Spin Cycle: Keep politics out of sports

Stay 'til the end for some exceptional Japanese laundry tech ...

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 10.06.2024 Photography by
Martin Langridge, Annika Haas, 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.

We have a real tasting menu of delicacies for you today: an early celebration, a semi-pro rider giving it the bigguns, some vintage mansplaining, Richard Plugge doing some PR spinning, and politics trying to get in the way of sports. But first, an update on what was the story of the spring …

Justice comes calling for Paris-Roubaix hat woman

Remember the woman who threw a cap at Mathieu van der Poel during Paris-Roubaix? Feels like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Anyway, she’s been offered a deal that would allow her to avoid being charged with intended assault and battery.

According to Wielerrevue, the French cycling union are prepared to drop the charges on three conditions: she has to admit wrongdoing (which she hasn’t yet; while admitting she threw the hat, she contended through her lawyer there was “never any intention to harm”), volunteer for the Amis de Paris-Roubaix organisation that maintains the cobbles of the race, and lastly to become the public face of a campaign to promote safe fan behaviour at the roadside of bike races.

We cannot wait for the public campaign. Maybe we’ll have Mathieu van der Poel running on-screen mid-message from the woman to administer a carpet burn a la Australian Worlds hotel incident? Will she have to complete an Everesting on the Arenberg sector? So many options.

Visma-Lease a New Bike

At altitude in the Alpine town of Tignes, Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard have been spotted riding blue Cervélos, hinting at what their 2024 Tour de France kit could be as they make way for the true yellow jersey of the French Grand Tour.

We had 2022’s tasteless Van Gogh-inspired number, the AI nightmare of 2023’s follow your dreams to the stars (or something), and now are we getting blue? With nine out of the 18 WorldTour teams’ kits currently being majority blue, another one in the fold is exactly what we need. There are other colours right? Could someone tell the WorldTour?

In separate Visma-Lease a Bike news, spin doctor extraordinaire Richard Plugge was at the side of the road on domestique duties for the Dauphiné’s final stage 8, who handed Intermarché-Wanty’s Tom Paquot a bottle. That’s just good guy Plugge for you. Now, let’s hope they don’t wind in the canopy of the bus this summer while we’re waiting outside and it starts raining …

Keep politics out of sports

Because we simply don’t have enough elections going on this year with the USA, UK, India and Russia (hmm …) amongst about half of the global population involved in elections, French President Emmanuel Macron didn’t like what he saw from the weekend’s European Union elections and called a snap vote … but with very specific consequences for our little corner of the world.

Done in two votes, the French will head to the polls on June 30th and July 7th, slap bang in the middle of the Tour de France. Now, while the first vote is on the day of stage 2, while the Tour is still in Italy, the second vote will occur on stage 9, the gravel stage to Troyes.

The sense of dread was instant. The 2022 edition of Paris-Roubaix was forced to change date because of a clash with the French presidential election, what’s going to happen to the Tour when faced with the democratic process of the French people?

Fortunately, L’Équipe were straight on the blower to ASO, who told everyone not to panic.

“Since yesterday evening, we have had a few calls concerning July 7,” said Pierre-Yves Thouault, deputy director of cycling at ASO.

“No change of route. We spoke with the competent authorities, the communities, the mayor of Troyes, the prefecture. We are hopeful of finding common ground so that access can be achieved under good conditions. We proposed cutting points [for the public to be able to get across the race route] and special signage. The connections have been made and the discussion is ongoing.”

Phew! Thank God we didn’t have to choose between democracy and the Tour de France!

Feed Zone 🥖

🇦🇺 Jayco-AlUla is in pole position to sign Ben O’Connor, according to Le Dauphiné, with his current employer Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale also keen to retain his services.

🔀 Going the other way out of the Australian team is Simon Yates, according to GCN. Visma-Lease a Bike, Israel-Premier Tech and Tudor Pro Cycling are rumoured to be in the running, while Ineos Grenadiers and UAE Team Emirates have ruled out signing the Brit.

😬 Bradley Wiggins has been declared bankrupt by a court, the Times reports, and assets that could be seized to pay creditors could include medals and other prizes. “These headaches have been going on for a few years now and there seems to be no end in sight,” Wiggins said last year about the impending bankruptcy. “It’s a historical issue, where the negligence of others has left a big pile of shit with my name on it. That happens more often with athletes.” He has not yet made a comment related to this latest update.

💸 The Critérium du Dauphiné wrapped up at the weekend, with Primož Roglič holding on to take yellow. Our Kit Nicholson wraps up the race with some analysis of what we learned and what it means for the upcoming Tour de France.

😫 Ellen van Dijk’s Olympics looks in jeopardy after the Dutchwoman broke her ankle in an accident while at a training camp in Spain.

🤩 Simon Geschke will ride the Tour de France in his final professional year, announced to the Cofidis squad alongside Guillaume Martin, Bryan Coquard and Ion Izagirre.

🇰🇿 Astana Qazaqstan made light work of the Asian Road Cycling Championships in Almaty, with Yevgeniy Fedorov winning the elite men’s road race while Nicolas Vinokourov took the U23 title.

🇨🇭 As Yves Lampaert (Soudal-Quick Step) won the Tour de Suisse prologue, UAE Team Emirates’ Isaac del Toro had a day to forget, finishing 42 seconds down after he went the wrong way on the 4.77 km course and also crashed in the final kilometre.

💂‍♀️ Pauline Ferrand-Prévot will leave Ineos Grenadiers at the end of this season to join Visma-Lease a Bike, Wielerflits reports, with a view to going all-in on road racing and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift a particular target.

🇫🇷 The 2025 Tour de France Femmes Grand Départ will return to France next year with a start in Brittany and will feature a total of nine stages, the longest since the race’s relaunch.

🏆 Marianne Vos (Visma-Lease a Bike) won the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Femenina after winning stage 2 and finishing second on the other two days, while world champion Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) won two stages at the Tour of Britain en route to sealing the overall victory.

😎 Humblebrag, no wait, brag of the week 😲

The ZLM Tour is a 2.1 Dutch stage race nestled between the Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse, and which therefore goes largely unnoticed outside of the bicycle heartlands.

The third stage on Friday, however, threw up an entertaining victor in the shape of Peter Schulting (36), a semi-professional Continental-circuit journeyman, who spared no time in his flash interview reminding the rest of the field that he still beat them despite the only thing they’re employed to do every week is to ride a bike fast.

“It is very nice to beat professionals while I still have a normal life besides cycling,” he said afterwards. “I’m quite proud. I am the oldest participant on the starting list, I work four days a week and I have three children, so I actually have a normal life besides cycling. It is very nice to beat the pros.”

Cycling on TV 📺

Tuesday June 11th

Tour de Suisse – Stage 3
(09:00-11:40 ET/14:00-16:40 BST/23:00-01:40 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, FloBikes🇨🇦🇺🇸

Wednesday June 12th

Tour de Suisse – Stage 4
(09:00-11:40 ET/14:00-16:40 BST/23:00-01:40 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, FloBikes🇨🇦🇺🇸

Tour of Slovenia – Stage 1
(07:30-10:00 ET/12:30-15:00 BST/21:30-00:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, Max🇺🇸, FloBikes🇨🇦

Tour of Belgium – Stage 1 (ITT)
(09:15-11:25 ET/14:15-16:25 BST/23:15-01:25 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, Max🇺🇸, FloBikes🇨🇦

Thursday June 13th

Tour de Suisse – Stage 5
(09:00-11:40 ET/14:00-16:40 BST/23:00-01:40 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, FloBikes🇨🇦🇺🇸

Tour of Slovenia – Stage 2
(07:00-09:00 ET/12:00-14:00 BST/21:00-23:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, Max🇺🇸, FloBikes🇨🇦

Tour of Belgium – Stage 2
(09:00-11:00 ET/14:00-16:00 BST/23:00-01:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, Max🇺🇸, FloBikes🇨🇦

Friday June 14th

Tour de Suisse – Stage 6
(08:30-11:00 ET/13:30-16:00 BST/22:30-01:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, FloBikes🇨🇦🇺🇸

Tour of Slovenia – Stage 3
(07:00-09:00 ET/12:00-14:00 BST/21:00-23:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, Max🇺🇸, FloBikes🇨🇦

Tour of Belgium – Stage 3
(09:00-11:00 ET/14:00-16:00 BST/23:00-01:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, Max🇺🇸, FloBikes🇨🇦

Tour Féminin des Pyrénées – Stage 1
(08:00-10:00 ET/13:00-15:00 BST/22:00-00:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧

🤦‍♂️ Early celebration of the week 🤦‍♂️

Having already secured two stage wins for Lotte Kopecky and another for Lorena Wiebes (who had also already swept the three-day RideLondon Classique a couple of weeks earlier), SD Worx-Protime endeavoured to at least try and spice things up a bit for a roadside UK racing audience who must be starting to think there is a contractual obligation the Dutch team wins every race on their soil.

However, as Kopecky led things out to try and gift Christine Majerus a victory (the world champion could have sipped a cup of tea as she started freewheeling in the finale), Majerus sat up just before the line allowing Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv AlUla Jayco) to snatch the win. A classic of the genre, will never get bored of these.

And finally …

A throwback posted this week picturing last year’s Vuelta a España. A quality bit of mansplaining on display here.

⚡ We’re gonna rock down to addendum avenue ⚡

“In my opinion, the more questionable part of the Remco ketone tweet is his haircut,” writes in Alex Graves, referencing the photo of Remco Evenepoel posted in Friday’s edition. “What the hell is going on there and can you please get to the bottom of it? (Sacrificing looks for aero gains??? Or is his barber just trying to sabotage him?)”

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

“I’m sure the sneaker laundry close-up has little creative use but I’m just thrilled to show that they’re a thing,” writes Martin Langridge, attaching a bountiful harvest of Koinrandorī photos that I’m sure we’ll see more of one day, one of which features at the top of this edition.

“Took out bikes to Nagano [Japan] recently and this from the local ‘The BIG Hotaka by AEON’ supermarket in Azumino on a recent trip. Absolutely amazing. Wash your gear and grab novelty snacks, bentos and beers from next door. Couldn’t get all the doors open as I got some curious looks in the process.”

“How have these sneaker/trainer machines not made it out of Japan?” I asked.

“It’s Big Washing Machine,” replied Martin. “They want the world to own their own white goods.”

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 Martin Langridge and Alex Graves 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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