Spin Cycle: Nothing good starts in a getaway car

Capitalist overlords, big up yourselves.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 24.05.2024 Photography by
Tim Doole, Cor Vos, Lime Bike, Tadej Pogačar
More from Jonny +

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.

The Giro d’Italia is slowing to a close, Tadej Pogačar has probably won, but it’s still been a good time … at least for those who’ve enjoyed flagging his peloton-beating performance on Strava, much to the Slovenian’s annoyance.

Elsewhere, Richard Plugge has reared his head to kick off the pre-Tour smack talk, there is a bewildering story of motor doping in France, and *deep breath* British Cycling has a new sponsor!

False flag 🚩

No-one can get near Tadej Pogačar this Giro d’Italia; that much has been clear since before the start of the race.

However, his detractors have found one way to get to him: flagging his Giro stage Strava uploads.

Flagging is a tool used to help the platform remove false or inaccurate times from coveted Strava segment leaderboards, and yes, while the Slovenian’s ability on the bike beggars belief there is video footage being beamed out live to millions of people proving it possible.

“Haters gonna flag,” was Pogačar’s Strava caption on stage 17, with an applause emoji that hinted that maybe the hijinks are getting under his skin a little bit. Maybe it’s Richard Plugge, the only thing he can think up to potentially unsettle Pogačar before next month’s Tour de France …

Tadej Pogačar's Strava post.

Nothing good starts in a getaway car 🚗

A mad story from the world of amateur cycling. On Monday, riders in the Routes de l’Oise race in France heard funny noises coming from a competitor’s bike, and at the finish line when they tried to test his bike he tried to flee the scene.

Only problem was the race’s organiser, a man called Frédéric Lenormand, attempted to stand in the way to stop him from leaving, but human vs. car resulted in Lenormand being dragged for 300 metres on the car’s bonnet (hood).

On Wednesday, both the suspected rider, Giovambattista Iera, and the man driving his getaway vehicle handed themselves into the authorities. Both were taken into custody, reports local outlet Courrier picard, and they will be tried in January for “attempted fraud and aggravated wilful violence.”

The story gets better … or more intriguing, let’s say, because Iera (53) is an actor who appeared in “The Bike of Ghislain Lambert” and is a co-owner of Italian restaurant chain Italian Trattoria.

You’ll never guess which WorldTour team Italian Trattoria currently sponsor? Noted all-round ethical guy Alexandre Vinokourov’s Astana-Qazaqstan! Honestly, who’d have thought!

Iera posting on Instagram announcing his company would be sponsoring Astana-Qazaqstan.

Feed Zone 🥖

💸 The UCI has suspended the Red Bull-sponsored Romanian mountain biker Vlad Dascălu (Trek Factory) for 17 months after he missed three doping tests in the space of one year. He was fifth at last year’s Worlds and was expected to compete for a medal at this summer’s Olympic Games. Trek has also indefinitely suspended him from all team activities. Dascalu has yet to comment publicly.

🌮 Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty) is finally able to ride again after 14 months out recovering from a serious concussion. He can cycle for 50 minutes twice a day, five days a week, telling NOS: “But I don’t really feel like a professional cyclist now, certainly not.” The 30-year-old’s contract with Intermarché-Wanty expires at the end of this season.

🫁 Ben O’Connor (Decathlon-AG2R la Mondiale) has been having trouble with his breathing, he told CyclingProNet, as he battles to hold on to his fourth overall place at the Giro d’Italia.

🇳🇴 Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) returned to racing on Thursday at the Tour of Norway, with the first stage won by Thibau Nys (Lidl-Trek). Van Aert told Sporza before the start of stage 1 that racing the Tour de France was only possible “in the very best case” scenario, whereas the Olympics was a more likely participation.

👩‍⚕️ Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) has undergone successful surgery for the various fractures she suffered in her crash at the Vuelta a Burgos.

🇰🇿 Nicolas Vinokourov (son of Alexandre) won the fifth stage of the Tour of Japan for Astana Qazaqstan.

✍️ Jhonatan Narváez will swap the Ineos Grenadiers for UAE Team Emirates next year, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

🚵 Speaking of Ineos, Tom Pidcock will race the Nové Mĕsto mountain bike World Cup this weekend, the world champion having won both short track and Olympic cross country races there last year, as he builds towards this summer’s Olympic Games.

🇺🇸 Matej Mohorič will race the Unbound Gravel 200 next weekend, alongside Bahrain Victorious teammates Matevž Govekar and Łukasz Wiśniowski. 2022’s winner, Ivar Slik, was hit by a vehicle during a training ride in Arkansas ahead of the race. He was taken to hospital unconscious and suffered a severe concussion and several fractures. He is now thankfully conscious and able to talk and move all of his body.

👀 The Criterium du Dauphiné has announced that both Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel will be on their start line.

🚨 New British Cycling sponsor alert 🚨

The much-maligned, gaffe-prone British Cycling has a new sponsor! Is it a Middle Eastern petrostate? Or Vladimir Putin? Have Jiffy decided to do the funniest thing ever and stump up some cash to go back to the source and re-write the narrative that their padded envelopes are solely the best solution for ferrying performance-enhancing drugs about?

None of the above! It’s prim and proper British bank Lloyds, who have signed up for a multi-year deal worth millions of Great British Pounds to have the bland (but maybe, probably evil?) business of banking appear slightly less bland by plastering its name all over British Cycling and the Tours of Britain.

Sure, there is a controversies tab on their Wikipedia page, but which country’s largest retail bank isn’t slightly dodgy when tasked with the relentless pursuit of planet-destroying capitalism? Hey, the big problem here is that they are my bank. I am now basically complicit. So on behalf of British Cycling and their new backers, I would like to apologise. For everything.

Look, the money I need to buy food has to go somewhere, and anyway, I was under the impression that I am just a phone call away from having one of those majestic black horses that canter across the beach in all of their adverts from turning up at my front door whenever that is what I require.

In the grand scheme of sports sponsorship, Lloyds is a pretty benign one. To be clear, Shell are still on board, who knows how long for. At least the Tours of Britain are secured for the near future. Thank you capitalist overlords for our small-to-medium bike races! I will never doubt or disparage you again!

Cycling on TV 📺

Saturday May 25th

Giro d’Italia – Stage 20
(05:30-11:45 ET/10:30-16:45 BST/19:30-01:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺SBS

RideLondon Classique – Stage 2
(08:15-10:15 ET/13:15-15:15 BST/22:15-00:15 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max

Tour of Norway – Stage 3
(09:50-12:30 ET/14:50-17:30 BST/23:50-02:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+

Boucles de la Mayenne – Stage 2
(09:10-11:10 ET/14:10-16:10 BST/23:10-01:10 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max

Mountain Bike World Cup – Elite XCC – Nové Mesto, Czech Republic
(04:00-06:30 ET/09:00-11:30 BST/18:00-20:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺Stan Sport

Mountain Bike World Cup – U23 XCC – Nové Mesto, Czech Republic
(08:25-12:15 ET/13:25-17:15 BST/22:25-02:15 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺Stan Sport

Sunday May 26th

Giro d’Italia – Stage 21
(09:15-13:30 ET/14:15-18:30 BST/23:15-03:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺SBS

RideLondon Classique – Stage 3
(10:00-13:00 ET/15:00-18:00 BST/00:00-03:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max

Tour of Norway – Stage 4
(07:20-10:00 ET/12:20-15:00 BST/21:20-00:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+

Boucles de la Mayenne – Stage 3
(09:15-11:05 ET/14:15-16:05 BST/23:15-01:05 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max

Mountain Bike World Cup – Elite Women XCO – Nové Mesto, Czech Republic
(03:45-06:05 ET/08:45-11:05 BST/17:45-20:05 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺Stan Sport

Mountain Bike World Cup – Elite Men XCO – Nové Mesto, Czech Republic
(07:30-10:00 ET/12:30-15:00 BST/21:30-00:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺Stan Sport

Monday May 27th

No live racing …

Pre-Tour fighting talk quote of the week 👊

While Richard Plugge is cagey on Jonas Vingegaard’s participation in this summer’s Tour de France, saying his two-time champion will only race if he’s 100% recovered from injury, that doesn’t mean he can’t begin talking down his rider’s competitors.

Interviewed by CyclingNews at the Giro d’Italia, where the Visma-Lease a Bike boss presumably has time on his hands with only half of his eight-man squad remaining at the race, the Dutchman, unsurprisingly, wasn’t exactly marvelling at Tadej Pogačar’s dominance in the way the rest of the cycling world is.

“I think what is missing here is an Evenepoel, Roglič, or Vingegaard to compete with,” Plugge said. “That is unfortunately the case. We will only see in the Tour what the real level is.”

That’s one way to get Pogačar even more fired up than he is already to do the double …

And finally …

In London, as the runners of the Hackney half marathon descended on East London, they clearly didn’t fancy running the other half as they commandeered every Lime bike in the capital in order to get to the start line. Imagine living on that street and waking up to this scene on a Sunday morning …

Maybe Hackney resident and Lidl-Trek rider Tao Geoghegan Hart could have used his training miles that day to redistribute the bikes evenly throughout the city?

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

“Regretting asking for these yet?” asks Tim Doole, attaching today’s featured laundrette. Never, Tim! Keep them coming all. When the apocalypse arrives I will trade my obviously very valuable vault of laundry photos for berries in order to feed my family.

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 Tim Doole 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.

Every edition of Spin Cycle is available for free on our website in order for you to be able to share it with your friends, so please do! You can give them this link to take them to our most recent edition.

And if you’ve been forwarded this email from someone else and want to receive it straight into your own inbox while it’s still hot, you can sign up here.

What did you think of this story?