Spin Cycle: Hard Knox, but make it Vuelta

Obviously Geoffrey Soupe can dance, but now there's video evidence.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 04.09.2023 Photography by
A. Seher, Cor Vos, Sepp Kuss/Kvothe1986, Vuelta a España, Tour of Britain, GCN+, Romain Bardet, Rui Oliveira, Guardia Civil
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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.

It took every fibre of my being to not use the subheading of the first story below for today’s headline. As great as it is, we thought it may result in this email going straight to your spam folder (we’re honestly shocked it doesn’t already) or that it could cause an internal ruckus while a lot of the office is out for Labor Day.

Congratulations Americans, by the way, Labor Day is a great holiday. To celebrate, we’ve instead done a pun ahead of your upcoming En Eff Ell season on your favourite slice of HBO sporting documentary preview series. If you’re not a fan of hand-egg but think Remco Evenepoel is a bit of a prima donna, just wait until you hear about a fella called Aaron Rodgers!

Right, on with the show. Shockingly, things haven’t calmed down at the Vuelta a España and British idiosyncrasies are cropping up everywhere thanks to the unfurling of one of the few big bike races left on this cursed island.

‘Little wanker’

“James Knox, little wanker”. Slap that phrase on a canvas and hang it in the Louvre.

You would think from that phrase alone that Knox and Remco Evenepoel were over at the Tour of Britain having a chilled out time at a 2.1 race, slowly seeing out the end of the season and spending their evenings in roadside branches of the Travelodge figuring out which slowly sinking tropical island they’ll be jetting off to this off-season. And when they got bored of flicking through Airbnb, Knox had introduced Evenepoel to some British slang to pass the time, to better equip him in case of conversation with any locals.

But no, this is mid-Vuelta a España, where Evenepoel is the defending champion and trying to figure out how to fend off the dual threat of Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard. And despite dealing with crashes and the daily chaos synonymous with the Spanish Grand Tour, the former world champion has found the time to tell everyone watching at home that James Knox is a little wanker.

He’s not, of course. He’s actually a remarkably polite man (even when certain reporters occasionally annoy him with surreptitious emails asking him to spill the beans on various goings on – which are, we must say, always very professionally ignored).

Any musicians out there, we need a deep house remix of ‘James Knox, little wanker’ stat. Stat means now.

It’s also important to note that the word, in case of any potential confusion (non-potty mouthed Americans and continental Europeans, we’re looking at you), that when used like Evenepoel has done the word is mostly meant as a term of endearment. Like how Geraint Thomas referred to Evenepoel at the Giro as a “little bastard”. Maybe every rider could have a ‘little’-prefixed nickname eventually, as if the peloton is becoming the backpack rap scene from the mid-2010s. Could be fun?


After a couple of days off, the Vuelta a España is back on its very specific bullshit.

First of all, we had the Guardia Civil doing a great job of keeping nasty pieces of work away from the bike race, arresting a 28-year-old man on stage 7 who was planning on causing an accident in the final kilometres.

Then, we had a (probably rightly) curtailed stage nine due to mud on the final uphill kilometres before the finish, as the weather continues to not play ball in Spain and some rather serious flooding takes place.

Organisers did a great job of getting a lot of it cleared off, but a sensible decision was taken to allow the stage win to be contested but the GC race halted a couple of kilometres before the true finish. You can’t blame the Vuelta for trying to help their star names from avoiding mishap if they can help it, even if the outcome is someone writing down names on a piece of paper and laying out two cones on the road to make a new finish line. Just impeccable stuff.

And as if that wasn’t enough, one of the two chartered planes to transport riders from Murcia to Valladolid had to land in Madrid because of bad weather, including but not limited to a lightning storm. The unfortunate riders continued their journey by bus for three hours and didn’t get to their hotels until 3:15am.

Romain Bardet called the whole debacle karma for taking a Grand Tour plane transfer in 2023 (adding #timeforachange to his Instagram story on the incident). Rui Oliveira’s photo (left) of the incident also looks like the opposite of fun.

“Arrival at the hotel 3.15 in the night…no food untill that point…in times of weighing every gram and doing everything for recovery, this is not really a morale booster,” tweeted Lidl-Trek’s Edward Theuns.

Meanwhile, over on GCN

“Waiter, there’s a Soupe in my…oh forget it”.

While Geoffrey Soupe probably knew the cameras were rolling during this display…

…it would appear that Orla and the gang did not, after someone hit the big red live button on GCN’s Vuelta coverage a little too early, with the make-up person still applying last-minute touches while Dan Lloyd and Adam Blythe searched up their own names on Twitter.

Feed Zone ?

?️ Filippo Ganna says he will sprint again at the Vuelta a España if given permission by team leader Geraint Thomas to do so.

? Thymen Arensman says his helmet probably saved his life in his Vuelta stage 7 crash. The Dutchman can’t remember anything about the crash after waking up in hospital, having had a tooth knocked out and his face beaten up. Somehow, he emerged with no broken bones. The photo of him after getting out of hospital is quite shocking so fair warning.

? Lotto Dstny’s Milan Menten was scathing of how his rivals raced the stage 7 finale, taken by surprise winner Geoffrey Soupe. Menten was on Ganna’s wheel for the final corner, which he eventually regretted, saying the Italian “went through the bend like an old person” before turning his ire to the GC riders. “The riders are simply dangerous. Everyone is crazy. Ineos Grenadiers , Jumbo-Visma…Jonas Vingegaard was quaking between life and death.”

? Safe to say Jay Vine is gutted to have abandoned the Vuelta after crashing on stage 6. He posted on Instagram saying he’d been working on his skills within the bunch after questioning whether he belonged in the WorldTour at all before re-finding his confidence ahead of the Spanish Grand Tour.

? Mountain bike world champion Sam Gaze and Pierre Latour have also abandoned the Vuelta after struggling with illness.

?? SD Worx’s Mischa Bredewold won the GP Plouay Classic Lorient Agglomération – Trophée CERATIZIT (and breathe) while French national champion Valentin Madouas took victory in the Bretagne Classic – Ouest France.

? Victor Lafay is apparently off to Ag2r Citroën next year, Le Parisien say, after the Frenchman turned down a €1.5 million renewal from Cofidis because Ag2r Citroën offered more money. Good for you, Victor, now you can buy the 13th century castle you always dreamed of.

?? Meanwhile, over in America, Lidl-Trek’s Mattias Skjelmose won the Maryland Cycling Classic solo, two minutes ahead of Neilson Powless (EF Education – EasyPost) and Hugo Houle (Israel – Premier Tech).

? Jon Aberasturi is leaving Lidl-Trek to return to Euskaltel-Euskadi.

? Italian champion Simone Velasco has renewed with Astana-Qazaqstan for two more years, as have Julien Bernard and Jacopo Mosca with Lidl-Trek.

? How did they keep it upright of the week ?

A nasty crash in the finale of the Tour of Britain’s second stage, but how on Earth did that DSM rider stay up? Maybe Firmenich is an anti-gravity company?

Cycling on TV ?

Note: Vuelta a España timings are for GCN+ coverage, not Peacock, but Peacock is where American viewers who don’t own a VPN can watch the race.

Tuesday September 5th

Vuelta a España, Stage 10
GCN+/Peacock (08:15-12:00 ET/13:15-17:00 BST/22:15-02:00 AEST)

Simac Ladies Tour, Prologue
GCN+/Peacock/FloBikes (08:45-10:30 ET/13:45-15:30 BST/22:45-00:30 AEST)

Tour of Britain, Stage 3
GCN+ (07:40-11:00 ET/12:40-16:00 BST/21:40-01:00 AEST)

Wednesday September 6th

Vuelta a España, Stage 11
GCN+/Peacock (08:30-12:00 ET/13:30-17:00 BST/22:30-02:00 AEST)

Simac Ladies Tour, Stage 1
GCN+/Peacock/FloBikes (08:20-10:05 ET/13:20-15:05 BST/22:20-00:05 AEST)

Tour of Britain, Stage 4
GCN+ (07:25-11:00 ET/12:25-16:00 BST/21:25-01:00 AEST)

Thursday September 7th

Vuelta a España, Stage 12
GCN+/Peacock (08:30-12:00 ET/13:30-17:00 BST/22:30-02:00 AEST)

Simac Ladies Tour, Stage 2
GCN+/Peacock/FloBikes (06:30-08:15 ET/11:30-13:15 BST/20:30-22:15 AEST)

Tour of Britain, Stage 5
GCN+ (06:55-11:00 ET/11:55-16:00 BST/20:55-01:00 AEST)

Friday September 8th

Vuelta a España, Stage 13
GCN+/Peacock (07:30-12:00 ET/12:30-17:00 BST/21:30-02:00 AEST)

GP Quebec
GCN+ (11:00-16:40 ET/16:00-21:40 BST/01:00-06:40 AEST)

Simac Ladies Tour, Stage 3
GCN+/Peacock/FloBikes (08:30-10:15 ET/13:30-15:15 BST/22:30-00:15 AEST)

Tour of Britain, Stage 6
GCN+ (07:55-11:00 ET/12:55-16:00 BST/21:55-01:00 AEST)

Mountain bike

UCI MTB World Cup, Les Portes du Soleil – Downhill Junior Women
GCN+ (06:45-07:15 ET/11:45-12:15 BST/20:45-21:15 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Les Portes du Soleil – Downhill Junior Men
GCN+ (07:15-08:00 ET/12:15-13:00 BST/21:15-22:00 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Les Portes du Soleil – XCC Elite Women
GCN+ (12:00-12:45 ET/17:00-17:45 BST/02:00-02:45 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Les Portes du Soleil – XCC Elite Men
GCN+ (12:45-13:45 ET/17:45-18:45 BST/02:45-03:45 AEST)

? British geography question of the week ?

“Have you ever been to Wrexham?”

That was the question asked of Olav Kooij on the British terrestrial coverage after the opening stage of the Tour of Britain, where Jumbo-Visma’s Dutch sprinter won courtesy of a lead-out from Wout van Aert (who himself finished second).

“No,” came the delightfully plain and simple answer from Kooij. Of course he’d never been to Wrexham, he probably didn’t even know what a Wrexham was.

Of course, these days Wrexham has been thrust into the limelight through the gentrification of its football team courtesy of Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. But before that, it was a Welsh city (not really a city, but we don’t have time to get into that) you wouldn’t seek out unless you had a particular reason to do so.

From a British perspective, the charm of the Tour of Britain is seeing some of the sports megastars hurtling through the unassuming market towns of our rainy isle, often zooming past a branch of Sainsbury’s and leaving you thinking “I wonder if Wout van Aert saw that and he now knows what a Sainsbury’s is”.

Well, if Kooij hasn’t been to Wrexham before, he also surely hasn’t seen an episode of Coronation Street, but clearly some strings were pulled and a promotional mention was included in the long-running Mancunian soap opera (again, if you’re not familiar with it already, we don’t have time to get into Coronation Street).

And finally …

Sepp (too much) Kush?

You know when your computer mouse freaks out and morphs into a rainbow spinning wheel while it tries to sort its shit out? That’s what’s happening to Sepp Kuss here.

Although maybe he was still just trying to figure out what a kilometre is…

? Send us yer laundry pics ?

“You may find two pictures of a laundry place in Annecy in this email,” A. Seher writes. “I took the opportunity when I passed this shop and asked to take pictures. At present I am enjoying a stay in Annecy to learn French. After passing the laundry every day, today I finally noticed it and thought of Spin Cycle. I sincerely hope you can use these.”

We have to commend the politeness to ask the laundrette proprietor’s permission to take a photo (we kind of just assumed people snapped away while doing their laundry?) So nice one on (probably) being the most courteous photo submitter yet!

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 …

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