Spin Cycle: Seeing Double De Gendt

More Thomas De Gendt could never be a bad thing.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 20.10.2023 Photography by
Kevin Hoon, Cor Vos, Japan Cup
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The WorldTour season is officially over! Aside from some planning and sponsorship-duty camps scheduled for the week after the Tour of Guangxi, riders will soon be letting their hair down with well-earned holidays, full access to the restaurant menu, and a beer or two.

For some the payoff was imminent as DSM-Firminech Got The Beers In about 100 metres after Guangxi’s final finish line. Sam Welsford and Andreas Leknessund, both DNS’s from the stage race, found themselves new roles in lugging around a cool box and handing out cold ones to any rider who wanted one.

Meanwhile, there is still one mystery to solve before the riders hit the beach.

Is there more than one Thomas De Gendt?

Two-mas De Gendt?

Look at the rider front and centre. That’s Thomas De Gendt, right?

Look behind him and to the left slightly. Is that not also Thomas De Gendt?

All week in China we were seeing double, and only after some careful studying did we become adjusted to figuring out which Thomas De Gendt was which. Maybe this is why they have the Thomas De Gendts in different helmets: to make them easier to tell apart.

After closer inspection (looking at their race numbers) we found out one of the Thomas De Gendts was actually 32-year-old German Michael Schwarzmann. A quick check of his Instagram confirms that in civilian clothing they don’t look anything alike, but the magic of facial hair, Lycra, and big sunnies means De Gendt has a handy body double should he decide to get up to his typical breakaway antics.

Thomas De Gendt walks to sign-in at the Tour of Guangxi. Behind him, his teammate Michael Schwarzmann looks uncannily similar, with a near-identical beard and mustache and large glasses that obscure facial details that would normally help tell the two apart.

It turns out that Guangxi was the pair’s last race together, as Schwarzmann has signed for Israel-Premier Tech next year. Maybe he got sick of getting mistaken for De Gendt. Maybe De Gendt was getting jealous of his competition in the best beard department at Lotto Dstny. Either way, we feel incredible fortunate to have been witness to one of only 11 chances to ever see a double De Gendting.

Here’s to the off-season ?

I wouldn’t say it’s often that you can vicariously enjoy someone else having a beer, but watching a professional cyclist tuck into a frothy at the end of another season of chaos, joy, sadness, and hard work is one such time.

So, at the final finish line of the WorldTour season, the peloton couldn’t have been happier to see Andreas Leknessund and Sam Welsford (and to be honest they’re both pretty nice guys so you’d usually be happy to see them) arrive with a crate crammed full of cold ones.

Curiously, both Leknessund and Welsford DNSed before stage 1 due to illness, but then had to hang around in China all week instead of going home. You would have thought they’d be so sick of nondescript hotel rooms they’d be out of there whatever the cost to re-book your own flight.

Maybe they are that committed to post-race beers. Maybe the team didn’t let them. Maybe they’re both cheapskates. Maybe they wanted to test out five different hotels within the province of Guangxi.

Regardless, they’d clearly recovered from their illness by the time stage 6 rolled around, with Leknessund in full party mode judging by his audacious wide-brimmed hat.

Andreas Leknessund and Sam Welsford hand out beers at the finish of the final stage of the Tour of Guangxi. Leknussund is wearing a large, wide-brimmed hat.

Beers were shared out with any and all riders, including the fantastically named sprinter Blake Quick (Jayco-AlUla, pictured) and Mason Hollyman (to Quick’s right). Even Jumbo-Visma’s Olav Kooij was handed a Plugge-defying Budweiser to cap off being the second-most successful team this season (don’t shout at us! Shout at the UCI and their silly rankings!)

Pretty quickly the finish area emptied out and Leknessund and Welsford picked up their cool box for the short walk back to the hotel.

Sam Welsford and Andreas Leknessund lug a large white cooler off a street after dispensing many beers to their fellow pros.

This was Leknessund and Welsford’s final farewell as DSM-Firmenich riders, with the Norwegian off to his home team of Uno-X in 2024 and Welsford set to join the Bora boys, in a transfer that makes as much sense as the Tour de France taking place in July. It just works. He’ll be in good company also, as we’ve heard a certain other new arrival absolutely loves a beer too, huh.

Feed Zone ?

?‍♀️ Nathan van Hooydonck has paid a visit to the three police officers who saved his life a month ago, Het Nieuwsblad reports, to thank them and also hear the details of what happened during the incident of which he remembers nothing.

?? It’s official, Wout van Aert and Jumbo-Visma coach Marc Lamberts has followed Primož Roglič to Bora-Hansgrohe.

⏱️ Filippo Ganna won’t ride the 2024 Tour de France as he looks to arrive in perfect condition for the Paris Olympic Games.

?? Meanwhile, his Ineos Grenadiers teammate Tom Pidcock will focus on both the Tour and the Olympic mountain bike competition eight days after the Tour’s finish in Nice. “It is at the limit and will not be easy,” Pidcock said on a Red Bull podcast.

? Cofidis’ Wesley Kreder (32) has been forced to call time on his career following the cardiac arrest he suffered at the end of August.

? Jonas Gregaard has swapped Uno-X for Lotto Dstny, signing a two-year deal with the Belgian team.

? 30-year-old Astana-Qazaqstan rider Davide Martinelli has announced his retirement.

? Michael Matthews is keen to put 2023 behind him, which he considers a disappointment despite taking a Giro d’Italia stage victory back in May. “I want to end this year and forget it,” Matthews told Wielerflits.

? After a last-gasp search for a contract came to nothing, Zdenek Štybar has announced his retirement from road racing, but hopes to still take part in cyclocross (and if we had to guess, probably some gravel in the future too).

? David van der Poel has retired as well, Iain Treloar wrote a nice piece about him earlier in the week.

?? Wout van Aert will travel to Colombia in November for Rigoberto Urán’s Gran Fondo ‘El Giro de Rigo’. Sounds like a medium-to-large amount of fun.

? The 2024 Tour de France “remains a serious option” for Arnaud De Lie, Lotto Dstny sporting manager Kurt Van De Wouwer told Het Laatste Nieuws.

? The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected Gazprom-RusVelo’s appeal against the UCI’s decision to revoke the team’s licence due to the war in Ukraine, the UCI announced on Wednesday.

☕ EF Education-EasyPost have signed 37-year-old Rui Costa on a one-year deal.

? SD Worx’s Blanka Vas has undergone surgery for a collarbone injury after falling during cyclocross training.

?? As the men’s Human Powered Health team goes out of business, the women’s squad will now aim to become one of the best in the world. “Our new vision is a long-term focus on the women’s team,” a press release from the team read.

⛰️ The 12.5 km-long, 6.9% average Lagos de Covadonga could be on the 2024 Vuelta a España route, Wielerflits reckon.

? Movistar are currently doing their best Lidl-Trek impression, announcing a flurry of signings including Davide Formolo from UAE Team Emirates and Rémi Cavagna from Soudal Quick-Step (both on three-year deals), as well as Javier Romo from Astana Qazaqstan on a two-year contract.

?? Torstein Træen has swapped Uno-X for Bahrain Victorious (two-year deal).

? “Winning the UCI team classification confirms that we are the best team in the world,” UAE Team Emirates boss Mauro Gianetti told CyclingNews. What a wind-up merchant.

? The main movement in the released list of 2024 UCI men’s teams is Jumbo-Visma has registered once again as ‘Blanco,’ Circus is gone from Intermarché-Wanty due to gambling regulations coming into effect ,making that one a bit less of a mouthful. B&B hotels makes a welcome return to co-headline the Arkéa squad. Then at ProTeam level, Selle Italia is gone from Corratec, TDT-Unibet have had their ProTeam licence application confirmed, while Human Powered Health and Bolton Equities-Black Spoke are both unfortunately missing.

? Matteo Milan and Martin Pedersen (the brothers of Jonathan Milan and Mads Pedersen) have joined Lidl-Trek’s training squad.

? James Whelan has a professional contract again, after signing with Q36.5 for 2024.

Cycling on TV ?

Saturday October 21st


UCI Track Champions League, Round 1 – Mallorca
GCN+ (11:30-15:00 ET/16:30-20:00 BST/02:30-06:00 AEST)

Sunday October 22nd


Superprestige Overijse – Women’s
GCN+ (07:30-09:00 ET/12:30-14:00 BST/22:30-00:00 AEST)

Superprestige Overijse – Men’s
GCN+ (09:00-10:30 ET/14:00-15:30 BST/00:00-01:30 AEST)

Monday October 23rd

No live racing

? New fantastic rider name klaxon ?

Jumbo Visma believes in Lemmen’s

We’ve already got Isaac del Toro for next season, to go with your Bob Jungels, your Stan Dewulfs, your Pierre Latours, need we go on. Welcome to the great name club … Bart Lemmen!

A Jumbo-Visma PR email landed in our inbox this week, with the title only showing the preview “Jumbo-Visma believes in Lemmen’s …” with the full message continuing “…potential and signs him to two-year contract”.

Lemmen (28) arrives from Human Powered Health and the Dutchman is a former military officer. With former copper Tony Martin retired and departed from the team, Lemmen could play a role in restoring order to the squad.

And finally …

A portion of the Ineos Grenadiers riders were in first-class seats for their flight back up to Beijing. Obviously we don’t know whether they paid themselves or Ineos now have a bunch of budget spare now they’re not signing either Remco Evenepoel or Primož Roglič, but good for them and their plane cutlery made of metal. Luke Rowe was also trying to persuade the cabin crew to allow some of the team’s support staff who were further back in cattle class up front to occupy the spare seats. Okay, we’re done snooping. The riders can go and enjoy their off-season!

? Send us yer laundry pics ?

“In my hometown there are no wash salons and no opportunities to take great Spin Cycle cover pictures,” writes Boris Odendahl, attaching today’s laundromat photo. “But last weekend I was in Munich and yeah: Wash Saloon! The pics are quite crappy and below my usual standard of picture composition, but I thought I send them nevertheless.”

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 …

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