Spin Cycle: Gossiping over smoked breadsticks

A little bit of everything this week.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 29.04.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos, Kristof Ramon and Tadej Pogačar
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The Spin Cycle is the 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! The Escape Collective’s news digest.

Now, you may have seen the story on our site about the Ineos Grenadiers supposed plans to finally start a women’s team. We wouldn’t have published it if we weren’t pretty sure something is at least in the worx. But you’ll have to scroll down to hear about how the Ineos curse could upend the established order in the women’s peloton.

Elsewhere, we have Thibaut Pinot signing autographs for his teammates, naturally, as well as maybe the most iconic Tadej Pogačar picture to date. Oh, and there’s also a photo of Primož Roglič with a really long thread of spit hanging off his chin. We know our role here at the Spin Cycle.

Thibaut thibaut…thibaut thibaut…thibaut thibaut

At first glance, you may watch this video and think ‘who is this annoying fully grown adult harassing man-who-must-be-protected-at-all-costs Thibaut Pinot?!’ But then it becomes clear that it’s his young teammate Lorenzo Germani just playing at being an insistent fan with a pen and piece of paper. Question: is this in direct response to Thibaut Pinot’s insistence that he’s not just at races to sign autographs like he said last week?

Anyway, the joke goes down very well with the fans gathered at the Groupama-FDJ bus before the start of the Tour de Romandie’s stage two. Who knew this was exactly what Swiss people found funny? Not me. Also, Germani comes away from the exchange with his own Pinot autograph – score. A quick scan of his recent results also shows that over a two-week run of five French one-day races, he finished 49th three times, which really takes some doing.

The Belgian press are at it again

There are two things Belgian media likes to do. 1) Put unbelievable amounts of pressure on their star riders. 2) Disrespect female professional cyclists.

And so, the cycle-touristification of professional female cyclists continues apace! Hurrah! Except, not hurrah. Not content to let HLN do all of the disparaging of one entire half of the peloton (fun fact: HLN probably stands for Hey?! Lady bike racers!? NO!!), another outlet, De Morgen, said hold my Westmalle Tripel and all by themselves did a big sexism on their website.

“Cycling tourists will soon be allowed on the main road more often after fuzz about fines” reads the title (where cycle tourists basically means recreational riders) above what was supposed to be a descriptive photo attached to the article but was instead the women’s DSM squad, all of whom are paid real money to race their bikes.

Maybe the punishment for such infractions should be that whoever writes the sexist headline or caption should have to try and hold one of the riders wheels over their country’s prized cobbled roads. Then we’ll see who the cycle tourists are.

Feed Zone ?

? Dario Cataldo (Trek-Segafredo) is back on his bike for the first time in five weeks following a heavy crash at the Volta a Catalunya.

?? Chloe Dygert will race La Vuelta Femeninas, her first road race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2022 and her first stage race since 2019.

⛰️ Mathieu van der Poel will not race the Nové Město na Moravě World Cup next month but instead head to an altitude training camp in La Plagne, France.

?? André Greipel is the new German national team manager.

A cure to SD Worx’s dominance?

With the news that the Ineos Grenadiers are said to be launching a women’s team, there is speculation that they could take over the SD Worx structure in order to claim their place at the top of the Women’s World Tour.

This part of the story, we want to stress, is much more speculative than the main meat of the tale about Ineos looking to join the women’s peloton. But we often hear little bits of gossip that are floating around, and seeing as you pay for this thing, we think it’s only fair that we share the bits we can around a bit, that stuff that doesn’t have huge ramifications if it turns out to be untrue.

So, back to Ineos dumping a big bag of money on Danny Stam’s desk. ‘Great’, anyone other than SD Worx and their fans must be thinking, more money and resources for a team that’s already hard enough to beat. But maybe Ineos’ investment could be their undoing.

As uncovered by the Times’ David Walsh, there exists a phenomenon known as ‘the Ineos curse’, whereby almost every sporting venture British billionaire James Ratcliffe puts his money behind slowly becomes worse off for it.

His £100m America’s Cup investment in British sailor Ben Ainslie didn’t deliver a win; he bought a third of the Mercedes F1 team just before Red Bull and Max Verstappen raced off into the distance; and the All Blacks rugby team are also going through a bit of a funk since Ineos’ multi-year sponsorship landed in New Zealand. The Ineos Grenadiers still win a lot of big bike races, but the one they really care about with the yellow jerseys that takes place over three weeks in France every July seems to get further and further away from their shoulders every year.

So, if Big Jim did buy up the most dominant team in the women’s peloton, maybe it would be a blessing in disguise for the rest of the field.

? Lukewarm pre-Grand Tour quote of the week ?

“The most complete rider will win.”

We welcome to the lukewarm quotes section of the newsletter a man (and former ski jumper/Fred Wright-blamer) who we are shocked is only now making his first appearance in these hallowed halls. A section that was almost made for Primož Roglič, who brushes away questions from the media as if they were crumbs on his jumper.

Prime yourself for even more insight over his upcoming Giro d’Italia campaign. To be honest, his quotes are so boring that we’ve done a full 180° and now can’t get enough of the banality, and if he is short of words it’s likely because he’s still mourning the loss of all his Twitter followers after getting hacked.

Whatever you do, do NOT drink the forbidden chin liquid.

Cycling on TV (all times CET) ?


• Tour de Romandie, Stage 4 (13:00-15:20)


• Tour de Romandie, Stage 5 (13:00-15:20)


• Eschborn-Frankfurt (11:00-16:25)

• La Vuelta Femenina, Stage 1 (11.30-13.30)

Antonio Tiberi probably thought this photo was a good idea at the time.

What has Antonio Tiberi done now?

Unsurprisingly, cat killer Antonio Tiberi and Trek-Segafredo have “mutually parted ways” with the Italian now free to sign with another team (his possible new employers are Bahrain-Victorious, who must hate cats).

What piqued our interest, however, was nestled within the announcement was this line, explaining why they had gone their separate ways “after the rider’s actions during his suspension did not meet our criteria for a return to competition”.

What exactly did he do? What were the criterion to allow him to return to competition? Even after creating the conditions for speculation, the team won’t elaborate or even give us a hint. One thing we can presumably rule out is that he volunteered at a cat sanctuary. If anyone knows, let us know…

And finally …

Sometimes there are no words and you can just let a picture speak for itself.

Corrections corner ?️?

Primes (for helpful members) ?

Until next time …

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