Spin Cycle: My Garmin says I won

The Spirit of Exercising Real Good.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 10.10.2023 Photography by
@nmuley, Cor Vos, the Archbishop of Banterbury, Wout van Aert
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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.

As warned, this edition is arriving a day late, but that means we’re in and amongst the Tour of Guangxi while still having an internet connection, phew!

We’re still trying to figure out what time of day it is, so considering the riders only arrive in the coastal city of Beihai on Tuesday with the race beginning on Thursday, they don’t have long to get their heads straight. These jet-lagged final six days of WorldTour racing in 2023 are therefore a fitting way to draw an end to a season that has been full to the brim with action and has left all of us with the profound need for a lie down. As always, though, some people have had other ideas …

Ahmet Örken rides at the 2017 Tour of Turkiye. He's off the front wearing a red-and-white Turkiye national team jersey.

Handbags at dawn in Turkey

Another end-of-season jaunt to round out the year is the Presidential Tour of Turkey, where the race jury threw one of the best Turkish riders off the race on just stage 2.

Ahmet Örken currently rides for the Continental Spor Toto Cycling Team and has won the Turkish national time trial championships nine times, but the 30-year-old can now also add to his palmarès the less-celebrated achievement of being chucked off a race for punching another rider.

Thankfully, Örken logged into Twitter and gave us his version of events.

“During the race, an athlete punched me in the stomach because I didn’t want to give way, and I responded reflexively. However, since the athlete who made the first move is part of a professional Continental team, my statements had no effect,” Örken claims.

“I am guilty of the action, but I am very sorry that no punishment was given to the other athlete. This is the first time I’m leaving the Tour of Turkey, which I’ve been attending for many years. So sad! I apologize to everyone. I wish success to my teammates.”

Wahhh van Aert

Wout van Aert has taken stock of his 2023 season, lamenting his numerous second places and lack of truly sizeable victories, telling Het Nieuwsblad: “This is obviously not my best season ever, but it is also far from bad. It is mediocre.” A fair reading of his personal results sheet this year where he picked up ‘only’ five victories.

“Maybe it is normal for once that things did not always go from highlight to highlight and that there is a year in between when things get a little more difficult.”

A measured, mature response from the superstar rider. However, then came the UCI Gravel World Championships and maybe we should just blame the Spirit of Gravel for this, but Van Aert’s response to coming eighth place was hardly … sporting, shall we say.

Matej Mohorič won the gravel rainbow jersey in Italy, with a time of 4:53:57, while Van Aert was 8:22 back.

But the Belgian’s Garmin shows his moving time of 4:51:35, more than two minutes faster than Mohorič, had Van Aert not been hampered by a crash, flat tire, and a collapsed saddle. If we compare the difference between his own recorded moving time and his official race result, Van Aert was held up for around 10 minutes.

A blurry photo of Wout van Aert's Garmin screen from World Gravel Championships, showing a moving time of 4:51:35, faster than winner Matej Mohorič's winning time.

“Zoek de fout,” was the phrase Van Aert used on his Instagram story the next slide over from the photo evidence of his gravel ride, which translates to ‘find the error,’ although sounds like much more industrial language if you ask us …

And while we feel for Van Aert’s misfortune, come on man! It’s bike racing! Isn’t this what gravel is supposed to be all about?!

It’s got a lot of the ‘if my grandmother had wheels she would have been a bike’ philosophy from British TV favourite Gino D’Acampo.

Also great to see full-time gravel pro Keegan Swenson getting a top five result amongst the WorldTour stars, in the upper echelons of the fastest finishers. If only he’d found that tiny bit extra to finish ahead of Alejandro Valverde, who was fourth but on the same time, then this newsletter would have written itself.


On balance, it was welcome news when it came through on Friday that the Jumbo-Visma Soudal Quick-Step takeover was off. Not only are a bunch more people not out of a job at such short notice, but it was too much chaos, even for cycling, to have enter this delicate ecosystem.

While our Joe Lindsey has helpfully written up a timeline of the debacle from start to finish, this isn’t the end of it, right? Are the various instigators just biding their time before going again at a more contractually convenient time? Will Jumbo-Visma, who now have a ticking clock as they look for money to keep them going into 2025, return to that rumoured Saudi Arabia deal? And what will happen to Remco Evenepoel? Sure, he said after Il Lombardia that he would be staying with Soudal Quick-Step after all, but for how long?

The good news is the way things have been recently, with how enigmatic Jumbo-Visma have become, the next mad story is only just around the corner.

How long will the feifdom of the sickly boy prince (Jonas Vingegaard) stand after ‘King’ (Richard Plugge’s words, not ours) Primož Roglič has bolted and administrative problems cloud the jubilant mood of 2023? How will things shake down with the rightfully aggrieved Soudal Quick-Step employees after the rug was nearly pulled from under them?

It does feel like a Pandora’s Box has been opened and the effects of the Kuss/merger chaos of the past month will take its toll somewhere down the line. Increasingly, it seems more of a when rather than an if.

And just when you thought silly season was over, we heard rumours on Friday of two other WorldTour teams who were potentially looking to merge. We’re trying in vain to do some digging but haven’t turned up much yet. Just know that the off-season is potentially becoming as non-stop as the racing season is these days.

Feed Zone ?

? Not only did Thibaut Pinot bid farewell to the professional peloton at Il Lombardia, but so did Imanol Erviti, the Movistar man who turned pro in 2005. We’ll have an Andy McGrath piece this week on Erviti’s quiet goodbye.

? Lotto Dstny and Israel-PremierTech have finished first and second in the 2023 ProTeam rankings, giving them wildcards for all WorldTour races next year. Meanwhile, Uno-X have edged out TotalEnergies for third, meaning they will get wildcard invites to all WorldTour one-day races in 2024.

? Tadej Pogačar told VTM after the finish line of Il Lombardia that he used an anti-cramp drink from a small bottle given to him by the team car to keep his cramps at bay in the final 10 km before the line.

? A nasty way to the end the season for Sjoerd Bax: the UAE Team Emirates rider crashed at Lombardia and suffered a fracture to his upper thigh.

? At the age of 47, Óscar Sevilla has somehow still got it, beating Israel-PremierTech’s Sebastian Berwick by just one second to claim the overall classification at the Tour of Hainan.

?? Route details of the 2024 Giro d’Italia are emerging, with stage 1 heading from Venaria Reale to Turin via the Superga climb. The second stage will have an uphill finish on the first category Oropa, before a day for the sprinters who are better with a bit of a drag as the race heads from Novara to Fossano.

?? There will be no Tropicale Amissa Bongo in 2024 due to the recent political unrest in Gabon.

? Tim Declerq has officially joined Lidl-Trek until 2025. It is Tractorcito season after all.

Cycling on TV ?

Wednesday October 11th

Tour of Turkey – Stage 4
GCN+ (06:30-08:30 ET/11:30-13:30 BST/21:30-23:30 AEST)

Giro del Veneto
GCN+ (09:10-10:50 ET/14:10-15:50 BST/00:10-01:50 AEST)

Thursday October 12th

Gree Tour of Guangxi – Stage 1
GCN+ (01:00-02:30 ET/06:00-07:30 BST/16:00-17:30 AEST)

Tour of Chongming Island – Stage 1
GCN+ (02:00-04:00 ET/07:00-09:00 BST/17:00-19:00 AEST)

Tour of Turkey – Stage 5
GCN+ (08:00-10:00 ET/13:00-15:00 BST/23:00-01:00 AEST)

Friday October 13th

Gree Tour of Guangxi – Stage 2
GCN+ (01:00-02:30 ET/06:00-07:30 BST/16:00-17:30 AEST)

Tour of Chongming Island – Stage 2
GCN+ (02:00-04:00 ET/07:00-09:00 BST/17:00-19:00 AEST)

Tour of Turkey – Stage 6
GCN+ (08:00-10:00 ET/13:00-15:00 BST/23:00-01:00 AEST)

? Medium-to-large dose of copium quote the week ?

I wouldn’t say that about UAE Team Emirates

As Ineos Grenadiers come to the end of another season where their spectacular budget hasn’t returned the huge wins owner Jim Ratcliffe would ideally like his funding to generate, Geraint Thomas has insisted on his Watts Occurring podcast that not only has the British team now turned a corner and is heading in the right direction, but that UAE Team Emirates have not surpassed them in the WorldTour power rankings.

“It is clear that Jumbo-Visma has passed us in the pecking order. But I wouldn’t say that about UAE Team Emirates,” Thomas said. “If you exclude Tadej Pogačar from that team, they of course still have a number of very strong riders. But look at the Vuelta, they didn’t stand out at all.”

Not only could you have said the same about a Team Sky without Chris Froome during their dominant years, but you could have pointed out that UAE Team Emirates top the team rankings in 2023 (we’re not sure how Jumbo-Visma aren’t top, but that discussion is for another time). Most importantly, UAE had TWO riders in the top 10 overall at the Vuelta, including best-of-the-non-Jumbo-riders Juan Ayuso in fourth and João Almeida in ninth. Ineos Grenadiers’ best-placed rider on GC from the race? Geraint Thomas in 31st.

And finally …

We don’t need to know the context. Sometimes it’s good to just enjoy things for what they are. (Credit to us for not making yet another Richard Plugge joke – and no, this mention absolutely does not count). Full video can be found here for those who need it.

? Send us yer laundry pics ?

“I wanted to send along a picture of a laundromat,” @nmuley messaged in on Discord. “Nothing particularly special, just one from around the neighborhood. It’s in San Francisco. I didn’t realize it was called Social Cleaning.”

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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