Riding is Life


Spin Cycle: Justice for Julian

Victor Campenaerts maybe wants your email address?

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 23.02.2024 Photography by
Todd Potter, 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. Sign up here.


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

Opening Weekend is upon us! Well done on surviving the winter, patiently waiting, whetting your appetite on the January and February races in the build-up to this: proper bike racing. We’re buzzed and we haven’t even had an Affligem yet.

True to form, Patrick Lefevere has once again made everything about himself. But Victor Campenaerts is on hand to make the world seem a little less bad.

Sagan the latest with heart problems

Some more worrying heart-related news to begin with, as Peter Sagan will undergo an operation today (Friday) after abnormalities were discovered during a recent mountain bike race when his heart rate exceeded 200 beats per minute.

The Slovakian has been diagnosed with “anomalous tachycardia with a high ventricular response,” according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, after his coach Patxi Vila made him get his heart checked out by doctors.

Peter Sagan at the end of a mountain bike race, dressed in the Slovakian national team kit.

“He had the arrhythmia during the race and we just want to control it,” a spokesperson for Sagan told GCN, adding the procedure is routine and the 34-year-old should return to racing within a month after having a monitor fitted.

A worrying trend in the peloton continues.

Lefev-ugh …

Right, where to start with the drama that has dominated the headlines this week. We don’t want to get too into the weeds with it, following Marion Rousse finally calling Patrick Lefevere out after his latest verbal tirade as he looks to kick his once-prized rider Julian Alaphilippe out of the door. Weirdly, Philippe Gilbert’s wife, Bettina, got involved to say that Lefevere was only saying what everyone else was thinking! Wonder what the story is there!

More interestingly, with Alaphilippe leading Soudal-Quick Step into Opening Weekend as team leader, he was present at their customary big spring Classics press conference, sat right next to big Paddy Lef to make for what must have made for one of the most excruciating press sessions of his career.

“A question for the boss: when will you turn on me too?”

“No questions for Julian about the past few days,” was how Lefevere decided to open the press conference, attended by Het Nieuwsblad. The pair had apparently sat down beforehand to try and defuse a situation created entirely by Lefevere himself.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything about it myself,” was what Lefevere offered in terms of a comment on the situation. “I am not going to tell you what was said [in the meeting with Alaphilippe beforehand], as far as I’m concerned, the fire has been extinguished. Julian said: ‘Okay you are the boss, if you say something it is your responsibility. I am going to practice my profession as it should be.’”

The rest of the press conference, as the Het Nieuwsblad reporter put it, “collapsed like a pudding.”

One of the most interesting – and actually tangible pieces of information to come out of this week – was the revelation that over the winter Alaphilippe was offered a two-year deal by TotalEnergies, on the same money (a lot) that he was being paid by Soudal-Quick Step. Alaphilippe refused, instead opting to stay for the final season of his current deal with the Belgian squad.

“I mean, I asked out loud whether it might not be time to get a change of scenery,” Lefevere said of the offer, and the former accountant is clearly desperate to get Alaphilippe’s salary off of his books. “Don’t forget: Julian has been riding for our team since he was 17.”

Will this be the last time Lefevere puts his foot in his mouth? Will he finally learn his lesson? We wouldn’t bet on it.

Feed Zone ?

?‍⚖️ The truck driver who killed Davide Rebellin has been jailed for three years and 11 months, CyclingNews reports. “It was a mistake, a tragedy. I’m very, very, very sorry,” Wolfgang R. said at his sentencing. “I repent and accept my punishment.” ANSA also reports that insurers will pay Rebellin’s family €825,000.

?? The Tour of Britain Women has appeared on the UCI calendar where the Women’s Tour used to be. It will be a four-day race from June 6-9.

? Lotte Kopecky has extended with SD Worx-Protime until 2028. Meanwhile, the team’s CEO, Erwin Janssen, has told Het Nieuwsblad that Demi Vollering’s future with the team is much less clear: “If you ask me what the chances are that Demi Vollering will still cycle with us next season, I will answer that it will be difficult.”

? Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla) broke his hand in the UAE Tour’s opening stage finishing-straight crash.

? Adam Yates has also withdrawn from his UAE Team Emirates’ home race after a sickening fall and subsequent concussion.

?‍?‍? Jonas Vingegaard has told Wielerflits he’s scrubbed Strade Bianche from his schedule as he realised it would mean he’d only be at home for two days in an eight-week period. “That’s not enough for me,” he said.

?️ The Paterberg is currently closed to traffic due to subsidence on a road leading up to the climb, Wielerflits reports. “The ground has completely disappeared on one side for 50 metres,” and contractors are currently trying to fix the problem ahead of the spring Classics.

?️ The opening time trial of O Gran Camiño was raced on road bikes due to high winds and the times also didn’t count towards the general classification. Watch our Ronan explain the aero trick the stage winner Josh Tarling (Ineos Grenadiers) still managed to use to his advantage. On the second stage in Spain, Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) rode everyone off his wheel to victory, with Ineos’ Egan Bernal second, 24 seconds behind.

? Former Lotto Dstny Chief Business Officer Yana Seel has joined the management team of UAE Team ADQ.

Cycling on TV ?

Saturday February 24th

UAE Tour, Stage 6
(05:30-07:45 ET/10:30-12:45 GMT/21:30-23:45 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – Men’s
(07:45-10:00 ET/12:45-15:00 GMT/23:45-02:00 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ????FloBikes

Faun Ardèche Classic
(08:00-10:30 ET/13:00-15:30 GMT/00:00-02:30 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

O Gran Camiño, Stage 3
(09:30-11:30 ET/14:30-16:30 GMT/01:30-03:30 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??FloBikes

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – Women’s
(10:00-12:00 ET/15:00-17:00 GMT/02:00-04:00 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ????FloBikes

Sunday February 25th

UAE Tour, Stage 7
(05:30-08:00 ET/10:30-13:00 GMT/21:30-00:00 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

O Gran Camiño, Stage 4
(07:30-09:30 ET/12:30-14:30 GMT/23:30-01:30 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??FloBikes

Faun Drôme Classic
(08:00-10:30 ET/13:00-15:30 GMT/00:00-02:30 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

(08:30-11:00 ET/13:30-16:00 GMT/00:30-03:00 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

Monday February 26th

No live racing …

Tuesday February 27th

Le Samyn de Dames
(07:30-09:00 ET/12:30-14:00 GMT/23:30-01:00 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

Le Samyn
(09:00-11:30 ET/14:00-16:30 GMT/01:00-03:30 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

Wednesday February 28th

Trofeo Laigueglia
(08:30-10:30 ET/13:30-15:30 GMT/00:30-02:30 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??FloBikes

Thursday February 29th

No live racing …

Friday March 1st

No live racing …

Saturday March 2nd

Strade Bianche – Women’s
(05:30-08:00 ET/10:30-13:00 GMT/21:30-00:00 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes, ??SBS

Strade Bianche – Men’s
(08:00-12:00 ET/13:00-17:00 GMT/00:00-04:00 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes, ??SBS

Sunday March 3rd

GP Jean-Pierre Monseré
(07:45-09:15 ET/12:45-14:15 GMT/23:45-01:15 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max ??FloBikes

Paris-Nice, Stage 1
(09:10-11:45 ET/14:10-16:45 GMT/01:10-03:45 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Peacock, ??FloBikes, ??SBS

Monday March 4th

Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 1 (ITT)
(07:05-10:05 ET/12:05-15:05 GMT/23:05-02:05 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Max, ??FloBikes

Paris-Nice, Stage 2
(08:50-09:50 ET/13:50-15:50 GMT/00:50-02:50 AEST) ??Eurosport/Discovery+, ??Peacock, ??FloBikes, ??SBS

Email acquisition play of the week ?

Everyone’s trying to get your email address these days. We’re guilty of it too! But at least most of our emails are fun, unlike, say, emails from the dentist.

You know who else maybe wants your email? Victor Campenaerts. That’s who. But it’s not necessarily for a reason you could ever guess.

“I plan to wear four layers of clothing, which I will take off one by one as the race progresses,” Campenaerts told Het Laatste Nieuws of his plan for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. “In the hustle and bustle it is impossible to hand over every piece of clothing to the support vehicle, so I will always throw my excess clothing towards the audience.”

Here is where his terrific plan comes into play.

“I will have a ticket sewn into all my clothes with this email address: [email protected]. The people on the sidelines who pick up my clothes can email me and we can agree how I will get the clothes back. In exchange, they receive a coffee and a voucher for a cycling jersey with my signature at the end of the season, when I no longer need that clothing.”

Very fun. And almost definitely not a convoluted email acquisition play. If you’re lucky enough to be in attendance this weekend, be on guard to catch Campenaerts’ clothing!

And finally …

The Classics are upon us! The only way to celebrate is to watch the Tom-Boonen-throwing-shapes video on loop until Het Nieuwsblad’s sponsored race started this Saturday! WOOOOO!

We’re off to see the Alps before they melt forever ⛷️

There will be no Spin Cycle next week as we’ve snaffled some time off before the season really kicks into gear. Our next edition will be Monday March 4th. See you then.

? Send us yer laundry pics

“This is the SuperMatt laundromat on Bayshore Drive in Naples, FL USA,” writes Todd Potter, attaching today’s featured laundromat. “I ride by here every day and stopped in to take photos. To do a load of laundry here it costs $7.00–WOW!!!”

That’s some serious spinflation … we’ll gather our things.

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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