The Spin Cycle is the 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! The Escape Collective’s news digest.
That’s it. The Spring Classics are over for another season. Remco Evenepoel spared his Soudal Quick-Step teammates the full wrath of Patrick Lefevere for another year, Demi Vollering completed an Ardennes triple and it looks like Tadej Pogačar is going to be okay. Meanwhile, people got cross about shorts and one of the more interesting aspects of the Liège weekend was the riders who brought their dogs along to watch.
It’s been a great couple of months of racing and now we have the Grand Tours to look forward to. But elsewhere, walking through swinging saloon doors clad in the brownest of brown shorts, Alejandro Valverde plies his new trade as a gravel racer. It’s a weird old world.
D’ya like dags?
Cute dogs are amongst the lowest common denominator of online content, and this little newsletter, despite its many foibles, would always want to hold itself to at least middling standards and not rely on such bankable fodder to fill these digital pages. But in the often cold and cruel world of professional cycling, the warmth and trust provided by a canine friend is a very refreshing addition. Plus, we have to admit that these ones are [adopts Instagram voice] the goodest boys.
That’s particularly true at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a race that could do with an injection of love and feeling, so the inclusion of the pets of two riders who made the podium was a welcome inclusion to the day’s (sort of but not really) spectacle.
First up we had Saturday’s victor Demi Vollering, whose dog is no stranger to bike riding, congratulating her at the finish after securing an Ardennes triple.
Then, as you’ve already likely clicked and seen above, Tom Pidcock was congratulated/consoled on his decent second place finish on Sunday by his pup. Our sympathy for the Ineos press officer Hannah Troop in the background of the video, who now not only has eight professional riders to herd around a bike race, but can also now add a distracting dog to the uncontrollable externalities that make her day job just that little bit more difficult. If Filippo Ganna gets a goldfish he insists on bringing on the bus with him then that could be the final straw.
A lesson in blocking out the haters
There’s nothing like knowing you have a bike race that will be watched by millions of people, knowing it’s going to rain, and still going for white shorts. It’s simply a huge power move to put everything, um, on display like that.
We’ll maybe never know how much of a psychological advantage such sartorial selections could give any rider going up against Tadej Pogačar, but for Remco Evenepoel the result is clear. And what’s more, while fans of course were divided in their opinions on the white shorts, the Belgian world champion reports that he only received compliments from within the peloton.
“For such a beautiful race, I think you can also do something special,” Evenepoel told the Liège press conference after his victory. “In the peloton I only received positive comments from the other riders. No one contradicted my choice, so it seemed that the combination of the rainbow jersey and the white shorts was liked by everyone. And, it also brought good luck. It was a good feeling to ride all white. It’s a bit special, but I like that. Will I be seen more often with white shorts? Haha, you can see when I put those shorts on again.” In other words, when he rocks up in white shorts – put your house on an Evenepoel victory.
It seems, however, that for the winner’s podium a fresh pair of white shorts hadn’t been prepared, and so it was back to black. Every person’s confidence has limits.
Not wanting to be outdone, and continuing his growing orbit of professional cycling, Alejandro Valverde won his first gravel race and appeared on the podium in brown shorts. All in all, an absolutely huge weekend for shorts discourse.
Yet while the likes of Evenepoel and Valverde were content with their decisions and didn’t care for other peoples’ opinions, the same cannot be said for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, who went on a bit of a Twitter blocking spree this weekend. Those blocked believe that they were banned from viewing any official LBL tweets due to airing mild criticism of the race. For those who had La Doyenne down on their bingo cards as the most despotic of the Monuments, congratulations.
Feed Zone 🥖
🏔️ The Tour de Romandie begins on Tuesday, and will see the Yates brothers go head-to-head as two of the top favourites, hopefully with a side of Romain Bardet chucked in for good measure. Other big names on the start line include Chris Froome, Egan Bernal, Mark Cavendish and Thibaut Pinot.
😬 Following a positive Covid-19 test, Giulio Ciccone’s Giro d’Italia (and at least one throw of a pair of sunglasses into the crowd) is in danger.
🤝 Marlen Reusser has extended her contract with SD Worx until the end of 2024.
🦦 Keegan Swenson and Sofia Gomez Villafane won their respective Fuego XL 100km titles at the Sea Otter Classic.
Pog recovery to take six weeks
Further details have emerged of Tadej Pogačar’s injuries from his Liège crash. Having been transported immediately to hospital and undergoing surgery basically before anyone could ask how this could potentially impact his Tour de France preparation, the answer has been revealed: hopefully not too much.
“Tadej had a comminuted scaphoid fracture which required a small screw to realign the bone fragments. The procedure was successful and he will begin his recovery period at home,” UAE Team Emirates’ medical director, Dr.Adrian Rotunno, explained. (A comminuted fracture is a bone that is broken in more than one place.)
“Due to the nature of the injury, it’s approximately 6 weeks recovery. Though he will start with immediate rehab, and some training on an indoor trainer in the coming days.”
Not only has Pog already done some doodles on his cast and promised Evenepoel a rematch at a later date, but he had the time and temperament to pose for a nice photo with the surgeon who performed the operation.
🚨 Humblebrag of the week 🚨
“Sometimes I feel sorry, because my racing bike must be able to withstand serious power surges so often.”
It can be difficult for professional riders to not be self-centred sometimes, when so much of their lives revolve around maintaining and optimising their condition to be able to perform at the best of their abilities. However, the Stavanger Stallion Alexander Kristoff has found the mental bandwidth to feel sympathy for his bike, because of how hard he rides it.
Cycling on TV (all times CET) 📺
• Tour de Romandie, Prologue (2.30pm-16.50pm)
• Tour de Romandie, Stage 1 (2.30pm-16.50pm)
• Tour de Romandie, Stage 2 (2.30pm-16.50pm)
• Tour de Romandie, Stage 3 (2.30pm-16.50pm)
And finally …
In the UK over the weekend, the Government tested out a new emergency system whereby the general public will receive potentially life-saving warnings on their mobile phones. The test involved most phones emitting a beeping sound and a warning message flashing up at 3pm on Sunday, just as the men’s edition of Liège was kicking off.
Many will be relieved that GCN/Eurosport commentator Adam Blythe’s phone received the alert, hopefully safeguarding his wellbeing for years to come. How do we know that? We heard it on air.
Corrections corner 🖋️😔
- By adding an extra day to the Tour of the Alps and making Friday’s TV guide incorrect, we managed to wreck the one genuinely useful part of this newsletter. Sorry about that.
Primes (for helpful members) 🏆
- Thank you to Stefan Hartwig for sending in a photo of his washing machines for use in today’s title image. If you want YOUR laundry room seen by thousands of people then send in a (landscape) photo. He also claims the runner-up spot to Alexander Kristoff in the humblebrag of the week competition by providing visual evidence that he has not one but TWO washing machines. What a life.
Until next time …
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