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Spin Cycle: Justice for Primož Roglič

I got that summertime, summertime Sepp Kush.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 26.06.2023 Photography by
George Birnbaum, Jumbo-Visma & 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. You can sign up here.


Hello!

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

The weekend of national championships threw up a satisfying list of names who will represent their country’s colours on the road for the next 12 months. Good though they were, as GCN’s Cillian Kelly pointed out, we are still absolutely fixated on the Vuelta a Colombia stage 2 result.

Aside from a bunch of the new(ish) young talents taking national championships, this week’s Spin Cycle features antics from the previous generation, who the cycling world is sometimes quick to forget in favour of the latest shiny thing that makes you go ooOOoo. Relics such as your Peter Sagans, your Luke Rowes, your Richie Portes.

There’s always space for everyone though, and of course a certain boyfriend is lightyears ahead of the rest when it comes to being both good at racing bikes and improbably funny online. But first, the man who walked so Pogi could run – take it away Peter!

Time Sagan is a flat circle

You’d be mistaken for thinking we’re still in the 2010s when I tell you that Peter Sagan has recently spoken about his green jersey aspirations and then been involved in a somewhat acrimonious summer-based sprint finale crash.

But no, it’s 2023 and yet Peter Sagan persists. For the time being at least.

At the Tour de Suisse Sagan told Het Nieuwsblad that a stage win in his final Tour de France may be a very challenging goal despite not knowing exactly who he’d be up against.

“I actually don’t even know who’s starting,” Sagan said when asked who will be his main competitors on the sprint days. “I like Jakobsen, Philipsen too. Who else? Is Cavendish coming? Caleb [Ewan] is also good.”

However, despite having not won the points classification this decade after he dominated the competition in the 2010s, the Slovakian feels a comeback could be on the cards.

“Maybe I can still force something in the points classification. An eighth green jersey is not impossible, but with that new generation of riders it will certainly not be easy,” Sagan explained. “I look at it day by day and after a dozen stages I’ll see if it’s worth fighting for.”

Then this weekend Sagan was in action at what will likely be his final Slovak National Championships, where he finished second behind Matúš Štoček and was involved in a nasty-looking crash over the finish line.

An unpleasant coming together before Sagan plays frogger through the rest of the field crossing the line to deliver some choice words to DSM-Firmenich’s Pavel Bittner (the Czech and Slovakian championships run concurrently) for some unseen infraction. All we know is that in both words and actions, it looks like Sagan may be back for one last dance!

Luke Rowe (not in bed)

‘I’m in my bed’

With cycling’s answer to Fabrizio Romano Dan Benson back on the transfer news beat, equipped with enough red siren emojis to fill an entire WorldTour roster, there seems to be something going on at the Ineos Grenadiers as a number of both young and experienced talented riders look like they’re on their way out the door at the end of the season. Most striking is the news that Tao Geoghegan Hart to Lidl-Trek is apparently a done deal, with Ben Tulett also off and Dani Martínez considering linking up with the Bora boys.

But we’ll delve into all of that another time. Right now the British team are struggling to stay on top of what their lifers are up to.

After announcing that Luke Rowe would be racing the British Criterium Championships last Friday night, the Welshman whipped his phone out to correct the record, and let them know that he wasn’t on the start line but in bed instead.

The British team followed it up with some poor copy and pasting as they sent out their confirmed Tour de France line-up with the email subject still as the Giro d’Italia line-up, the corrected version later coming through as an ‘exciting’ line-up as opposed to the Giro’s perfunctory one. A tough start to the Tour de France before stage 1 has even begun, but as a newsletter with a loose grip on accuracy, we’re not judging too hard. But if Sir Jim wants to chuck a few not-so-Great British pounds over we can rent him some space in our corrections corner.

Although, it wasn’t just Ineos struggling to keep up with where all their riders were over National Championships week, as Lidl-Trek prematurely announced that Mattias Skjelmose had finished third in the Danish TT before the rider let his trade team know that he hadn’t even set off on the course yet.

Speedy screenshot before deletion credit: @outofcycling

It turns out Lidl-Trek had got their Mattias and Mathias’ mixed up, but with Skjelmose eventually finishing second, and only three seconds in front of the third-placed Mikkel Bjerg, they nearly became the Simpson writers of the professional peloton with their aptitude for predicting the future.

Feed Zone ?

? For a full run down of all of the national championships that took place over the weekend and past week, Matt de Neef climbed onto Joe Lindsey’s shoulders to create one mega-journalist and compiled this great round-up with enough stats to make your brain hurt (in a good way).

?? Equipo Kern Pharma’s Dutch rider Danny van der Tuuk, who has dual nationality thanks to his Polish mother, is considering switching allegiance so he stands a better chance of being selected for European and World Championships.

?‍⚕️ The family of Lieuwe Westra have revealed in an extensive interview that the former professional rider had struggled with drug addiction for years and the cause of his death in January earlier this year was an overdose. An autopsy found sleeping pills, crystal meth, MDMA and speed in his system.

??‍♂️ Against all odds, Miguel Ángel López continued his run of five out of six stage wins at the Vuelta a Colombia as we reported in Friday’s newsletter to take eight out of nine total stages, securing the overall victory with a time trial win on the final stage by a margin of 38 seconds to the next closest competitor and a gap of 6:17 to second place in the final GC. The eyes emoji wouldn’t have done this one justice.

?? There are accusations going around that the Uzbekistan National Championships were faked and the UCI found out about it and have deducted the resultant points. We’ll be looking into this one further…

? Do a kickflip but make it cycling of the week ?

Mathieu van der Poel didn’t take the Dutch road race title but we think he should get a little emblem somewhere for pulling off this neat little bottle flick.

https://twitter.com/justvervaart/status/1672982883600855040

Cycling on TV ?

Tuesday-Thursday

Nothing!

Friday

Giro Donne, stage 1

GCN+ (08:00-10:00 ET/13:00-15:00 BST/22:00-00:00 AEST)

Mountain bike

UCI MTB World Cup – Val di Sole

Downhill – Junior Women Final

GCN+ (06:40-07:10 ET/11:40-12:10 BST/20:40-21:10 AEST)

Downhill – Junior Men Final

GCN+ (07:10-08:15 ET/12:10-13:15 BST/21:10-22:15 AEST)

Cross-country short track – Elite Women

GCN+ (11:30-12:15 ET/16:30-17:15 BST/01:30-02:15 AEST)

Cross-country short track – Elite Men

GCN+ (12:15-13:15 ET/17:15-18:15 BST/02:15-03:15 AEST)

Justice for Primož Roglič

If you have a rider who played a hugely pivotal role in winning you your first Tour de France, who graciously stepped aside with little friction when a younger upstart showed they had what it took to take on and beat Tadej Pogačar over three weeks in France, it would probably be best to not leave him out of a poster for sale on your website titled: ‘Tour de France Dreamteam’.

But that’s what Jumbo-Visma did when omitting Primož Roglič from their A2-sized celebratory poster retailing for €19.95. And no, the poster wasn’t just for the five finishers, as Steven Kruijswijk and Nathan van Hooydonck were super-imposed above the image of Laporte, Van Aert, Vingegaard, Benoot and Kuss on the Champs-Élysées.

How on Earth did they forget Roglič? How did no-one notice, especially when they took the time to add in the other non-finishers. It’s safe to say Roglič’s fans were not too pleased and before long the item had been removed from sale on the Jumbo-Visma online shop. All that’s left to say is that Primož, if you want us to come save you Weasley-style from your caged room at the Dutch Dursleys’ house, just say the word and we’ll be there.

Alternatively, the whole thing may have been (mis)managed by Sepp Kuss shortly before or after the below photo was taken from the Tour squad announcement press release where it appears he’s been sucking on a non-diet acoustic vape for a little too long. I mean, whatever, it is legal in Colorado after all.

Can you spot Sepp Kush?

? The spirit of gravel is still very much alive quote of the week ?

‘That is a new level of suck.’

So said blast from the recent past Richie Porte when he came across the finish line at the Australian Gravel Championships over the weekend. Reported by Cycling News, the post-race interviewer, trying to put a positive spin on the cold and muddy Tasmanian conditions, optimistically asked Porte whether he’d overheard him say ‘that is a new level of cycling’.

“No I said suck, it was horrible,” Porte answered, smiling. “It was obviously beautiful, but gee it was hard.”

And finally…

Look, we’ll stop including videos of Tadej Pogačar doing his best impressions of being a walking meme when another member of the peloton develops a thimble’s-worth of the personality that the Slovenian possesses. As always, Hvala Tadej.

Corrections corner ?✏️

We very clearly displayed our lack of triathlon knowledge on Friday, adding a rogue ‘s’ to Taylor Knibb’s name, while also declaring her the Ironman world champion when in fact she’s the Ironman 70.3 world champ (70.3 is a half Ironman event but still wildly impressive nonetheless).

Primes (for helpful members) ?

Thanks for today’s laundromat photographer go to George Birnbaum, who writes:

“Figured I’d offer up this nice pair from my walk in my new neighborhood of West New York, New Jersey this morning.”

As always, we are accepting your own 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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