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Spin Cycle: Denk’s mountain sausage emporium

Mark has been Caven-dishing out high fives in Colombia ... we'll get our coat

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 09.02.2024 Photography by
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.


Hello!

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

I’m typing out this intro in a lay-by somewhere in the hills above Muscat, sat in the back of an air-conditioned bus whose driver is currently watching what sounds like very violent social media videos as we wait for the peloton to pass by.

Yep, we’re at the Tour of Oman, getting some much needed winter sun in a destination where no one can possibly accuse you of a work trip being a fugazi for a free holiday.

It’s good to be at a bike race again, and yes, the Bora-Hansgrohe kit looks just as terrible in person.

Happy Cav szn returns

Over at the Tour Colombia, where Mark Cavendish is beginning his season, the Manxman finished third as Fernando Gaviria won the opening flat day, before two hillier stages have seen the British sprinter take it at his own pace as he eases himself into 2024.

So relaxed is Cavendish, that motorbike cameras spotted him taking selfies for fans as he rode uphill and doled out high-fives like they were going out of fashion. We’re glad he’s enjoying himself.

Overheard in Oman👂

As we mentioned in the intro we’re back on the road, this time at the Tour of Oman, and will be donning our capital-J journalist hats to bring you the hottest scoops from the ground.

So, what have we sniffed out so far?

Well, Adam Yates got a swanky new camera for Christmas. A subscriber to the “point and click” methodology, he admits, but what’s he planning on taking photos of?

The dog, probably.”

In an abrupt gear change, teams are still being a bit funny about Covid. We heard that one rider was recently unwell but was advised by his team to not formally announce or mention that it had been a Covid positive, and he wasn’t exactly clear what the big deal was.

Maybe teams are trying to save the rider the hassle of having to answer questions about it and his recovery? That’s the only explanation we’ve been able to come up with. Or maybe the team thinks this is the sort of mind games, of projecting full and total health, that will give them the edge in competition? It seems to be a bit of a weird one.

Feed Zone 🥖

💸 Wout van Aert and Olav Kooij are still owed their Tour of Britain prize money, Cycling Weekly reports, which will be a significant portion of the total €113,000 that was on offer at the 2023 race as they won five of the eight stages and the overall.

🏥 Giulio Ciccone will start his season later on plan after he had a perineal cyst (don’t Google it) surgically removed on Monday. He will also miss Tirreno-Adriatico as he builds towards the Giro d’Italia where he will lead the Lidl-Trek squad.

🤒 Illness ruled Charlotte Kool out of the UAE Tour and thus Lorena Wiebes romped to victory on the opening stage. Abby Mickey has the story on SD Worx-Protime’s immediate return to their habitually dominant ways.

🇵🇹 Remco Evenepoel will begin his season at Saturday’s Figueira Champions Classic in Portugal.

⛷️ Visma-Lease a Bike development team rider Jørgen Nordhagen is the new junior cross-country skiing World Champion. The Norwegian won the Peace Race on the road last year and is already contracted to turn pro with the Dutch team in 2025.

🎮 Industry cutbacks continue as Zwift reportedly laid off employees on Monday in its second round of cuts in the last 12 months while co-CEO Kurt Beidler has also apparently resigned. You can read more on that story here.

🇳🇴 Former EF Education-EasyPost rider Odd Christian Eiking has signed with Uno-X Mobility.

🤝 Alexander Kamp has stood up for his former Lidl-Trek teammate Antwan Tolhoek after it was revealed the latter returned an adverse analytical finding (anti-doping speak for a positive A sample) for anabolic steroids in November. Tolhoek’s contract with his new team Sabgal-Anicolor was immediately terminated after the news broke. “I know one thing for sure: he is NOT a doping sinner. It’s a case of contamination. No one should convict him until all the details of his case are revealed, which I hope will prove his innocence,” Kamp posted on social media. Sadly, it’s been a big week in doping news and our Dane Cash has the round-up of everything that’s been going on.

🍺 The Amstel Gold Race could be at risk, reports De Limburger, as local authorities are not too keen on the accompanying sportives which fund the race as they apparently cause too much disruption on the lives of those who live along the route.

🇳🇿 Logan Currie and Kim Cadzow are the new New Zealand time trial champions.

🇧🇪 Patrick Lefevere has told the De Rode Lantaarn podcast that Remco Evenepoel’s initial 2024 plan was to ride both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2024 in order to keep the pressure off his Tour performance.

👴 After finishing third on the Tour Colombia’s second stage, 47-year-old (!) Óscar Sevilla was involved in a crash with 500 metres to go in the third stage and suffered a broken collarbone. He has now abandoned the race.

🐝 Wout van Aert begins his season this Sunday at the Clásica de Almería and then will target victory at the gravel Clásica Jaén Interior the following week. His Visma-Lease a Bike teammate Sepp Kuss also starts this weekend at the Vuelta a Murcia.

💥 Fabio Jakobsen failed to finish his first race for DSM Firmenich-PostNL after a crash fairly early on at the Muscat Classic. The race was won by Kiwi Finn Fisher-Black (UAE Team Emirates) who attacked near the top of the final climb and held off the sprinting peloton behind, with American Luke Lamperti (Soudal-Quick Step) taking the bunch finish for second.

Beer and sauage on Alpe d’Huez 🏔️🌭

In the game of media merry-go-round, where each team boss takes their turn to give the press their vision of what the amorphous One Cycling blob could possibly look like, Ralph Denk’s vision seems to be the most fun so far and the least likely to have been dreamed up in an East London marketing company where everyone brings a dog to work and nobody wears shoes.

“The basis is already Europe. But I think you have to soften the product. You have to go to South Africa, where there is a lot of cycling. You have to go to Central America, to Colombia. You have to go to Japan. These are all destinations,” Denk told Radsport News of his vision for cycling’s global expansion into underserved markets. Count us in.

Another, more detailed idea, is the familiar and contentious one of charging fans access to the biggest climbs at Grand Tours.

Bora-Hansgrohe boss Ralph Denk.

“Three mountains are open for free to watch, a family festival with children and all. And on Alpe d’Huez, where the race will probably be decided, it costs something,” Denk explained of how he’d charge spectators on a Tour de France stage.

“The income is shared between teams and organisers – minus costs, of course.”

So, how much would he charge?

“I think it depends on what you offer,” Denk answered. “If you only do a basic package, then five or ten Euros is okay. If there is also a beer and a sausage, then you can perhaps discuss 25 Euros – you have to take that into account ‘If I can see Alpe d’Huez twice,’ or as the Giro is doing this year: Monte Grappa twice. That’s a good idea!”

Various estimates for roadside fans at recent ascents of Alpe d’Huez put the figure somewhere between 200,000 to one million. At €5 a ticket, that would generate somewhere between €1 million and €5 million, but that’s not taking into account how many fans would simply seek out the free-to-watch climbs instead. Either way, the sums involved, when split between nearly 20 teams, is hardly a gamechanger.

Hot dogs and beer vendors on Tour climbs, though? That we could get on board with.

Cycling on TV 📺

Saturday February 10th

Road

UAE Tour Women, Stage 3
(05:30-08:00 ET/10:30-13:00 GMT/21:30-00:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes

Tour of Murcia
(08:00-10:00 ET/13:00-15:00 GMT/00:00-01:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes

Tour de la Provence, Stage 2
(08:25-10:40 ET/13:25-15:40 GMT/00:25-02:40 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes, 🇦🇺 SBS

Figueira Champions Classic
(10:00-12:00 ET/15:00-17:00 GMT/02:00-04:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes

Cyclocross

Superprestige, Middelkerke – Elite Women
(07:30-08:40 ET/12:30-13:40 GMT/23:30-00:40 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes

Superprestige, Middelkerke – Elite Men
(09:00-10:20 ET/14:00-15:20 GMT/01:00-02:20 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes

Sunday February 11th

Road

UAE Tour Women, Stage 4
(05:30-08:00 ET/10:30-13:00 GMT/21:30-00:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes

Tour de la Provence, Stage 3
(09:10-11:05 ET/14:10-16:05 GMT/01:10-03:05 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes, 🇦🇺 SBS

Clásica de Almería
(10:00-12:00 ET/15:00-17:00 GMT/02:00-04:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes

Cyclocross

Trofee Veldrijden – Elite Women
(07:40-08:45 ET/12:40-13:45 GMT/23:40-00:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes

Trofee Veldrijden – Elite Men
(08:55-10:15 ET/13:55-15:15 GMT/00:55-02:15 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes

Monday February 12th

Road

Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior
(09:00-11:30 ET/14:00-16:30 GMT/01:00-03:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸 FloBikes

And finally …

Turns out Fernando Gaviria spent the winter jumping down drain pipes and rescuing Princess Peach from various castles before getting back to winning ways at his home Tour Colombia.

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

“Here’s a photo from a laundromat I found in Malaga, Spain,” writes Aaron Humphrey, attaching today’s featured laundromat. “One washer was running so I couldn’t open the door easily. I gave it a valiant effort for you but sadly failed.”

We are relieved you didn’t manage to interrupt someone’s washing cycle on our behalf, Aaron.

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: jonny.long@escapecollective.com

Until next time …

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