Spin Cycle: It’s all in the jeans

Is something getting left behind at Mellow Johnny's?

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 23.10.2023 Photography by
Lucian Stănescu and Aleks Gajdeczka
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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.

The end is nigh! The TV listings will become increasingly sparse, the chances of this dropping into your email inbox at a time when it’s dark outside becomes increasingly likely, and we become increasingly desperate in finding stories to make you sit up and pay attention.

Each Monday and Friday after hitting send we’ll breathe a deep sigh of relief after getting through another off-season edition. It won’t be long, though, until the panic starts setting in once again. Maybe we’ll get to the point where we’ll just fill an entire newsletter with reader-submitted laundromat photos? They are the one thing we’ve got in abundance, enough to power the entire site off of.

Maybe we’ll get to the point where that actually seems like A Good Idea™ and we’ll be dragged before the powers that be at Escape Collective and asked to explain ourselves. Thankfully, we don’t have anything close to resembling an HR department, and I can’t tell if that means I have a job for life or whether my employment eternally hangs by a thread. Oh well, best to just bury the bad thoughts deep down inside. On with the show!

The race for Olympic spaces

With the 2023 season at an end, it’s been decided how many riders each country will be allowed to send for the road race and time trial events at next year’s Paris Olympics.

The places are decided by the ranking of each country’s eight best riders in the UCI rankings. If you place first to fifth in the country rankings, you get a maximum four spots for the road race, the next step down giving a nation three competitors, and so on.

Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Great Britain, and France are all allowed four riders for the men’s road race, while Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, and the United States will only be afforded three.

The same sort of ranking system works to award places in the time trial event, with countries given either one or two berths (and remember, each nation can only field a maximum of four different riders, so the likelihood is that the chosen athlete will have to participate in the road race as well).

The main talking point coming out of this so far is that Slovenia has only one space for the time trial, so will that go to reigning Olympic champion Primož Roglič or reigning best bike rider in the world Tadej Pogačar? The course will be 32 km long and flat. Will Pogačar want to compete? Will Roglič be happy with a time trial setup that has recently drawn criticism from 20-year-old whippersnapper Cian Uijtdebroeks? It could get interesting.

Like, comment, subscribepoel

Seeing as everyone else and their mum is making a buck off any time Remco Evenepoel does anything, the Belgian might as well get in on it too.

Of course, he already has the merch, the Pizza Hut endorsement deal, but the latest string to his commercial bow is a YouTube channel. The most recent instalment of which covers his run-up to and participation in Il Lombardia, where he finished ninth.

The day after the race, however, Evenepoel takes the time to revisit the site of his serious 2020 crash. As members of the quasi-parasitic cycling media establishment, we are no strangers to the trade-off between eyeballs and the exploitation of the human condition.

After 40 minutes of recon rides, sports directors and teammates pissing into people’s hedgerows, race day formalities and various other hi-jinks, it’s time for Evenepoel to spend his Sunday revisiting a place laced with trauma in the quest for clicks.

His wife walks alongside him, for support and also to act as interviewer, trying to tease some feeling from her husband as they stalk the place where he got seriously injured a few years ago.

“Nothing special I think. It’s alright,” Evenepoel replies when asked what it’s like being back.

“It’s not that this place has emotional value to you?” she tries again.

“No, not really,” comes the response.

In reality, it appears Evenepoel is contemplative but unwilling to let anyone in, which is fair enough. He also does then walk us through the corner and how the crash happened, as well as showing us the road sign he hit with his pedal that still has the dent he made in it (surprised a cycling fan hasn’t prised that off the side of the wall, to be honest).

For Evenepoel’s fans, they will love the 45-minute production, and Evenepoel is smart to be making the most of his celebrity by branching out. It does feel slightly off watching someone so talented and successful basically being reduced to “oh so this is where you had that nasty crash? Can you tell us about it?” but at some point in the process this idea was agreed to by Evenepoel and, after all, Content Is King.

Feed Zone ?

? After an 18-year career, Movistar’s José Joaquin Rojas (38) is retiring.

? For those mourning the simplification of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty next year, some good news! Bardiani has added another sponsor to its name and will now be called VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè.

? Niklas Eg (28) has been forced to call time on his career due to heart problems.

? Lapierre is leaving Groupama-FDJ after 22 years of collaboration but will continue to supply FDJ-Suez, Velo101 reports. “Like any company, Lapierre must make strategic choices,” Groupama-FDJ boss Marc Madiot said.

? Sonny Colbrelli will become a sports director at Bahrain-Victorious next year, GCN reports.

? Richard Plugge has given another reason why his Quick-Step takeover attempt failed (aside from Pon pulling the plug). He’s told The Outer Line: “One of the reasons was that after our discussions with the UCI we came to the conclusion that there was no good solution for both teams; we didn’t want any team to be left in the dark.” Hmm …

? Puck Pieterse has opted to take a period of rest and won’t compete in cyclocross again until late November.

?️ Harrie Lavreysen is top of the sprint rankings after a perfect weekend and maximum score of 40 points at the opening round of the UCI Track Champions League in Mallorca where the Dutchman won both the Keirin and the Sprint. In the women’s competition, the German Alessa-Catriona Pröpster is top with 35, three points clear of Colombian Martha Bayona.

? Nathan van Hooydonck is back on his bike, undertaking some light rides after a month of no exercise and being given the green light by his doctor. The 28-year-old has an internal defibrillator fitted that can correct cardiac arrhythmias. “Maybe one day I can ride the Cape Epic mountain bike tour in South Africa,” Van Hooydonck told Het Laatste Nieuws.

? New gravel world champion Katarzyna Niewiadoma won the Big Sugar Gravel by almost nine minutes. Twenty-six-year-old Norwegian Torbjorn Roed won the men’s event and we hope the irony of his name was picked up on by the podium announcer.

?? Jayco-AlUla’s Lukas Pöstlberger won the Sun Hung Kai Properties Hong Kong Challenge (returning to the calendar after a six-year absence). Pöstlberger’s teammate Zdeněk Štybar was third in the final road race of his career.

? Swiss mountain bike racer Mathias Flückiger wasn’t impressed with the $599 he got for being fourth at the UCI World Cup round in Snowshoe, West Virginia, a few weeks back. “It’s just embarrassing,” he said. “It’s about the ratio”.

?? Eli Iserbyt and Fem van Empel emerged victorious from this weekend’s Superprestige Overijse.

⏱️ Richard Carapaz had to settle for second behind Colombia’s Walter Vargas in the time trial competition at the Pan-American Games, while Kristen Faulkner defeated Arlenis Sierra in the women’s competition.

?? British gravel champion Cameron Mason has left Trinity and joined Cyclocross Reds, the team managed by the Alpecin-Deceuninck Roodhooft brothers.

Cycling on TV ?

Tuesday October 24th

No live racing

Wednesday October 25th

Tour de France 2024 Route Presentation
GCN+ (05:25-07:20 ET/10:25-12:20 BST/20:25-22:20 AEST)

Thursday October 26th – Friday October 27th

No live racing

? It’s all in the jeans ?

The only thing we love more than Sepp Kuss already hinting that he doesn’t really fancy a return to super domestique life? The time-honoured jersey-and-jeans combo he rocked at the Durango homecoming for the town’s Vuelta a España champion, as the son of local sporting legends in their own right.

The jersey-and-jeans combo is usually only reserved for awkward team presentation shoots, or sponsor duties. Basically any time it would be acceptable to dress casually for most of the day but then for the public-facing segment of the day it’s required to be photographed with the names and logos of the sponsors that ultimately pay your wages.

There are a number of things to love about this, so we’ll list them in no particular order: The Big Brown Belt. The fact that everyone else is in ride-appropriate clothing yet if you’re the Vuelta champion, you do what you want. How I can feel how uncomfortable it must be to be riding that bike with a phone in my jeans pocket. The combination of not just jeans and jersey, not just jeans, jersey and helmet, but jeans, jersey, helmet, and sunglasses. The fact the temperature was in the mid 20s ºC (sorry Americans, I refuse to figure out your dumb alternate system) and he must have been hotter than at any point during the Vuelta. Can’t wait for GC Kuss 2024.

And finally …

As the Lance Armstrong-owned bike shop/sanitarium for people who think they’ve won seven Tours de France switches locations, a photo sent in to us appears to show the yellow jerseys will be the last things to make the move, if they are going at all, that is.

✏️ Clarifications corner ✏️

Apologies to those who read the Marc Lamberts story in last Friday’s newsletter and were shocked to find out Wout van Aert was apparently leaving for Bora-Hansgrohe too. It should have read: ‘Wout van Aert and Jumbo-Visma coach, Marc Lamberts, has followed Primož Roglič to Bora-Hansgrohe.’ Never thought we’d have our own “eats, shoots & leaves” confusion but nice to tick one off the bucket list.

Adam Nelson also writes: “If you think Blake Quick is good, there is a Russia journeyman who rides for Asia Tour Conti teams who I raced against a few times when I used to live in Singapore called Konstantin Fast.”

It turns out that Fast is still racing (as recently as the Tour of Hainan) at the ripe age of 47. And not only that, but back in 2019 Fast and Quick actually raced against each other. Across both the PRUridePH (Philippines) and International Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen (Indonesia) stage races, Fast finished ahead of Quick four out of their seven career meetings, but Quick got the highest placing of their contests with second, so really the Quick vs. Fast Championships is undecided. Maybe we can set something up …

? Send us yer laundry pics ?

Thanks to Lucian Stănescu in Brussels for possibly the most artistic laundromat photo to date. There are levels to this game.

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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