AEST)


No televised racing!

? Race radio tempting fate of the week quote of the week ?

The reaction to the implementation of race radio has been lukewarm at best, mostly some derivation of a sports director telling their rider to ‘keep fighting’. But in one fell swoop it’s all been made worthwhile by Jumbo-Visma’s Grischa Niermann telling Jonas Vingegaard that Pogačar is “for sure on his knees” just ahead of the final climb where the Slovenian would in fact drop the Dane. Would love to have heard the follow-up F-bomb from Niermann when that happened, but strangely that didn’t make the live broadcast.

? Multi-tasking Tour rider of the week ?

On the Col de Marie Blanque during stage 5, Cofidis’ Alexis Renard had the presence of mind to greet a roadside fan wearing a mankini in the only way a roadside fan in a mankini wants to be greeted.

Of course, this is all part of being in the gruppetto, AKA the laughing group, where hijinks are simply a way to pass the time while riding real slow in professional terms, but ‘still real fast’ in the human category.

And finally…

A few days late to this one, but after Mike Teunissen lost his luggage, it would seem that EF Education EasyPost’s Magnus Cort has packed a somewhat minimalist suitcase. With one exception. While his undergarments are not in keeping with EF’s pink aesthetic, maybe they are a team issue innovation to try prevent the helicoptering antics in case of a stage win?

? Primes (for helpful members) ?

Thank you to Escape Collective member ‘Not Sir Wiggo’ who sent in today’s laundromat photo. They write:

“I was initially sceptical, using a laundromat for the first time. What sort of humans will I be sharing my sacred laundering space with? Will the machine turn my kit to mush? Happy to report, my concerns were quashed when my kit stayed untarnished, plus I can buy my Almond Long Macchiato at the cafe in the building before a marvellous game of air hockey.”

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 …

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