The Spin Cycle is the 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! The Escape Collective’s news digest.
We’ll be upfront about it. A large section of this edition is dedicated to the exploits of Tadej Pogačar. Yes, he won a big bike race at the weekend. But it’s not because he won, or even because of the way in which he won it, but more everything surrounding it.
What’s been great to see as Pogačar fully settled into his role at the top of the peloton’s natural order is that he’s opened up and let people in, allowing us to see his personality and what he wants to give in terms of his public-facing personality.
At his first Tour de France, he was closed off. Maybe it was all too much, an overwhelming experience as we watched in real time a person learning how to win the biggest bike races on the planet.
There’s an argument that champion cyclists almost owe it to the sport to be more than bike racers – to bear the responsibility … If that is the case then we’re lucky that his outsized talent comes with the add-ons of a sense of humour and unassuming charm. For those who come to the Spin Cycle for a healthy dose of cynicism, sorry to disappoint cos we like our bike riders chugging beers and struggling to pronounce Dutch climbs. Actually, we’re not even sorry about it.
‘Nobody likes her’
Before we get to Pog, a less joyful item. There’s been beef in the women’s peloton and as much as this occasionally snarky section of the website enjoys drama and gossip, this one just feels a bit mean.
The Canadian Cycling Magazine came across a weeks-old episode of the Wegkletsen podcast, where Ellen van Dijk aired her unabashed dislike for fan favourite Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.
“She’s a rider who never gets her face in the wind,” Van Dijk began. “She’s always sitting on. Always waiting.”
“Nobody likes her,” Van Dijk continued, “I find her to be such an annoying rider. She’s always yelling or whining.”
Quite the tirade, from which the Dutchwoman soon backpedalled … well, not entirely.
“I think I went too far and said things I shouldn’t have said. I regret all that,” Van Dijk apologised, before adding that Uttrup Ludwig won’t have been surprised to hear her words.
“She knows very well that I am not a fan of her as a cyclist, as we regularly fight during the races.”
The wild weekend of Tadej Pogačar
Ok, where to start. Well, Pogačar’s beer guzzling antics got the Treloar Treatment so you can read that in full on the website if you haven’t already.
Then we had the whole “Amstel is also available on draft” saga (credit to @CyclingBram for that line) where many wandered what the race director’s car was doing squatting right in front of an attacking Pogačar, though both the rider and race director said it wasn’t actually for that long, and EF boss Jonathan Vaughters admitted Pog would have likely beaten his rider Ben Healy if it had come down to a sprint.
But what the incident also did was foster an historic agreement between Vaughters, Pat McQuaid, and Brian Cookson. Who’d have thought we would ever see this day.
While the Amstel race car should likely take credit for this, is it any coincidence that Pogačar was involved in something so momentous? Is there anything he cant do? Well, maybe, actually…courtesy of a pre-race interview with the Slovenian.
What are the key moments in this race for you?
“I don’t know, the last few climbs.”
You don’t know them?
“I know them but I don’t have a good pronunciation of the climbs so better I don’t say anything.”
To make us all feel better, Tadej Pogačar admitted he’s not good at everything.
Specifically, one thing he’s not great at – pronouncing Dutch words. An admittedly difficult task for all non-native speakers, but it still makes it easier to start the week having woken up once again with less talent in our entire beings than Pog has in his big toe.
But also, when you have a buddy like Mathieu van der Poel giving advice as to where on the course you should attack, that does help.
Finally, as if all of that wasn’t enough, he has the time to troll both people and the peloton by revealing he’s riding La Flèche Wallonne through an all-caps Twitter reply. Everything about him is kind of chaotic and we love it.
Feed Zone 🥖
👨👩👧👦 Lizzie Deignan becomes the first WorldTour rider to return to racing after two pregnancies.
😥 Marc Hirschi, who battled on through injury and illness at last year’s Tour de France, is unlikely to return to the race this summer as part of UAE Team Emirates’ squad, or line up for any Grand Tour in 2023.
❌ Neither Fem van Empel or five-time winner Marianne Vos will line up for Jumbo-Visma at Wednesday’s La Flèche Wallonne.
👕 Jumbo-Visma have launched their Tour de France Hommes and Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift special edition jersey and they’re at least the tiniest bit better than last year’s abomination. The whole velodrome thing is a bit confusing but our very own José Been tells us ‘een velo droom’ in Dutch means ‘a cycling dream’.
🏔️ Tao Geoghegan Hart won the first stage of the Tour of the Alps.
🤧 Rigoberto Urán didn’t start the Tour of the Alps and is instead taking extra rest in the run-up to the Giro d’Italia due to an allergic reaction.
🇬🇧 The Tour de Yorkshire is trying to raise the money to bring the race back in 2024.
Unexpectedly spicy quote of the weekend
“I’m not just here to sign autographs and take photos.”
Thibaut Pinot confirms his final season in the peloton isn’t akin to a Las Vegas residency as he secured second at the Tour du Jura before also finishing as runner-up in every stoner’s favourite race, the Tour du Doubs. If you’re not wishing for a final triumphant win for pro cycling’s pre-eminent goat-carer then I have only one question: who hurt you?
Cycling on TV (all times CET) 📺
• Tour of the Alps, Stage 2 (1.30pm-3.30pm)
• Women’s La Flèche Wallonne (10.55am-12.35pm)
• Men’s La Flèche Wallonne (1.00pm-5.00pm)
• Tour of the Alps, Stage 3 (12.30pm-2.30pm)
• Tour of the Alps, Stage 4 (1.30pm-3.30pm)
• Tour of the Alps, Stage 5 (1.30pm-3.30pm)
And finally …
Alison Jackson is back to her part-time job of dancing on social media, only this time she has a Roubaix trophy in tow, or, as she calls it, the rock.
At least her exploits on the road from Denain to the Roubaix velodrome involved lots of pulling on the front, so she should avoid the scorn of Ellen van Dijk.
Just a reminder that you can check out the whole Escape Collective podcast network at any time on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Corrections corner 🖋️😔
A lesson in the dangers of phrases you don’t know the origin of. Turns out while ‘drinking the Kool-Aid’ has evolved to be used in a more general sense, it has some links with the events of 1978 in Jonestown, Guyana. Sorry about that.
Primes (for helpful members) 🏆
Thanks to E. Wilson for the nod to check out Pogačar’s Amstel pre-race interview. Members can send in suggestions via our Discord.
Andrew Demack also pointed us toward these eco-friendly detergent sheets after the talk of laundry detergent last week.
Until next time …
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