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.
Being as even tangentially involved in the news business as we are here at Spin Cycle, we do have a vested interest in interesting things happening in the world.
So when quotes appear of Patrick Lefevere accusing Mauro Schmid of taking a holiday to Vegas in lieu of training, our pulse starts racing and we are even more excited to write Monday’s newsletter. Then, as if an imagined Zach Galifianakis-esque weekend for Mauro Schmid wasn’t enough, news breaks that there are rumours of a Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step merger? Honestly, we needed a lie down.
Maybe our memory is short, but it feels we are in the midst of a real sweet spot for cycling-based drama? Maybe in years to come, cycling fans will be asked how often they think of the rumoured Jumbo-Soudal-Visma-Quick-Step Empire, and they will reply to the shock of their partners a figure much higher than expected.
A Schmidge of a visit to Sin City
Finally, Patrick Lefevere is back on his BS, namely spouting off in his weekly column for Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
The Soudal Quick-Step manager opens up with some kind and measured words for Tim Declerq, the faithful domestique who is moving on to Lidl-Trek for more money than Lefevere was willing to offer him. Fair play, says the Belgian boss. Get your bread, Tim Declerq.
For Rémi Cavagna, however, who is supposedly off to Movistar to take on more of a leadership role in the cobbled Classics, Lefevere is less charitable: “I don’t want to say anything bad about Rémi who has been a very valuable force,” Lefevere says, as only people who are about to say something bad about someone say, “but cobblestone Classics with his skills? I don’t see it right away.”
But his true ire is reserved for Mauro Schmid, who is moving on to Jayco-AlUla next year.
“After the World Championships in Glasgow he disappeared from the radar,” Lefevere claims of Schmid. “When trainer Koen Pelgrim asked why his data had not been loaded into our training program, he said that his Garmin was broken. It later turned out that he had been on a trip to Las Vegas in six days.”
No matter the type of employment you’re in, sacking off your job to go and party in Vegas is scandalous. And completely badass. Mauro Schmid, we salute you. No quiet quitting here as you await your new role shilling for a Saudi Arabian tourist destination; instead, you are outside the Bellagio, watching the water fountain show again and again and again, laughing that you’ve managed to pull one over on big bad Paddy Lef.
That was our assumption, anyway, but wait. Mauro Schmid has tweeted. He’s tweeted a Strava link, with no accompanying blurb, showing a three-hour, 94 km ride out west from Las Vegas into the mountains.
It’s a great clapback for a couple of reasons. 1) It proves Lefevere wrong in his assumption that Schmid had just sacked off any semblance of professionalism as his contract wound down and 2) it doesn’t deny that he potentially had the wildest week of his life in Sin City.
At the European Championships on the weekend of Lefevere’s column, Wielerflits managed to catch Schmid and ask about Lefevere’s accusations.
“I was a bit surprised,” Schmid answered.
“My Garmin has never been broken and I never said so. What is true is that I missed two training sessions there because my bike was a bit late. That wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t like I didn’t train at all.”
“Maybe there was some miscommunication between people. I don’t want to say he’s lying, maybe he just didn’t know. It does give me motivation for the European Championships. I want to show that I am still in good shape and still have motivation. I want to make the best of the rest of the season, including next week’s Italian races.”
We never paid Mauro Schmid that much attention previously, but we’ll be keeping an eye on him from now on (and we assume Jayco-AlUla will too).
More misery for Miguel Ángel López
A not very nice story: Miguel Ángel López has been kidnapped and robbed of a Ford van, his phone and 800,000 Colombian pesos ($203). At first, the story seemed a whole lot worse as initial headlines reporting the incident used the currency sign for Colombian pesos, which is also $, but with readers obviously assuming he’d lost the sum in American dollars.
Last Thursday, three men held up the Colombian cyclist at his farm in Pesca, Boyacá, for three hours. At 10.30pm, López went to his local police station to report the incident.
“We send our solidarity to our rider Miguel Angel López, who, in the last few hours, was the victim of a robbery,” his Team Medellín EPM wrote in a statement released on social media.
“We invite Colombians to come together around our idol and give him all the support he needs at this time. We are with you, champion.”
The Colombian team offered López a spot after being dropped by Astana-Qazaqstan at the end of 2022 for his links to the investigation surrounding Spanish doctor Marcos Maynar, and in July this year he was provisionally suspended for an Anti-Doping Rule Violation for “use and possession of a prohibited substance in the weeks prior to the Giro d’Italia 2022.”
Of course, López’s nickname of ‘Superman’ comes from the time when as a young rider, he managed to fend off knife-wielding thieves who tried to steal his bike during a training ride.
Considering that after three hours the criminals only came away with his truck, phone and $203, it would appear he’s still not to be messed with.
Oh, 2023 season, you are the gift that keeps on giving.
The cycling world went into borderline meltdown on Sunday evening, when veteran cycling journalist Raymond Kerckhoffs reported via Wielerflits that Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step may be preparing a merger between the two esteemed squads.
We will save the serious analysis for a serious piece on our website, but here’s a list of non-serious things we are looking forward to in no particular order:
- Patrick Lefevere’s Het Nieuwsblad column next weekend.
- The next two months of Belgian media madness (it’s already begun).
- How many other riders also now decide to take a
holidaytraining camp to Las Vegas.
- If the merger goes ahead:
– Richard Plugge co-writing future Het Nieuwsblad columns with Lefevere (he used to be a journalist after all!)
– One of those columns being a debate piece titled “Alcohol: Poison or Pleasure” where known oenophile Lefevere gets increasingly angry at Plugge telling him he can’t enjoy a glass of wine in the evening anymore as per their merger agreement.
– Plugge eventually tiring of Lefevere using the media to achieve … whatever it is he tries to achieve with his articles, and tries to ban him from writing them.
– Julian Alaphilippe enjoying whatever marginal gain Jumbo-Visma have been the first to unlock and storming back into world-beating form.
– The team maybe being called Jumbo-Soudal-Visma-Quick-Step (if the merger happens in 2024, which is unlikely).
– The 2024 Vuelta a España having a top four consisting of entirely Jumbo-Soudal-Visma-Quick-Step riders as Remco Evenepoel joins the fray and the intra-team rivalry reaches an unprecedented new height.
– This super-super-team’s dominance being used as an argument for more sportswashing in cycling.
– Wout van Aert wearing Safety Joggers.
Feed Zone 🥖
🤝 Oliver Naesen has re-signed at Ag2r Citroën for two more years but has said he will work more as a helper than team leader going forward.
🧳 The next stage of Annemiek van Vleuten’s career has begun, she will line up at the UCI Gravel World Championships next month.
🧮 Jasper Philipsen took his 14th victory of the season at Paris-Chauny.
🚵 Tom Pidcock has recovered from the saddle sores that forced him out of the Tour of Britain and the reigning World XCO Champion will contest the next two mountain bike World Cup rounds in Snowshoe, USA (27 September – 1 October) and Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada (5-8 October).
👬 Mathieu van der Poel is done with road racing for the year, cancelling a planned participation at Circuit Franco-Belge (September 28) and Paris Tours (October 8) to instead “take time to do fun things at home with friends.” He is also not sure if he will contest both the road and mountain bike races at next year’s Olympics. He finished 24th at this last weekend’s test event of the Paris XCO course.
🇱🇺 Victor Campenaerts won his first time trial since 2019 at the Tour de Luxembourg, which saw Ben Healy lose his leader’s jersey to Marc Hirschi, who won the GC. His UAE Team Emirates teammate Brandon McNulty was second overall after a strong TT performance with Healy third – the top three separated by only five seconds.
Cycling on TV 📺
Tuesday September 26th
Le Tour de Langkawi – Stage 4
GCN+ (00:15-01:45 ET/05:15-06:45 BST/14:15-15:45 AEST)
CRO Race – Stage 1
GCN+ (09:00-11:00 ET/14:00-16:00 BST/23:00-01:00 AEST)
Wednesday September 27th
Le Tour de Langkawi – Stage 5
GCN+ (00:30-02:00 ET/05:30-07:00 BST/14:30-16:00 AEST)
CRO Race – Stage 2
GCN+ (09:00-11:00 ET/14:00-16:00 BST/23:00-01:00 AEST)
Thursday September 28th
Le Tour de Langkawi – Stage 6
GCN+ (01:05-02:35 ET/06:05-07:35 BST/15:05-16:35 AEST)
CRO Race – Stage 3
GCN+ (08:45-10:45 ET/13:45-15:45 BST/22:45-00:45 AEST)
GCN+ (09:00-12:00 ET/14:00-17:00 BST/23:00-02:00 AEST)
GCN+ (09:15-12:00 ET/14:15-17:00 BST/23:15-02:00 AEST)
Friday September 29th
Le Tour de Langkawi – Stage 7
GCN+ (22:45-00:15 ET/03:45-05:15 BST/12:45-14:15 AEST)
CRO Race – Stage 4
GCN+ (09:00-11:00 ET/14:00-16:00 BST/23:00-01:00 AEST
UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – Downhill Junior Women
GCN+ (12:40-13:10 ET/17:40-18:10 BST/02:40-03:10 AEST)
UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – Downhill Junior Men
GCN+ (13:10-14:15 ET/18:10-19:15 BST/03:10-04:15 AEST)
UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – XCC Women
GCN+ (16:15-17:00 ET/21:15-22:00 BST/06:15-07:00 AEST)
UCI MTB World Cup, Snowshoe – XCC Men
GCN+ (17:00-18:00 ET/22:00-23:00 BST/07:00-08:00 AEST)
🚨 Best dad of the week 🚨
Cycling loves comeback stories, people who make it to the top against the odds. So, step forward Henrik Pedersen, the 18-year-old Dane who won the U23 European Road Race Championships at the weekend and dedicated the victory to his father for saving him from a life of pouring 80,000 hours into Fortnite or Grand Theft Auto.
“I come from a small village about thirty kilometers south of Herning,” he told Wielerflits following his victory. “I stopped playing football at some point and then I got addicted to gaming. My father forced me to start cycling at one point. He didn’t want me to be so bored, get fat and just sit in front of the computer. After I got on the racing bike for the first time, it clicked. I kept at it and now look: here I am in this beautiful jersey!”
And finally …
As the future of his cycling career remains unclear, it’s good to know that Chris Froome’s dedication to his contract extends to making sure there are eyeballs on his team and sponsors even when he’s not racing on the biggest stages. Maybe his inextinguishable pleasant demeanour is because his purported Israel – Premier Tech salary means he can buy one of the Bentleys he is mocking every couple of weeks.
Corrections corner 😖
Thanks to the literal dozens of you who let us know we incorrectly stated that Paris-Roubaix is run by the Flanders Classics organisation when, of course, it’s actually owned by the French behemoth ASO. We have never felt shame like it and a full inquiry has been launched.
🧺 Send us yer laundry pics 🧺
“Attached is a photo of a laundromat/bakery in Hazelton, BC (the bakery is found through the door at the back of the laundromat),” William Jackson writes, attaching today’s featured laundromat picture.
“It might be a peculiarity of Northern or rural BC to combine laundromat’s with other businesses, as I also noticed (and unfortunately did not get a picture of) a laundromat/car wash in Smithers, BC. I did not try the laundromat, but the bakery was actually quite good.”
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@example.com
Until next time …
That’s all folks! 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?