Spin Cycle: Mystery solved

We had a funeral for a head sock.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 05.04.2024 Photography by
Matthew Seale, Geoff Liu, 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.

As I write this I’m sitting in the one good coffee shop in Kortrijk having just watched Visma-Lease a Bike’s Julien Vermote eat a slice of chocolate cake and then spill the last of his coffee over his black jeans.

It was a brief moment of largely insignificant jeopardy after a 24 hours that will leave its mark on the 2024 season, after Jonas Vingegaard, Remco Evenepoel, and Primož Roglič, amongst others, were involved in a terrible, race-neutralising crash at the Tour of the Basque Country.

It provided weight to ASO’s decision to add a chicane into the men’s Paris-Roubaix before the Arenberg cobbled sector as the race organiser tries to limit crashes at the request of riders.

Crashes aren’t fun; bike racing is.

The Basque injury report

The scenes from the Basque Country crash were awful, and a day later, the severity of the injuries to some of the biggest names in the sport has become clearer:

Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike): Broken collarbone, several broken ribs, pulmonary contusion (injury to the lung), pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep): Fractured right collarbone, fractured right scapula (shoulder blade). 

Primož Roglič: (Bora-Hansgrohe) Somehow escaped without fractures but still abandoned.

Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates): Cervical fracture, two thoracic spine vertebral body fractures.

Natnael Tesfatsion (Lidl-Trek): Contusions and abrasions to his right side.

Sean Quinn (EF Education EasyPost): Concussion and sternum fracture.

The stage was neutralised while medical staff attended to those who crashed.

Obviously bike racing safety needs to improve but at what point will things actually change rather than everyone just asking for them to? Like most things in the sport, the buck probably stops with the UCI.

They should also do something about the gratuitous televising of post-crash scenes. OK, maybe it helps highlight the danger of the sport, and will increase the likelihood that something is done. But also: friends and families of riders have said replays provided little actual information and a whole lot of worry when their loved ones are involved.

The Marion mystery is solved

A further twist, or rather context and explanation, in the Désolé Marion Flanders sign investigation, that everyone apart from us has likely moved on from by now.

A likely theory from Escape Collective member JulesAlain who is currently with us at the Spring Classics summit is that the Marion mentioned is French TV commentator Marion Rousse.

“For me there’s little doubt that the cardboard Marion is actually Marion Rousse,” he proposed in the comments of Monday’s Spin Cycle. “Over the years we saw many signs making love declarations or wedding proposals to her, so it seem to be going in the same direction.

“Except here, the guy who made the sign probably did it after his soon-to-be wife complained that he was spending too much time listening to Marion. After all she’s now the main voice of French racing on TV.”

A considered and likely theory. The obsession with Rousse from roadside fans is maybe a bit icky, but either way it’s good to be able to close this obviously very significant chapter of the 2024 Spring Classics.

Further slamming the book shut is this photo taken by another Escape Collective member, Geoff Liu, (also at the summit) who en route to De Ronde last Sunday spotted the Désolé Marion sign being created at the train station beforehand!

Interestingly, if you look under the author’s elbow, you can see the date written is September 10, but when the sign was shown on television it read September 7, with what now can be seen as some doodling to remove the 0 from the 10.

Did the man get the date of his own wedding wrong?! It certainly looks like it. Carine is a lucky woman …

Feed Zone 🥖

👋 Michael Rogers has left his role as head of innovation and e-sport at the UCI.

🇮🇹 The Giro d’Italia is still a “serious option” for Wout van Aert according to sources who spoke to Het Laatste Nieuws, with the Belgian recording a one-hour walk on Strava to show the first literal steps of his recovery.

🇮🇲 Having been forced to skip Scheldeprijs after a recent bout of illness, Mark Cavendish will return to racing at the Tour of Turkey (April 21-28).

🐂 Having been diagnosed with Lyme disease, Arnaud De Lie will also return to the peloton at the end of April, Lotto Dstny boss Stéphane Heulot told RTBF.

⚽ Visma-Lease a Bike sports director Merijn Zeeman will leave the team at the end of the season to take up a job as general manager of Dutch football team AZ Alkmaar.

👓 After being forced out of Paris-Nice following a crash, David Gaudu has now also abandoned the Tour of the Basque Country following a fall that caused an injury to his hand severe enough to require surgery.

✅ Peter Sagan has been given the green light to cycle again following a second operation on his heart.

💨 Lorena Wiebes and Tim Merlier were the winners at Wednesday’s Scheldeprijs.

😡 Lennard Kämna is awake, responsive and in a stable condition but suffered serious injuries after a car turned left into him on Tenerife while the German was out on a training ride with his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates.

🇨🇭 The future of the women’s Tour de Suisse is in doubt beyond the 2024 edition as it can’t currently find a sponsor to plug gaps in the budget, the race’s organiser told NZZ. Another alternative is to make the race shorter, which would mean losing WorldTour status.

🇳🇿 21-year-old revelation Laurence Pithie is set to swap Groupama-FDJ for Bora-Hansgrohe next year, GCN reports.

📋 Matej Mohorič will skip Paris-Roubaix following his crash at the Tour of Flanders. Meanwhile, Christophe Laporte will feature in Visma-Lease a Bike’s Roubaix line-up, but Matteo Jorgenson will not, due to “not being 100% fit”.

Cycling on TV 📺

Saturday April 6

Paris-Roubaix – Women
(09:00-12:00 ET/14:00-17:00 BST/00:00-03:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Peacock, 🇦🇺SBS, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Itzulia Basque Country – Stage 6
(09:00-11:45 ET/14:00-16:45 BST/00:00-02:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Peacock, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Sunday April 7

Paris-Roubaix – Men
(04:30-11:45 ET/09:30-16:45 BST/18:30-01:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇦🇺SBS, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Monday April 8

No live racing …

RIP head sock, we hardly new thee: July 1 2022 – April 1 2024.

For 640 days, the Specialized head sock kept necks warmer during chillier time trials, and probably harmed the mental health of cycling fans with a penchant for any semblance of aesthetics.

But no longer! The head sock is officially banned after one final outing at the Tour of the Basque Country time trial (which we covered on Monday).

But there was a twist in the tale, as while Primož Roglič sported it for one final hurrah, Remco Evenepoel wasn’t wearing his, and railed against the confusion of the specific ban date, saying he’d received an email stating the ban came into effect on the day of the time trial, while a UCI statement said the next day, April 2, was the death day of the head sock.

Either way, this was a ridiculous era of cycling tech, which being a deeply unserious, un-tech space, we enjoyed very much. So long, head sock, and thanks for all the clicks.

And finally …

The Koppenberg at the 2024 Tour of Flanders, but make it Thailand.

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

Thanks to Matthew Seale for today’s laundromat photo, sent to me in person on the ground at Scheldeprijs, which was a first for obtaining laundry images. Matthew is also on our Spring Classics member summit, which has been a lot of fun.

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 Geoff Liu and JulesAlain 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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