Spin Cycle: Dog days aren’t over

Is this more proof of AI Jonas?

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 13.05.2024 Photography by
Pete Palmieri, 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.

The best stories have at least the smallest element of danger in them, some friction to keep you hooked, desperate to find out what happens next. Well, we’ve got a trio of just that for you today.

Firstly, more evidence that the AI Jonas Vingegaard video released before last year’s Tour was actually a false flag mission from Visma-Lease a Bike to cover up the AI truth about their champion. Then, we have the possible secret behind Pogačar’s dominance, and finally we have a worrying tale involving a Giro d’Italia rider and a missing dog.

He looks exactly the same

A wonderful photo dug up from the archives that shows a very young Jonas Vingegaard and a slightly older Michael Valgren when the pair were teammates at local club Thy Cykle Ring.

Vingegaard has seemingly barely aged, not necessarily disproving evidence the two-time Tour de France champion is AI. Pleasingly, Valgren quote tweeted the TV2 article interviewing the adults who ran the pair’s childhood club with the extra detail that the screen they were looking at was likely showing Pro Cycling Manager 2007.

Undeniable scientific proof that beer is good for you 🍺

The latest instalment of our longest-running beat here at Spin Cycle and something to give Richard Plugge pause for thought: Tadej Pogačar sometimes enjoys a beer mid-stage race.

In an eye-opening Het Laatste Nieuws interview with super agent Alex Carera that is worth giving your email to and then hitting the translate button on your web browser, the Italian revealed Pogačar’s secret weapon.

“Is it true that he regularly drinks a beer after a ride to relax?” the journalist asks.

“It hasn’t happened yet in this Giro. [But] yes, before,” Carera answers. “The evening before the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya, Tadej talked to me for a long time and drank one beer. One won’t hurt. It is conducive to recovery and helps to relax.

“Cycling has changed a lot in recent years, but the rider’s head is still more important than the legs. By the way, who won the final stage in Catalunya?”

It was Pogačar. His fourth in seven days. Right … I’m off to the pub.

Not a calme night for Lilian

Racing a Grand Tour is hard enough. Not sleeping in between stages because your dog is missing makes it even more difficult.

But that’s how Intermarché-Wanty’s Lilian Calmejane spent Friday night as his dog, Pato, had gone missing.

“I’m very tired, last night I didn’t sleep well,” he told Eurosport on Saturday. “There was a big problem with my little dog, Pato. He was missing all night, I believed he was lost forever.”

“But you’ve found him?!” the concerned interviewer asks.

“He returned this morning just so, having not been seen or heard from. A little night out for him … I’m laughing about it but honestly those who have animals will understand. When you lose a pet it’s something quite difficult.”

Chasing Pogačar around Italy will now pale in comparison to the fear he’d lost wonderful little Pato forever.

Feed Zone 🥖

🐺 In his weekly Het Nieuwsblad column, Patrick Lefevere says Remco Evenepoel will be fully recovered from his Basque Country fall and ready for his debut Tour de France next month. He also hinted his likely teammates will be: Mikel Landa, Gianni Moscon, Yves Lampaert, Louis Vervaeke, Casper Pedersen, and Ilan Van Wilder.

🇪🇺 Christophe Laporte (Visma-Lease a Bike) abandoned the Giro d’Italia before the start of stage 8 owing to injuries sustained in his fall on stage 5.

👨‍🔬 Our Ronan McLaughlin has the latest on Ineos Grenadiers’ newest technological time trial innovations.

🦶 Andrey Amador (EF Education-EasyPost) suffered a broken foot and ankle after he slipped on a gravel climb and his bike went under a truck and ran over his foot. The photo of his broken bike is quite something.

🇭🇺 Thibau Nys (Lidl-Trek) doubled up on Tour of Hungary stage wins before sealing the overall classification, with Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) taking the fifth and final stage. In his first race for Pierre Baguette, Peter Sagan rode a fairly anonymous race, his best placing being 18th on the opening stage.

👽 Benoît Cosnefroy (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale) won the Tour du Finistère in a sprint finish ahead of Corbin Strong (Israel-Premier Tech) and Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ).

🇪🇷 After Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) abandoned the Giro d’Italia last week following a crash, the Eritrean will return to racing at Veenendaal-Veenendaal this coming weekend.

🤧 Following his Prati di Tivo stage victory on Saturday, Tadej Pogačar admitted in his post-race press conference “my nose is a bit clogged, due to allergies or something, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I think it will be fine.” Fine it was as he took a big pull in Sunday’s Napoli finale to bring Jhonatan Narváez to heel.

🐝 Visma-Lease a Bike’s Jan Tratnik is feeling better after falling sick following the Giro’s gravel stage, meaning he won’t join Laporte and Robert Gesink on his team’s list of abandons so far this Giro.

🇰🇿 Astana-Qazaqstan’s Alexey Lutsenko abandoned the Giro before Sunday’s stage 9 due to illness.

🇳🇱 Demi Vollering won the third and final stage of Itzulia Women to claim the general classification, with SD-Worx Protime teammate Mischa Bredeworld finishing second on the podium and DSM Firmenich-PostNL’s Juliette Labous third.

🤕 Tim Merlier (Soudal-Quick Step) is struggling with a painful groin after crashing in the Giro’s stage 7 time trial.

🪨 Daan Soete (Deschacht-Hens-Maes) and Lucinda Brand (Lidl-Trek) won the German round of the Gravel World Series in Aache over the weekend.

🫣 A worryingly close call in the French female junior national championships as an inattentive sports director hits a rival rider, Amandine Muller, while talking to his own, Célia Gery, out of the driver’s window as the pair found themselves leading the race. Gery went on to win the race while Muller finished three minutes back. CPA President Adam Hansen says he’s monitoring the situation.

📺 A new Warner Bros Discovery-affiliated streaming service for Australia and New Zealand has launched. Find more info and which races will be shown on Staylive Cycling powered by Eurosport here. Giro d’Italia coverage is available in New Zealand, but not Australia.

Cycling on TV 📺

Tuesday May 14th

Giro d’Italia – Stage 10
(06:30-11:45 ET/11:30-16:45 BST/20:30-01:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺SBS

Four Days of Dunkirk – Stage 1
(10:00-11:30 ET/15:00-16:30 BST/00:00-01:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺StayLive

Wednesday May 15th

Giro d’Italia – Stage 11
(05:55-11:45 ET/10:55-16:45 BST/19:55-01:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺SBS

Four Days of Dunkirk – Stage 2
(10:00-11:30 ET/15:00-16:30 BST/00:00-01:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺StayLive

Thursday May 16th

Giro d’Italia – Stage 12
(06:00-11:45 ET/11:00-16:45 BST/20:00-01:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺SBS

Vuelta a Burgos Feminas – Stage 1
(08:30-10:00 ET/13:30-15:00 BST/22:30-00:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸🇨🇦FloBikes

Four Days of Dunkirk – Stage 3
(10:00-11:30 ET/15:00-16:30 BST/00:00-01:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺StayLive

Friday May 17th

Giro d’Italia – Stage 13
(06:30-11:45 ET/11:30-16:45 BST/20:30-01:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺SBS

Vuelta a Burgos Feminas – Stage 2
(08:30-10:00 ET/13:30-15:00 BST/22:30-00:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸🇨🇦FloBikes

Four Days of Dunkirk – Stage 4
(10:00-11:30 ET/15:00-16:30 BST/00:00-01:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺StayLive

Veenendaal-Veenendaal Classic
(09:00-10:40 ET/14:00-15:40 BST/23:00-00:40 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺StayLive

New metaphor unlocked to convey safety concerns quote of the week 🤡

We are sometimes like clowns in a circus.

Geraint Thomas

The key to effective communication is to not let the message of what you’re trying to get across become stale. Step forward Geraint Thomas, always good for a soundbite, who utilised particular imagery to describe how he felt navigating the tricky roads of Napoli on the Giro’s stage 9 on Sunday.

“We talk a lot about safety these days, but this really wasn’t safe. We are sometimes like clowns in a circus,” Thomas told Eurosport after the stage. “You heard chains jumping off bikes all the time. That’s not nice. It’s quite scary when riders are constantly coming under to pass you. There were also a lot of holes in the road. I’m glad I made it through the ride unscathed.”

Speaking of safety, the CPA got Tadej Pogačar to record a #RespectTheRiders video, an infinitely wiser choice than Antonio Tiberi. Unfortunately, Pogačar recorded the video calling for everyone coming to watch the race to act safely while not wearing a seatbelt in a moving vehicle. But as Tomi Koncz pointed in the comments below the video: “There is something funny about telling a guy off for not wearing a seatbelt in a car, when he’s paid to regularly go 80 km/h and on a 7 kg piece of metal wearing lycra.”

In case you missed it … 🫣

A great L’Équipe interview with ex-pro Raffaele Ferrara about his wild life, from being born into a mafia-associated family to a 10-year pro career, and then another decade as a truck driver before starting a cycling Twitch channel with Vincenzo Nibali.

Correction corner … 😫

A return to the corner of shame and remedying falsehoods … apologies for getting your hopes up that there was not only a Giro d’Italia stage this Monday but also the start of the Four Days of Dunkirk, we were getting ahead of ourselves, 24 hours ahead of ourselves, to be exact.

And finally …

*DJ Khaled voice* another one! Alex Richardson celebrates an entire lap early at the UK’s Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix over the weekend, with the race eventually won by former WorldTour rider Matt Holmes in his return to racing on the road for the first time since 2022.

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

“I was out for dinner and drinks in Collingwood over the weekend,” writes Pete Palmieri from Melbourne, attaching today’s featured laundromat.

“The restaurant was attached to a new co-living style hotel and it contained a shared space laundromat. Not sure I really want to ‘hang’ in that space when my laundry is having a ‘wash’ but anyways …

“I did my best to open all the doors of the washers and dryers but they refused to do their turn at the front (a repeat of the bad form shown by Nairoman in the breakaway on Stage 8 perhaps???). Also probably didn’t help that my dinner started at 6 and it was 9:30 when I took the photo …”

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 …

That’s all folks! Thanks to Pete Palmieri and Kit Nicholson for contributions to today’s edition and 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. To smooth the process just click this link here and hit the Join Today button in the top right of the page.

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