Spin Cycle: Hats off to you, Mathieu

Plus, a rather unexpected mug shot.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 08.04.2024 Photography by
ChuckerND, Gruber Images, Kristof Ramon, Cor Vos
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Welcome back to Spin Cycle, Escape Collective’s news digest.

Well, that was Paris-Roubaix. Two world champions walked away as victors, and we were treated to two different races that were each spectacles in their own way.

Of course, as the analysis, piping-hot takes, and reaction spew out in the aftermath, we’re here to cover the truly important things: the hat-throw, the shower shampoo, and the hands.

Oh, and stay until the end for a rather unexpected mug shot from Bolivia, that would have caused quite the scare for the Nairo Quintana fans out there.

Hat off to you, Mathieu … no! Not like that!

With Mathieu van der Poel racing within France on Sunday, you’d have thought he’d receive a warmer welcome than the few jealous Flemish cycling fans who chuck beer and urine on the world champion at most available opportunities (we would tell these wrong’uns to cut it out, but we assume they are unable to read).

While liquids thankfully didn’t seem to rain down on Van der Poel as he won his second Roubaix, there was one heinous incident captured by the TV cameras where a woman threw a hat at Van der Poel’s rear wheel.

This is obviously scumbag behaviour, and the UNCP (Union Nationale des Cyclistes Professionnels) has said it will file a report with the French authorities, with Adam Hansen, President of the CPA riders’ union, also telling GCN that it uses the national federation in order to take so-called fans to court in incidents such as these.

Many people on social media were quick to not only liken this case and unfurling manhunt (does it become a womanhunt if the search is for a woman?) to the Opi-Omi debacle at the 2021 Tour de France, but also to splice the two images side-by-side and speculate that the two women may in fact be the same person.

We’re not convinced, though, and that it just happens to be two women wearing sunglasses at the roadside of a bike race.

The woman who threw the hat at Mathieu van der Poel at Paris-Roubaix 2024 and the Opi-Omi woman from the 2021 tour de France.


Last year we loved/hated the most on-the-nose sponsorship activation in the history of professional cycling when Mathieu van der Poel grabbed a bottle of Alpecin shampoo to take with him into the Roubaix showers post-victory.

The question was, how would he follow up defending his title? Well, he took TWO bottles of Alpecin shampoo with him.

Upon closer inspection, with one bottle smaller than the other, it appears he has a regular bottle of Alpecin shampoo and a bottle of “Double Effect,” which helps to remove dandruff so that the caffeine shampoo can really get into your scalp. No specific information about what it does for the mud and dust of the cobbles, though.

Mathieu van der Poel in the Roubaix showers after his 2024 victory.

With Van der Poel’s teammate Jasper Philipsen also finishing runner-up for the second year in the row, he got some Alpecin shower action too as he enters into a contract year that could see him leave at the end of the season.

The below photo has two possible explanations: either Philipsen is doing his best to get Alpecin into as many photos as possible, and thus prove he’s worth the higher salary to the Roodhooft brothers that he should be able to command elsewhere, or this is genuinely, worryingly, how Philipsen actually applies shampoo.

Feed Zone 🥖

🐝 Wout van Aert will only ride the Giro d’Italia if he is 100% fit following his Dwars door Vlaanderen crash, Visma-Lease a Bike sports director Merijn Zeeman told HLN, which is the same philosophy for Jonas Vingegaard following his fall in the Basque Country. The Dane will certainly miss what was supposed to be a first pre-Tour altitude camp in Sierra Nevada at the start of May, so if he does go to the Tour, it will be with different preparation to what was planned.

🙏 Following his crash at the Tour of the Basque Country, UAE Team Emirates’ Jay Vine will not require surgery but will have to wear a neck brace for six weeks.

🤝 Spaniards Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) and Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) made a deal to work together after dropping Lidl-Trek’s race leaders Mattias Skjelmose on the final stage of the Tour of the Basque Country so that Rodriguez could claim the stage victory and Ayuso the general classification.

🐐 Marianne Vos says she is “extremely disappointed” after finishing fourth at Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift, saying she probably started her sprint too early and that she didn’t have the speed to match winner Lotte Kopecky.

🚑 The day after the crash in the Basque Country that took out Remco Evenepoel, Primož Roglič, and Jonas Vingegaard, amongst others, Mikel Landa also fell and broke his collarbone and two ribs.

🏥 Lennard Kämna has been moved out of intensive care into a regular hospital ward after he was hit by a driver during a training camp in Tenerife.

😬 Ineos Grenadiers’ Joshua Tarling was disqualified from Paris-Roubaix for a sticky bottle that was clearly visible to television cameras.

🌱 Lidl-Trek’s Tim Torn Teutenberg won Paris-Roubaix U23 ahead of Brit Robert Donaldson (Trinity Racing) and the Belgian Robin Orins (Lotto Dstny U23).

✅ Remco Evenepoel’s surgery for his broken collarbone on Saturday was a success, his Soudal-Quick Step team has announced.

🤕 Jonathan Milan, an early crasher at Paris-Roubaix, likely suffered a mild concussion, his Lidl-Trek team announced.

🇵🇸 Palestinian protesters demonstrated outside the Israel-Premier Tech bus at the end of Paris-Roubaix, Wielerflits reports.

Cycling on TV 📺

Tuesday April 9th

Tour of Abruzzo – Stage 1
(07:50-09:50 ET/12:50-14:50 BST/21:50-23:50 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Wednesday April 10th

Flèche Brabançonne – Women
(06:30-08:30 ET/11:30-13:30 BST/20:30-22:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸🇨🇦FloBikes

Flèche Brabançonne – Men
(09:15-12:15 ET/14:15-17:15 BST/23:15-02:15 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸🇨🇦FloBikes

Tour of Abruzzo – Stage 2
(07:50-09:50 ET/12:50-14:50 BST/21:50-23:50 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Thursday April 11th

Tour of Abruzzo – Stage 3
(07:50-09:50 ET/12:50-14:50 BST/21:50-23:50 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Friday April 12th

Classic Grand Besançon Doubs
(07:20-10:25 ET/12:20-15:25 BST/21:20-00:25 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max

Tour of Abruzzo – Stage 4
(07:50-09:50 ET/12:50-14:50 BST/21:50-23:50 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Hands of the week 🫲 🫱

If you needed any further proof of Mathieu van der Poel’s skills, of how effortlessly he rides over the Roubaix cobbles, arriving in the velodrome puncture-free, just have a look at the photo of his hands that the Dutchman’s girlfriend posted on Instagram post-race.

For comparison, on the left, there’s a photo of another 2024 finisher photographed by the Grubers. Ouch.

One rider's battered hands post Paris-Roubaix 2024 and then Mathieu van der Poel's unblemished hands after the same race.

And finally …

A picture that would have made the hearts of Nairo Quintana fans stop in their tracks as a local Bolivian news outlet posted a photo of a small man wearing a Nairo Quintana Vuelta a España red jersey surrounded by armed police with a huge package of drugs on the table.

Obviously, it is not Nairo Quintana in the photo, but instead a man from Bolivia’s de facto capital of Le Paz who was caught carrying 3.5 kilograms of “a plant substance whose characteristics would be very similar to marijuana” worth a reported €3.5 million.

The short report by Pereira en Vivo goes on to say that when uniformed officers asked to search the man he tried to flee before being immediately intercepted. We really hope this fleeing was attempted by bicycle and out of the saddle up a gradient in true Nairo style …

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

“Here are some pics from a laundry in Fargo, ND,” writes in ChuckerND, attaching today’s laundromat image. “Maybe there is something you can use.”

It’s the perfect photo for after Roubaix. If you look closer at the sign in the top right of the photo, it reads: “The most memorable days end with the dirtiest clothes.” This must be the cycling equivalent of “live, laugh, love.”

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 ChuckerND 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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