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Spin Cycle: Superman returns

Three, maybe four 'big yikes' to begin the week.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 19.06.2023 Photography by
Nick Blake and 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. You can sign up here.


Hello!

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

Today’s edition is simple: a triptych of videos to confuse and delight. We have a classic of the ‘when cycling goes wrong!’ genre, Alberto Contador gets to grips with video editing in order to tell the story of his group ride crash in Beijing with the utmost journalistic clarity, and then we also have the return of Superman López (turns out these days we have a better idea of what that comic-book glow emanating from him could be).

Seeing as there is so little televised cycling this week, your best bet may be to just watch these three videos on repeat.

Hold our beers, Jasper Disaster

There are few things better than a disaster of a slapstick nature slow unfurling, where you know what’s going to happen well in advance of it actually happening, so you can savour every second of schadenfreude as the Bad Thing occurs in real time.

The genre of the story in question is one of the finest in cycling: rider sits up early to celebrate and gets caught by another rider who didn’t give up and sneaks ahead at the last moment. Although in this case it’s double the fun as it was TWO riders who thought they’d won it but hadn’t.

The latest instalment of this particular series took place at the Critérium de Saint-Symphorien-Sur-Coise, where EC St Etienne-Loire teammates Rémi Arsac and Charly Merle thought they had it all sewn up and sat up, putting their arms around one another to drink in the moment. Behind, however, Simon Ruet hadn’t given up and swept past on the left-hand side to steal the victory.

The remaining question is why. It didn’t look like Ruet was that far away, so maybe when the leading pair had looked behind the chaser was around the corner and out of view? Whatever occurred it took the teammates completely by surprise and their look at each other after Ruet storms past is priceless.

All that’s left to consider is what Christoph Roodhooft’s face would have looked like if he was in charge of the St-Etienne-Loire squad. We dread to think what nickname he would have dreamt up for the successors to the unfairly maligned ‘Jasper Disaster’.

Alberto Contadown-and-out in Beijing

Life as a celeb doing promotional work isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (we have always imagined) and now we have proof, as Alberto Contador popped over to Beijing to collect a presumed large bucket of Chinese Yuan as part of a promotional tour with the Vuelta a España, took part in a group ride and next thing you know, bam, he was on the deck after being unable to avoid a crash in front of him.

Quite shocking footage of the incident is contained in the below video where blood can be seen pouring from the Spaniard’s face.

“Hi everyone,” Contador posted on social media following the accident. “Today I went down on the Desafío China by La Vuelta. There was a crash infront of me, and as much as I tried to jump over the rider in front of me, it was impossible. I’m sending this video to transmit calmness. Despite the images, fortunately it’s not as bad as it looks. Just a few stitches on the eyebrow, cheek and lip. We’ll keep on going.”

Feed Zone ?

? In a surprise to literally no-one, UCI President / man with desire for many, many jobs David Lappartient has officially announced his candidacy to become the new president of the French Olympic committee.

? Dutch cyclist Puck Moonen has revealed she had to get the police involved due to being stalked.

? Michael Woods won the queen stage at La Route d’Occitanie en route to taking the overall victory, while Mathieu van der Poel topped the general classification at the Baloise Belgium Tour and Jayco-AlUla’s Filippo Zanna was victorious at the Tour of Slovenia.

??‍⚖️ The German driver of the truck involved in the fatal collision with Davide Rebellin has been arrested and is currently in pre-trial detention.

❌ The 26th edition of the Luba Ladies Classic, a club-level classic for elite women that featured the likes of SD Worx’s Lorena Wiebes, ended on Saturday after one lap. The race in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, was halted after a serious crash and race organisers feared more accidents could happen due to a dangerous passage on the course.

⛪ 32-year-old Jesús Herrada has extended his contract with Cofidis until the end of 2025.

?? Nadav Raisberg, 22, will step up from the training team to the professional squad of Israel-Premier Tech next year, becoming the first Israeli in four years to do so.

?? The organiser of the junior men’s race that Lotte Kopecky took part in said he’s never had so many people at the side of the road to watch his event. Kopecky finished 22nd in a field of 71, having attacked a few times and also spending some time in the leading group.

? Johannes Staune-Mittet of the Jumbo-Visma development squad won the Baby Giro over the weekend. Hagens Berman Axeon’s Irishman Darren Rafferty finished second overall, 47 seconds down.

? Six weeks after crashing heavily on the opening stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk, Arnaud De Lie will return to competition at the Belgian national road race championships but will ride in service of his Lotto DSTNY teammates rather than seek the win himself.

? At the time of writing, 11 days out from the start, whether the Giro Donne will actually take place hangs in the balance due to funding issues. Starlight, the organisation company behind the race, say they can’t guarantee television production of the event and have asked the Italian federation to step in.

? Baloise Trek Lions couldn’t start the final stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour after their bikes were stolen while Lotto DSTNY’s car keys were also nicked (they had spares so disaster was averted). Euskaltel-Euskadi also had their bikes robbed at the Tour of Slovenia. Maybe the criminals are becoming too emboldened and it’s time for the return of a certain superhero to Europe…

Superman returns

How is Miguel Ángel López dealing with being the sort of rider to whom even Astana Qazaqstan were like “nah mate, actually, you seem a bit dodgy”? By winning a bunch sprint at the Vuelta a Colombia, of course!

In the TV footage of the finish to stage 1, the 59 kg López unleashes his sprint off on his own on the right-hand side as the crowd moves back to get out of the way and the former WorldTour rider holds his top-speed all the way to the line.

This comes after he also won the opening 7.8 km-long prologue by 17 seconds and also nearly took a second bunch sprint victory on the trot after finishing runner-up on stage two. All he needs now is to win one of the upcoming mountain stages and he’ll become Colombia’s answer to Wout van Aert.

Elsewhere at the Vuelta a Colombia, one of the commentators during the race’s broadcast suggested Nairo Quintana could ride this year’s Vuelta a España (?!) for a team “that urgently needs to win a stage, to be the protagonist in a Grand Tour”. Seeing as there were also rumours that Quintana was going to line up for the Vuelta a Colombia (he did not), we’re not even going to bother wasting time trying to think which team the broadcaster could possibly have been referring to.

? Usually mild-mannered rider finally cracks quote of the week ?

“Stop talking to me about the Tour. I attacked because I want to have a good result in a race, I attacked to try to finish second.”

After a career of answering questions about the Tour de France, Romain Bardet has finally had enough. Following a strong, attacking showing on stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse, the Frenchman was asked about what it meant in the context of the upcoming Grand Boucle. You know, seeing as he is still the last homegrown rider to achieve a place on the podium (way back in 2017).

Bardet was not having it and let the L’Équipe reporters who’d asked the question know that.

“I know that for L’Équipe, only the Tour de France counts,” added DSM coach Pim Lighart, trying to laugh the situation off. “But we are not just here to prepare for the Tour.”

Cycling on TV ?

Tuesday

Women’s Tour de Suisse, stage 4

GCN+ (09:20-11:40 ET/14:20-16:40 BST/23:20-01:40 AEST)

Wednesday – Friday

Nothing! Yikes!

And finally…

Long story short: Movistar have copied Team Sky’s homework from five years ago. Combining the light blue on white with an environmental message for their new Tour de France jersey.

The “sustainable, innovative, high-technology kit; jerseys will be produced with recycle plastic, put up for auction to gather funds for ocean protection programs,” the Spanish squad said in a press release.

You know what is more sustainable than releasing a kit made from 60% recycled plastic? Not releasing a new kit when we’re more than 60% through the season!

Of all the ways to improve sustainability, releasing a brand new kit before the big pollution machine of the Tour de France isn’t top of the list. Naming the new strip ‘iceberg’ is also an excellent added detail, considering Movistar’s tendency for largely unavoidable disaster.

Primes (for helpful members) ?

Thanks to Nick Blake for this week’s laundromat photo. He writes:

“The blue auto laundrette is in Megève and we spotted it before doing the sportive there (highly recommended, the sportive that is, didn’t try the laundrette).”

As always, we are accepting your own laundry photos 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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