Spin Cycle: Parking lot crits in Tiananmen Square

Patrick Lefevere is calling in favours.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 10.05.2024 Photography by
Tim Schippelbaum, Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών, 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.

Isn’t it great to have Grand Tour racing back. Don’t know what to do with yourself at 1.30pm (BST) on a Tuesday? Just flick the Giro on, see some beautiful Italian countryside or a picturesque town, and a bit of racing to boot too if you’re lucky. Three-week stage racing is the soundtrack to summer, the sign that the dark days are over. Utter bliss.

What a variety of goodies we have this week. Tadej Pogačar has displayed some human qualities in what must be a world-first; Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting famous climbs of the Tour de France; Patrick Lefevere is on a charm offensive; and Dylan Groenewegen is doing bad things again. It’s all happening.

Groan again at Dylan’s sprint behaviour 😫

While the big story coming out of the Tour of Hungary yesterday was Mark Cavendish returning to winning ways just in the nick of time before the Tour de France (he doesn’t have another race scheduled before then and this was the final flat day in Hungary), at the start of the sprint there was a bit of an incident between Dylan Groenewegen and Sam Welsford.

You can watch below starting at about 14 seconds into the video, Groenewegen moves to the left to get on Cavendish’s wheel, but the only problem is that’s exactly where Welsford is, and the Dutchman gives him one too many nudges, and too forcefully too, with the Australian right up against the barriers – which are also about to swing right around the corner.

Welsford applies the brakes, out of contention for the day, while Groenewegen sprints to second place. Bizarrely, he got to keep that but was then given a 10-second GC penalty (like he cares) and docked 20% of his total in the points classification.

Xi what a gift, thanks so much 🎁

On his first visit to Europe since 2019, Xi Jinping’s first stop was a visit to see French President Emmanuel Macron, who, as part of the entertainment laid on for the Chinese President, took him up the Col du Tourmalet and gave him a Tour de France yellow jersey signed by Jonas Vingegaard.

We’ll be honest, we didn’t have this on our cycling/geopolitical crossover bingo card, but we’ll take it. What’s next? Xi donning the jersey, doing laps of Tiananmen Square and bringing parking lot crits to the people? That would be kind of cool …

When Jonas Vingegaard was signing his yellow jerseys for the Amaury Sport Organisation, he likely didn’t know one of them would end up in the hands of one of the most powerful people on the planet, but he’s got enough on his plate currently.

Iain Treloar alerted me (and you, if you read this article of his earlier in the week) to Jonas Vingegaard’s new home. While the outside is acceptable Scandi vibes and the surroundings look stunning, the inside is an unmitigated disaster. The spout cascading into the sort of pool Tony Soprano would yell at Anthony Junior for not cleaning, while the dining room wine cellar looks like the sort of place you could very easily get murdered in, and I’m talking here about murdering myself so as not to spend more than a second having my retinas burned by those maximum security floodlights. Imagine starving yourself to be so good at cycling you can then spend $2 million only to not eat your dinner sat at that table. Maybe we’re being very, very harsh, but it’s just how we feel. At least Jonas is out on his bike all the time.

Anyway, Xi Jinping is a massive cycling fan now, obviously. That can only be a good thing … ?

Feed Zone 🥖

🇺🇸 The 2024 Maryland Cycling Classic has been cancelled due to the Baltimore bridge collapse that’s causing major traffic with the re-routing of downtown.

📞 Emma Norsgaard (24) will leave Movistar at the end of the season, while GCN reports the Spanish team is interested in signing Marlen Reusser.

🇪🇸 Cofidis’ Hannah Ludwig won the Navarra Classic ahead of Arlenis Sierra (Movistar) and Shirin van Anrooij (Lidl-Trek).

🦺 Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has told RIDE magazine he believes clothing that offers better protection is now a necessity for the peloton.

😞 Ruben Guerreiro (29) is considering the end of his cycling career after doctors found he has two hernias caused by crashes in recent years. The Portuguese rider is currently contracted to Movistar until the end of 2025. “My cycling year and even career are currently in danger,” he told the Lusa news agency.

🇪🇨 An interesting article from Primicias, about how the Ecuadorian cycling federation allocates its sole Olympic road race slot by UCI points accrued over the first six months of the year. Currently, Jhonatan Narváez has more than defending Olympic champion Richard Carapaz. “What bothers me most is the communication with the cycling association. It is very clear that I have earned a starting spot. I don’t say that on a whim or because I am the current Olympic champion, but because almost 50% of the Ecuadorian UCI points have been won by me.”

🐂 Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Dstny) continued his return to winning ways with another victory at Circuit de Wallonie ahead of Cofidis’ Axel Zingle and 18-year-old Brit Matthew Brennan (Visma-Lease a Bike development).

↩️ The UCI U-turned on trying to ban Tadej Pogačar’s purple shorts. What a farce. Our Ronan McLaughlin has the run-down here.

Cycling on TV 📺

Saturday May 11th

Giro d’Italia – Stage 8
(06:00-11:45 ET/11:00-16:45 BST/20:00-01:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺SBS

Itzulia Basque Country Women – Stage 2
(06:30-18:00 ET/11:30-13:00 BST/20:30-22:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+

Tour of Hungary – Stage 4
(09:00-11:00 ET/14:00-16:00 BST/23:00-01:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸🇨🇦FloBikes

Tour of Finistère
(09:15-11:40 ET/14:15-16:40 BST/23:15-01:40 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max

Sunday May 12th

Giro d’Italia – Stage 9
(05:30-11:45 ET/10:30-16:45 BST/19:30-01:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺SBS

Itzulia Basque Country Women – Stage 3
(06:30-18:00 ET/11:30-13:00 BST/20:30-22:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+

Tour of Hungary – Stage 5
(09:00-11:00 ET/14:00-16:00 BST/23:00-01:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸🇨🇦FloBikes

Monday May 13th

Giro d’Italia – Stage 10
(06:30-11:45 ET/11:30-16:45 BST/20:30-01:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes, 🇦🇺SBS

Four Days of Dunkirk – Stage 1
(10:00-11:30 ET/15:00-16:30 BST/00:00-01:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max

Patrick Lefevere PR moment of the week 🍼

You’ve got to love it. After months and months of negging Julian Alaphilippe in the press, and firing his cousin Franck who was his coach, Soudal-Quick Step boss Patrick Lefevere is now on a charm offensive. The other week he was talking about how he believes Alaphilippe wants to stay with the team beyond the year and they will discuss this after the Giro, and now he’s at the side of the road very visibly handing his two-time world champion a bottle. Do we reckon he phoned ahead where he would be to make sure the cameras would definitely be on him? We wouldn’t put it past the mob boss.

In case you missed it … 🫣

Stemming from a video of Tadej Pogačar picking up a piece of focaccia pre-Giro stage, there was a great Twitter thread (a rarity these days) of how ‘Pogačar’ is a rough translation of focaccia baker. But there’s more. Roglič is an almost translation of croissant, and the name Geraint is derived from the Welsh words for old (ger) man (aint)!

We are very trusting, so if any of the translations are slightly wrong, please forgive us. It’s more fun to believe.

And finally …

Turns out Pogačar can’t do everything … and by now he really has had enough podium practice he should have this dialled.

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

“This is from a long weekend in Marseille. France‘s oldest city and its coolest also,” writes in Tim Schippelbaum, attaching today’s featured laundromat. “Exceptionally, we did not bike-pack to Marseille and didn’t even take our bikes with us. Don’t tell anybody … “

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 Schippelbaum 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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