Spin Cycle: Marie Kondo-ing the GC leaders

Do not mess with the Gilberts.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 29.09.2023 Photography by
Richard Siegel, Mark Tantrum, Debbie Rowe, Cor Vos, @finch.ry, @mikekeenk, @WonderW97800751
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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.

We’re going to stop asking for quiet weeks in cycling. Firstly, because the chaos is definitely more fun. Secondly, because every time we suggest things should quieten down they do not.

In today’s edition we do a little bit of merger talk, but from a different, more unhinged point of view. Elsewhere, sneaking under the radar somewhat, Philippe Gilbert has had some stuff going on this year and one thing we’ve learned is he is definitely not a person to be trifled with.

Merger merger merger

Let’s kick things off with what the Jumbo-Visma-Quick-Step-Amazon-honestly-as-long-as-you’re-not-a-petro-state-we’ll-take-your-money service course could look like next season.

‘Quite a misadventure’

There are a lot of ways to describe retired pro Philippe Gilbert getting robbed at gunpoint with his wife and children in the car but for the Belgian French-language daily newspaper La Dernière Heure, “quite a misadventure” is how they would term it. What if you fell down the stairs and broke your legs? Maybe that’s just a mere scratch.

This serious crime was committed against Gilbert and his family back in February, where a 20-year-old in a car overtook Gilbert, stopping his vehicle and pointing a gun at him before the 41-year-old handed over his possessions.

As the man drove away, Gilbert somehow had the presence of mind to remember the car’s licence plate, also filming the scene of what had just taken place.

This made it easy to identify the perpetrator and the car was soon tracked down, with an air pistol found in the glove box in what was not his first robbery, it turns out.

The criminal was finally sentenced this week to six months in prison, disqualified from driving for at least eight months, and banned from possessing a weapon for five years (surely you should just be banned from possessing a weapon forever if you’re going to use it to rob people, no?).

A nasty state of affairs anyhow, and we hope Gilbert and his family are alright.

What this news story also did, however, was lead us down a post-retirement Gilbert rabbit hole, as La Dernière Heure seem to specialise in reporting on anything and everything Gilbert does.

Take this article from May, where they report Gilbert had put his Monaco house on the market for…brace yourself…€23 million! We knew Gilbert had an impressive career and probably did alright for himself, but we didn’t know he’d done that well. Nice one, Philippe.

You can find the article here if you want to be nosey and look at the pics of the plush pad (you do), but more interestingly it includes a big correction at the bottom issued by Gilbert and his wife Bettina Pesce who denied their house was for sale (and this is definitely NOT due to any tax implications that moving away from Monaco could entail).

“This article mentions the sale of our duplex apartment in Monaco and would wrongly make it clear that we would return to Belgium after having lived for many years in Monaco. Through this right of reply, we would like to point out that this information is incorrect and that we continue to live in Monaco. Our children grew up and still go to school here. In addition, we operate a bicycle store there ‘The Bike Shop’ and there is therefore no reason for us to leave Monaco. We are therefore sorry to see the press spreading erroneous information about our private and family life. We hope that misconceptions about our future will thus be dispelled.”

There we have it. Lesson learned, do not mess with the Gilberts.

Marie Kondo-ing the GC leaders

Right, the rumour mill has to stop. Primož Roglič is definitely off somewhere (you may know where by the time you’re reading this) and Remco Evenepoel also seems like he’ll have a new home too. At the time of writing, everything is still quite murky, and notions such as the possibility that Roglič could be on his way to Movistar (!!) are being flung around.

Even Daniel Friebe, a journalist who is talented enough to usually not have to dive into rumour and speculation, couldn’t help himself. He thinks he’s figured out Roglič’s destination by identifying the wood panelling in the background of Roglič sightings. Meanwhile, someone else went as far as to uncover Roglič’s Duolingo account and check if he had added any new language classes that could reveal hints about his new team.

As even Spin Cycle becomes full to the brim with the amount of rumour we can take, we’ve decided it may just be easier to decide for everyone where the various GC leaders should be racing next year, and if all the involved parties could just take part in some well-spirited swapsies 2024 would make a lot more sense.

Remco Evenepoel – Ineos Grenadiers (with Mikel Landa also making a triumphant return)
Jonas Vingegaard – Jumbo-Visma
Primož Roglič – Bahrain Victorious
Sepp Kuss – Lidl-Trek
Carlos Rodriguez – Movistar

Have you got a better, tidier idea? Let us know in the comments.

Feed Zone ?

✍️ Tobias Foss is heading to Ineos Grenadiers after all, according to Norwegian outlet Landevei a contract has been signed. Noticias de Navarra also says Óscar Rodríguez will move from Movistar to the British team on a three-year deal.

?? The Tour of Romania, initially pushed back from September to late October, has now been cancelled altogether.

? Juan José Lobato (34) has announced his retirement from professional cycling.

? Paris Tours will be the last race of Greg Van Avermaet’s pro career.

? Travel company and cycling team sponsor Vacansoleil has declared bankruptcy. The company is currently a sponsor of the Jumbo-Visma women’s team and previously title-sponsored a men’s WorldTour team.

?️ The Stelvio will be the Cima Coppi of the 2024 Giro d’Italia, Tuttobiciweb reports.

? Thymen Arensman will return to racing at this weekend’s Giro dell’Emilia following his crash at the Vuelta a España.

? Juan Pablo Dotti has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for CERA, a variant of EPO, at the Glasgow World Championships time trial event in August.

⏳ Italy’s Vittoria Bussi will attempt to break Ellen van Dijk’s Hour Record on October 11 in Mexico.

? Bolton Equities will no longer be a title sponsor (but will continue as a smaller backer) for Bolton Equities Black Spoke next year and so the team will drop from ProTeam to Continental level. The squad is searching for new sponsors.

?? Denmark’s Copenhagen have thrown their hat into the ring to be a host for the 2029 World Championships, TV2 Kosmopol reports.

? The retiring Jos van Emden will become a coach of the Jumbo-Visma women’s team next year. Abby Mickey has more on what’s going on at that team here.

?‍♂️ Tudor Pro Cycling and Q36.5 have both told Wielerflits they won’t be taking up a WorldTour licence in 2024 should the opportunity present itself. Uno-X haven’t ruled it out, though.

?? Harry Sweeny will swap Lotto Dstny for EF Education-EasyPost next year.

?? Elia Viviani won the opening stage of the CRO Race, his first victory since 12 months ago … also at the CRO Race.

?? Groupama-FDJ has signed Matt Walls from Bora-Hansgrohe and Cyril Barthe from Burgos-BH.

? Chris Froome will take a break from posting on Instagram to ride the Tour of Hainan (5-9 October) and the Japan Cup (15 October).

? Bas Tietema will no longer race for his own TDT-Unibet team, while Harry Tanfield will also leave the squad.

? Victor Campenaerts has told Wielerflits how when he started weighing his food at the Jumbo-Visma breakfast table in pursuit of perfect nutrition in 2016 Robert Gesink laughed at him. That wasn’t very nice of you, Robert.

? To finish things off, here’s a fun video of some mountain bikers in Scotland coming upon King Charles who was out for a walk.

Cycling on TV ?

Saturday September 30th

Giro dell’Emilia
GCN+ (08:00-10:30 ET/13:00-15:30 BST/22:00-00:30 AEST)

Le Tour de Langkawi – Stage 8
GCN+ (02:45-04:15 ET/07:45-09:15 BST/16:45-18:15 AEST)

CRO Race – Stage 5
GCN+ (07:00-09:00 ET/12:00-14:00 BST/21:00-23:00 AEST)

Mountain bike

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – Downhill Elite Women’s Semi-Final
GCN+ (10:30-11:15 ET/15:30-16:15 BST/00:30-01:15 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – Downhill Elite Men’s Semi-Final
GCN+ (11:15-12:45 ET/16:15-17:45 BST/01:15-02:45 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – Downhill Elite Women’s Final
GCN+ (12:45-13:50 ET/17:45-18:50 BST/02:45-03:50 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – Downhill Elite Men’s Final
GCN+ (13:50-16:00 ET/18:50-21:00 BST/03:50-06:00 AEST)


USCX Baltimore – UCI C1 Cyclocross – Elite Women, Day 1
GCN+ (14:30-15:38 ET/19:30-20:38 BST/04:30-05:38 AEST)

USCX Baltimore – UCI C1 Cyclocross – Elite Men, Day 1
GCN+ (15:38-16:56 ET/20:38-21:56 BST/05:38-06:56 AEST)

Sunday October 1st

CRO Race – Stage 6
GCN+ (07:00-09:00 ET/12:00-14:00 BST/21:00-23:00 AEST)

Famenne Ardenne Classic
GCN+ (08:30-11:10 ET/13:30-16:10 BST/22:30-01:10 AEST)

UEC Gravel European Championships – Men’s and Women’s
GCN+ (08:45-11:15 ET/13:45-16:15 BST/22:45-01:15 AEST)

Tour de Vendée
GCN+ (09:15-11:15 ET/14:15-16:15 BST/23:15-01:15 AEST)

Mountain bike

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – XCO U23 Men
GCN+ (08:55-10:25 ET/13:55-15:25 BST/22:55-00:25 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – XCO U23 Women
GCN+ (10:55-12:30 ET/15:55-17:30 BST/00:55-02:30 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – XCO Elite Women
GCN+ (12:30-14:50 ET/17:30-19:50 BST/02:30-04:50 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – XCO Elite Men
GCN+ (15:00-17:00 ET/20:00-22:00 BST/05:00-07:00 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – Downhill Elite Men’s Semi-Final
GCN+ (11:15-12:45 ET/16:15-17:45 BST/01:15-02:45 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – Downhill Elite Women’s Final
GCN+ (12:45-13:50 ET/17:45-18:50 BST/02:45-03:50 AEST)

UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – Downhill Elite Men’s Final
GCN+ (13:50-16:00 ET/18:50-21:00 BST/03:50-06:00 AEST)


USCX Baltimore – UCI C1 Cyclocross – Elite Women, Day 2
GCN+ (14:30-15:38 ET/19:30-20:38 BST/04:30-05:38 AEST)

USCX Baltimore – UCI C1 Cyclocross – Elite Men, Day 2
GCN+ (15:38-17:00 ET/20:38-22:00 BST/05:38-07:00 AEST)

Monday October 2nd

Coppa Bernocchi
GCN+ (07:50-09:30 ET/12:50-14:30 BST/21:50-23:30 AEST)

? Geraint Thomas isn’t allowed to be funny quote the week ?

At the start of this week, when the merger news hadn’t quite kicked into overdrive, Geraint Thomas took the opportunity to stir the pot a bit, with some clearly tongue-in-cheek comments about the potential coming together of Soudal Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma.

“The one thing I would say is Remco hates Jumbo and Jumbo hates Remco, so that’s not going to work is it? Unless they do different programmes. You should hear what Roglič says about Remco. Not trying to start any rumours, just saying like.”

Maybe Thomas’ delivery was too dry, or maybe he just gets his jimmies from having his jokes being taking at face value and reportedly very seriously by cycling media. Let’s hope this is the start of an escalation, where Thomas just says more and more outrageous things to see how far he can push it until various outlets cotton on to the fact HE IS JUST HAVING A LAUGH WITH IT.

And finally …

In a week where Apple CEO Tim Cook met up with Jumbo-Visma and Amazon were unveiled as one of the Dutch team’s new partners, Elon Musk decided it was time he also figured out what a bike is, with limited success.

? Send us yer laundry pics ?

“I’ve been riding in the Basque Country for a few weeks, and this fantastic fully automatic laundromat actually accepts credit cards, no more hunting for coins!” writes Richard Siegel, who has kindly provided today’s laundromat image.

“All the doors are open and ready for you to fill with Jumbo Soudal Visma Quick Step riders, to your hearts content.”

Thank you Richard, especially for the open doors.

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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