Mark Cavedish, Magnus Cort and Julie Leth at a coin laundry in Gainesville, Florida.

Spin Cycle: El Chapo of the Cotswolds

Riding is life ... in prison.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 06.11.2023 Photography by
Ira, David Arthur, La Fiamma Rossa, Julie Leth, 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. You can sign up here.


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

Today’s edition has unintentionally all gone quite law and order. Like The Wire but if it was based in a bunch and not Baltimore. Instead of asking where Wallace is, you’re asking ‘why is Magnus Cort arm-wrestling a female cyclist on her wedding day?’

And no, unfortunately the peloton’s own McNulty doesn’t feature.

Riding is life … in prison

Really, it’s less El Chapo, and more bloody ‘ell old chap with 49-year-old Englishman Matthew Grimm, who may look like any other member of the UK’s sprawling middle-class chain gang, but is actually accused of masterminding a $6.5 million drugs racket. He is accused of being involved in shipping substances from the Netherlands to US-based customers via the dark web and is facing extradition to the USA to serve 120 years in prison!

Grimm, 49, who has been dubbed the ‘El Chapo of the Cotswolds’ – a rather sleepy and picturesque part of the UK – is accused of running a synthetic drugs racket, the substances of which included psychoactive bath salts. The operation has allegedly been running since 2012 and was finally brought down after an undercover operation. Grimm faces five counts of trafficking and one of money-laundering, each carrying a sentence of up to 20 years.

What on Earth does this story have to do with cycling, you ask? As you can see in the above photo, Grimm turned up to his local police station to answer bail seemingly in the middle of a ride.

Upon arriving at the station, he told a reporter from The Mirror: “Let them bring it on. I’m 49 now, so how could I serve that long?”

It indeed looks like Grimm will be spending the rest of his life behind bars thousands of miles away from his wife and family, as a judge has rejected his denial of any wrongdoing and rubber-stamped the case and sent it up the chain. So it all but looks like a formality at this stage, with a final decision set to be announced in December.

“[Grimm] faces extremely serious charges in the US for drug importation,” district judge Nina Tempia said. “I have to bear [in] mind the strong public interest that the UK upholds its international treaty obligations and that … the UK should not be seen as a safe haven.”

So we understand why Grimm may be wanting to get those final miles in before he’s locked up for good. We thought we may have uncovered his Strava account, but surely the last thing an (accused) drug dealer needs is a very popular, public app that effectively keeps a log of his likely location. On top of that, he’s still raking in the kudos for his rides as well as your garden-variety comments from friends and followers. Surely that’s not what happens when your cycling club mate gets uncovered as a drug kingpin? That everyone just carries on as normal?

It’s sad, really, as this would otherwise have been a world first for a serious criminal to be on Strava.

Third man jailed for Cavendish robbery, fourth still at large

It’s been two years since the horrifying robbery suffered by Mark Cavendish and his family at their home in Essex, UK, and the perpetrators are still being brought to justice.

Two of the four suspects were jailed in February for over 10 years for the armed robbery of two Richard Mille watches worth £700,000, while a third man, 27-year-old Jo Jobson, was found guilty last week. He’d handed himself in to the police in mid-June after officers circulated a photo appeal identifying him as a suspect.

In what the prosecutor said was a “significant error in what was an otherwise carefully-executed plan”, one of the intruders took the phone of Peta Cavendish (Mark’s wife), which was later found outside the property. DNA evidence and phone numbers eventually led back to Jobson.

A fourth suspect, George Goddard, is still at large and is the “final piece of the jigsaw” in the investigation, according to Essex Police. Let’s hope he’s brought in soon and the family can put this horrid affair behind them.

Feed Zone ?

?? Tao Geoghegan Hart has opened up on his transfer from Ineos Grenadiers to Lidl-Trek in an interview with the Times: “I was very open with Ineos and I think they understood,” he said of his move away from the British team. “Cycling is becoming more competitive every year. You want to be at the big races and have a chance. I think I would regret it if I didn’t try this.”

?? Guillaume Boivin has had his contract with Israel-Premier Tech extended by one year.

? Arnaud De Lie has told CyclingNews it wasn’t initially his intention to renew with Lotto Dstny (his new deal runs until 2026) but that the team’s eagerness to keep him made the difference.

?? Continental Danish team Leopard TOGT will fold after being unable to find additional sponsorship.

? Recent retiree Michael Schär will join Lidl-Trek as a sports director.

? France won gold in the mixed relay at the European Cyclocross Championships, with Great Britain and Belgium second and third.

? Nathan van Hooydonck is still searching for answers to explain his cardiac arrhythmia that forced his retirement from racing. It was caused by his right ventricle being too big, a bodily change that happened between December 2022 and the incident this September. “Maybe I trained too hard? I’ve always asked a lot of myself, but I don’t think that’s the reason,” Van Hooydonck told NOS, saying that the changes in how races pan out could also have played a part. “The finals are opened earlier,” he continued. “While we used to race for two hours on the limit, it is now three hours. In sometimes gruelling circumstances, that is not healthy. It’s hard to say whether it has anything to do with that. It is striking that there are more cases now that the way of racing has changed.”

?? Harrie Lavreysen’s run of winning both the Sprint and Keirin events in the opening two rounds of this year’s Track Champions League has been ended. Australian Matthew Richardson won the Sprint in France this weekend. Levreysen still won the later Keirin event, however.

?? Tadej Pogačar won a definitely hard-fought Saitama Criterium ahead of Sepp Kuss and Peter Sagan. Sagan had made a solo move before Pogačar and Kuss bridged across and dropped him, with Pogačar then sprinting to the victory.

?? Fem van Empel (Netherlands) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) are the new European cyclocross champions. (An earlier version incorrectly stated the senior event was won by Jente Michels, who instead won the U23 competition).

? Cyclocross video of the week ?

Now that we are getting well into cyclocross season, we’ll sporadically be bringing you the weird and the wonderful from the discipline. And yes, that mostly means video clips of people being drunk in fields while it’s still light outside.

But a real tip of the hat to the director of the TV coverage, who then cut to someone else having a lovely-looking nap in a deck chair. Try explaining this 20-second clip to the aliens, I dare ya.

Cycling on TV ?

Tuesday November 7th – Thursday November 9th

No live racing

Friday 10th November


UCI Track Champions League, Round 4: London
GCN+ (14:00-17:30 ET/19:00-22:30 GMT/06:00-09:30 AEST)

And finally …

Nothing to see here, just Magnus Cort arm wrestling fellow Danish pro Julie Leth on her wedding day …

Magnus Cort arm-wrestling Julie Leth on her wedding day.

? Corrections corner (via apology avenue) ?

So … in case you didn’t see it, the email version of Friday’s newsletter contained what was supposed to be a special section basically berating those who are subscribed to Spin Cycle but aren’t paid up members of Escape Collective. Hopefully you all realised that, like this newsletter, the strong tone of the section was mostly in jest and making light of our financial obligation to try and get as many of you to pay up as possible in order to keep the lights on.

Through the magic of computers and the reality of human error, this section, which was only supposed to be seen by those non-paying subscribers, urging them in no uncertain terms to see the error of their ways, was instead sent out to everybody. Thereby berating paying members that not only were they “cowards” and “cheapskates” but that they were also not financially contributing to this endeavour when they definitely are.

While this is a very on-brand own-goal for this corner of our fledgling media empire, we could also do without potentially turning any of you against us. So we’re very sorry. We will never know the true damage this oversight has caused, rippling through our small universe, but we hope that either a) you realised you’d been sent the section in error or b) are able to forgive us for our mistake.

On the plus side, I hope paid-up subscribers could enjoy witnessing the over-hyped disdain with which the freeloaders amongst the readership were being treated with … but maybe it was a bit strong. Who knows. In conclusion …

Paid-up subscribers: You rock! Thanks and keep doing you because you are perfect just the way you are. <3

Non-paying low-lifes: I hope thinking about the theoretical vastness of the universe swallows you whole until, and not a second before, you hit the big subscribe button and take advantage of the current $1 November deal we’ve got on at the minute by heading to our join page, selecting the monthly subscription, and entering the code PODCAST at checkout.

NB: We’ve never read a single business or advertising book in our lives and have no idea if tongue-in-cheek tough love is the way you persuade people to buy things. It’s probably not, is it?

? Send us yer laundry pics ?

“I passed these two laundromats on my run this morning,” Ira messages in on Discord, attaching today’s featured laundromat.

“This is in a forsaken place called Gainesville, FL. I’m here to accompany my wife who has to work here. We’ve been here for over a month.”

Stay strong, Ira.

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! 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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