Spin Cycle: Steaming hot synergies

All a cycling team needs is a control room of one's own.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 28.06.2024 Photography by
Rod Hooper, Cor Vos
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.


Welcome back to Spin Cycle, Escape Collective’s news digest.

We’ve arrived in Florence! It’s great here. The combination of a beautiful historic city, the Tour de France, and every single American college kid doing their year abroad has combined to create quite the unique melting pot for a Grand Départ.

If you’re usually just a newsletter reader, make sure to follow along more fervently than you might usually do to our website which will be inundated with Tour content for the next three weeks, and plug in to our Tour Daily podcast, available in all the places you usually get your podcasts, which is always a lot of fun.

And of course, Spin Cycle will be chugging along as normal but from the sweaty armpit of the biggest bike race in the world. We’re buzzing. You’re buzzing. Here we go!

A Control Room of One’s Own

Depending on your own individual proclivities, the Visma-Lease a Bike Control Room would have either had you salivating or your eyes rolling so far back into your head that your optic nerves eventually snapped.

The Visma-Lease a Bike Control Room.
Visma Lease a Bike’s Control Room van.

In short, the plan is to collect a bunch of data and also take some decisions out of the hands of those in the race car, which seems both sensible and advantageous. Needless to say, the UCI is investigating it. You should read Caley’s piece here for more in-depth analysis of what it is and what it could mean for the sport.

What we want to focus on, however, is how whoever does their marketing slogans has turned the level of bullshitty nothingness up to 11, with the Dutch team saying the van is all part of the team’s “limitless thinking,” while the team cars display the words “beyond victory,” as if their true purpose is to find a way to remove Richard Plugge’s head from his body and re-animate it in a jar Futurama-style so the boss can continue his limitless thinking for centuries to come.

The Visma-Lease a Bike car sporting 'beyond victory' on the bumper.

But back to the van for a second, the fact that part of the Pretty Expensive set-up is displaying Twitter feeds is kind of funny. Sure, sometimes Twitter spots stuff that others don’t, but the idea that part of this limitless thinking is wading through the porn spambots that now litter Elon Musk’s exorbitant cry for attention doesn’t exactly fill me with joy or the belief that this is a worthwhile endeavour.

In 50 years’ time, cycling fans will reminisce about that time Visma-Lease a Bike won the Tour de France because they saw that tweet before everyone else? Yeah, we’re being a bit facetious, but come on, this is the Tour de France!

Steaming hot synergies

You know what the Tour de France means? The chance for more brand activations than you can stake a marketing budget stick at!

With nine of the 22 teams sporting special jerseys for this year’s race, the opportunity for seamless brand synergies is, as Visma-Lease a Bike would likely describe it, LIMITLESS.

First up, we have Arkéa-B&B Hotels, not exactly the first name in the peloton you would associate with style, popping up out of the literal blue with this Bianchi number which is perfect.

Arkéa-B&B Hotels Bianchi-inspired Tour de France 2024 kit.

But don’t worry, here comes the crushing weight of late-stage capitalism. Alpecin-Deceuninck will be swapping out their blue denim for … grey denim, which looks okay, in support of Alpecin’s “Europe-wide media campaign featuring their Alpecin Grey Attack shampoo.”

“While our riders are constantly fighting the time and never giving up,” the breathless press release continues, “this campaign and kit, symbolise the fight against one of the most visible signs of ageing – grey hair.”

There is nothing quite like having a bunch of twenty-something professional athletes, in the prime of their physical lives, remind you of the very normal process of getting older. First, Alpecin came for the Roubaix showers, now they’re back again for the passage of time. They must be stopped.

Alpecin-Deceuninck at the 2024 Tour de France team presentation.

Meanwhile, Lidl-Trek, by virtue of having nice sponsors, just got to hang out in a local branch of Lidl. It must be so calming being employed by a sponsor that just wants to shill baked goods to the masses and not the massaging of autocratic regimes’ reputations.

Finally, away from the men’s Tour, EF Education-EasyPost have rebounded from one of their riders being caught allegedly transporting HGH through international airports, with the most apt brand tie-in of all time. Oatly Oat Milk!

The video is fun, and dairy alternatives is the perfect thing to mix with their unserious pink tie-dye and Crocs get-up.

Feed Zone 🥖

🇫🇷 Olympic squads are being announced. Great Britain will take Tom Pidcock, Josh Tarling, Fred Wright and Stevie Williams for the road race and Tarling and Ethan Hayter for the time trial. For Belgium, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Tiesj Benoot and Jasper Stuyven will contest the road race. Evenepoel and Van Aert will also race the TT.

🤯 The so-called ‘Big Six’ of Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Tadej Pogačar, Jonas Vingegaard, Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel will all be at the same race for the first time ever at the Tour de France 2024.

💂‍♀️ Ineos Grenadiers’ Performance Engineers Dan Bigham will leave the team at the end of the year, we reported earlier this week. We’ve also heard rumours Ethan Hayter and Jhonatan Narváez will leave at the end of the year, while Thymen Arensman looked at going but the team confirmed Friday that he will stick with the British squad.

🇧🇪 Dylan Teuns (32) will join Cofidis next year, Het Nieuwsblad reports.

😲 Marc Madiot believes Tadej Pogačar will leave his competition for dead almost as soon as the race has started this Tour de France: “It will be decided after three or four stages,” he told L’Équipe. The words coming out of Tadej Pogačar’s mouth don’t seem to disagree with that sentiment: “My form is better than I expected. I trained well, tested my legs a bit and to be honest, I have never felt so good on the bike.” That’s despite a recent bout of COVID-19.

🤒 “I have been really sick. It was not a lie,” Remco Evenepoel told Het Nieuwsblad after he didn’t line up for the Belgian Championships last weekend, less than ideal before his debut Tour de France participation.

💸 Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe have revealed their new kit. It’s nice.

😷 Visma-Lease a Bike will return to a partial coronavirus protocol this Tour de France in order to keep their riders healthy, Wielerflits reports. The team will do rapid testing every day and have even brought a PCR machine with them to the race for more accurate testing in case of suspected false negatives, and will immediately isolate anyone showing cold symptoms.

🤔 Despite being announced as part of the squad, Egan Bernal will not be at the Olympic Games next month, the Colombian Federation has announced. They have blamed Ineos Grenadiers for not giving their rider permission, but the British team have denied this to AFP.

Cycling on TV 📺

Saturday June 29th

Tour de France – Stage 1
(04:45-11:15 ET/09:45-16:15 BST/18:45-01:15 AEST) ITV/Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, NBC/Peacock🇺🇸, FloBikes🇨🇦, SBS🇦🇺

Women’s Tour of Poland – Stage 2
(05:05-09:15 ET/10:05-14:15 BST/19:05-23:15 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧

Internationale LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour – Stage 5
(08:00-10:00 ET/13:00-15:00 BST/22:00-00:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧

Sunday June 30th

Tour de France – Stage 2
(05:00-11:00 ET/10:00-16:00 BST/20:00-02:00 AEST) ITV/Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, NBC/Peacock🇺🇸, FloBikes🇨🇦, SBS🇦🇺

Women’s Tour of Poland – Stage 3
(05:30-09:00 ET/10:30-14:00 BST/19:30-23:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧

Internationale LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour – Stage 6
(08:00-10:00 ET/13:00-15:00 BST/22:00-00:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧

Monday July 1st

Tour de France – Stage 3
(05:00-11:45 ET/10:00-16:45 BST/20:00-02:45 AEST) ITV/Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, NBC/Peacock🇺🇸, FloBikes🇨🇦, SBS🇦🇺

Mail bag 📬

“Nooooooo! Barcelona cops bought an Ineos Grenadier!” is the email title that arrived in my inbox from Pol.

“On the Tour podcast you were talking about the Carabinieri as the Italian Bad Cops. Well, let me tell you, the Mossos d’Esquadra are Catalonia’s autonomous (regional) police, and they do have an equally and well deserved – in my opinion – bad reputation. Politics apart, they just bought, and painted all cop-like, a freakin’ Ineos Grenadier!”

A photo of a Spanish-police edition Ineos Grenadier.
Photo: AS/Catalan Police

And finally …

At his pre-race press conference, it appears Jonas Vingegaard’s butterfly tattoo is indeed real. Hopefully at some point we’ll get the chance to ask him about it.

But he’s not stopped there with the body art, as Vingegaard was also sporting a temporary tattoo. Spotted from a distance by our fearless leader and father of two Caley Fretz, who not only correctly identified it as a member of the Paw Patrol – who undertake high-stakes rescue missions to safeguard the residents of the Adventure Bay community – but that this particular cartoon canine was called Marshall. Ace reporting, Caley.

Luckily, Eurosport’s Matt Stephens was on hand to get a close-up photo of the temporary tattoo, presumably stuck on the two-time defending champion by his young daughter. Is Marshall’s fire-fighting get-up a clue that Vingegaard expects to spend the weekend putting out fires set off by Pogačar on the climbs from Florence to Rimini?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Matt Stephens (@realstephens)

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

“Just a quick pic of the most popular (only?) laundry in Cortona, Italy,” writes Rod Hooper, attaching the laundromat part of today’s cover image. “The town is a popular stop for Tuscan cycling tours, which helped make the laundry a hit. It took four days to find the machines empty to grab a photo.”

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 Pol and Rod Hooper 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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