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Welcome back to Spin Cycle, Escape Collective’s news digest.
We’re not generally ones to toot our own horn (okay, we definitely are … so let’s just pretend for a second) but gee willikers today’s amalgamation of cycling tidbits really ticks all of our boxes. A yellow jersey finish line celebration fall, exorbitant online auctions that make you think maybe NFTs are value for money after all, and there are cranes lifting bikes out of canals again. What more could we want.
But wait, there is also a whole section on some pleasingly strong moustaches. And it got us thinking, has anyone actually ever seen Jumbo-Visma’s Tiesj Benoot and Escape Collective’s/Australia’s Iain Treloar together in the same room … ?
Dreams and Nightmares
Every stage 21 of the Tour de France, as the victorious team pose for photographs arm in arm, champagne flutes being passed around, the thought lingers in the back of your mind that disaster is only one wobble away.
Of course, thankfully, nothing ever happens. But the yellow jersey of the recent Vuelta a Guatemala was not so fortunate.
Gerson Toc, who races for Decoba-ASO Quetzaltenango, was closing in on the biggest win of his career so far, when his teammates slipped and crashed to the ground just before the finish line, taking Toc’s wheel and sending the race winner flying over the finish line as two more of the squad soon fell to a stop too, with only one of the five riders remaining upright.
A bizarre video you can’t help but watch on loop a dozen times in a row as your brain tries to figure out exactly what it is that you’re watching. Toc gets up almost straight away, as do his teammates apart from one, who appears to be suffering from an acute bout of punishing embarrassment. We hope they’re all okay.
Pinot’s bike is for sale
Thankfully, Black Friday and Cyber Monday mostly passed us by here at Escape Collective, save for some gremlins in our subscription service’s machine that created an inverse seasonal sale by incorrectly informing a bunch of people they had unsubscribed from our lovely corner of the internet. That was, of course, not true (but if you’re not signed up there’s no time like the present, use code PODCAST to try us out for $1) and so the time seems belatedly right to share with you some can’t-miss deals right after the you-didn’t-actually-get-that-good-of-a-deal on an airfryer or water flosser over the holiday weekend.
First up, Thibaut Pinot’s 2023 Tour de France bike is up for auction!
It’s already had 10 bids at the time of writing and is up to €6,500, although helpfully an expert opinion has been sought to tell you that, actually, the bike is more likely worth between €15,000-€30,000, just the 100% price increase of margin for error in the estimation, there.
But our favourite part is under the subheading detailing the condition of the bike, the answer is simple: “bon.”
But yes, if you’ve got a spare six grand lying around (and if you do, I have a bunch of better ideas of what you could do with it, so DM me), then you can purchase Pinot’s bike which he rode during what amounted to a delirious retirement do/Papal visit of a stage 20 to his home roads.
Of course, flogging bikes at the end of the season isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, with Tadej Pogačar’s time trial bike also up for grabs in a private auction via the Bike Room.
Well, it’s one of four of his 2022 season time trial bikes, which is expected to go for upwards of €30,000 (eat your heart out, Thibaut). The other three bikes are currently owned by, according to CyclingNews, the healthy boy prince Tadej Pogačar himself, UAE Team Emirates partner and Very Expensive Watch Man Richard Mille, and a Saudi Arabian national who purchased his. Maybe a bonus benefit of owning one of the bikes is that this quartet all meet for tea and crumpets once a year to talk about what they’ve been up to recently. That could be fun.
Feed Zone 🥖
🇳🇴 Tobias Foss has finally joined Ineos Grenadiers on a three-year deal, coming over from Jumbo-Visma.
🇨🇴 Nairo Quintana’s return to WorldTour racing with Movistar will be at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (January 31-February 4).
🌻 The first three stages of the 2025 Tour de France have been unveiled; read our story here.
🇵🇹 After failing to find a WorldTeam or ProTeam professional contract, Antwan Tolhoek (previously of Lidl-Trek) has signed for Portuguese Continental outfit Sabgal-Anicolor, the new name of Glassdrive Q8 Anicolor.
💂♀️ Speaking on The Cycling Podcast, retired pro Ian Boswell has provided some insight into the current mess over at Ineos Grenadiers: “I am friends with some riders who in recent years chose not to sign with the team and instead decided to go to Jumbo for a lot less money,” Boswell said. “Just because of what they have heard internally, because of what is happening at Ineos Grenadiers, because of the culture of the team, the dynamics … The riders I know want to race for a lot less money with a team where they can probably achieve more success, with a team that is more … I don’t want to say ‘more functional,’ but a team that is currently higher, a team that is on the rise instead of a team that seems to take a step backwards every year.”
😔 TotalEnergies will not be renewing the contracts of Edvald Boasson Hagen and Maciej Bodnar, both of whom are currently without teams.
💭 Jayco-AlUla have decided to send Dylan Groenewegen to the Tour de France next year and Caleb Ewan to the Giro d’Italia.
🔀 Having departed Ineos Grenadiers alongside Rod Ellingworth, Roger Hammond is potentially being lined up for a new job at Israel-Premier Tech, GCN reports.
💩 Tom Pidcock will compete in a total of 10 cyclocross races this winter, including six World Cups. His campaign begins on December 16 at the X²O Bathrooms Trophy Herentals Cross.
✍️ Dries De Bondt will leave Alpecin-Deceuninck after five years with the team and has signed to Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale. The French team’s new sponsor sees their annual budget increase by €3 million to a total of €26 million, L’Équipe reports; De Bondt’s signing was one of six announced last week, headlined by Sam Bennett.
😬 It looks like Patrick Lefevere could be preparing for the exit of Julian Alaphilippe, as his coach and cousin Franck Alaphilippe was not renewed by Soudal Quick-Step for 2024. “I kind of saw it coming,” Franck Alaphilippe told CyclismActu. “After the merger issues, there were tensions between Patrick Lefevere and Julian, which again made my situation a bit uncertain. So I wasn’t really surprised when I heard that I couldn’t stay.” Franck will, however, continue to train Julian.
📝 Davide Cimolai is close to agreeing a one-year contract with Movistar, according to Marca.
🔎 As well as being a sports director for EF Education-EasyPost, Sebastian Langeveld will become the team’s head of scouting.
🇮🇱 Israel-Premier Tech’s riders have been issued with blank training kits due to fears of lone wolf attacks. Read our story here.
Cycling on TV 📺
Saturday December 2nd
Superprestige Boom – Elite Women
GCN+ (07:30-08:50 ET/12:30-13:50 GMT/23:30-00:50 AEST)
Superprestige Boom – Elite Men
GCN+ (09:00-10:30 ET/14:00-15:30 GMT/01:00-02:30 AEST)
Sunday December 3rd
UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Flamanville – Elite Women
GCN+ (07:30-09:00 ET/12:30-14:00 GMT/23:30-01:00 AEST)
UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Flamanville – Elite Men
GCN+ (09:00-10:30 ET/14:00-15:30 GMT/01:00-02:30 AEST)
Monday December 4th
No live racing
Moustaches of the week 🥸
It appears that Jumbo-Visma have a serious case of Movember-itis, with Christophe Laporte and Tiesj Benoot photographed at the team’s end of season awards night with some magnificent lip foliage on display.
Maybe it’s just his French-ness coming through, but Laporte is giving big Inspector Clouseau vibes, while we did a double take when we first saw Benoot, thinking it was our very own Iain Treloar (speaking of which, note to self to try and get Iain to shave off his tash next Movember – he can hardly say no to charity, right?)
But it seems this is a team-wide effort, with Primož Roglič also getting involved despite the fact he’s leaving the squad. Although maybe this is the first step to really currying favour with his new boss, the maximally moustachioed Bora-Hansgrohe manager Ralph Denk.
And finally …
“Bikes dredged from bodies of water” is in our top-five favourite types of cycling news stories, and this latest instalment of the genre comes from the Belgian city of Ghent, where every year the canal’s level is lowered by half a metre to remove any dangerous obstructions from the waterway.
“We found about 300 bicycles, about ten shopping carts, one moped, a whole collection of road signs and even approach fences,” Geert Weymeis of De Vlaamse Waterweg (you can figure out that translation yourself) told Het Nieuwsblad. “And it all ended up in the water in one year, because the waters were also cleared last year.
“What can be reused is reused,” he continued. “First the police come to see if there are any registered bicycles. Shared bicycles are also returned. Everything else is ready for the scrap heap.”
Maybe we’re so out of touch we didn’t realise there was such a big thrill to be had from chucking a bicycle into a canal? We can think of at least 14 objects that would be more fun to throw … and anyway, chucking things in canals is wrong!
📬 You’ve got mail
“I thought you’d like to know,” begins Greg Harmer, “that at French lessons the other week I learned that grenadier is the word for a pomegranate tree.”
I did not know that, Greg, but shall we start calling the Ineos Grenadiers the Pomegranate trees? It also works in that it’s also close to Australia’s unsavoury word for us Brits too … but let’s set that aside for the time being …
🧺 Send us yer laundry pics
“Hereby follows a laundromat image from Venice,” writes Mārtiņš Bruņenieks, attaching today’s featured image. “I was there with my friends to do a race in an even more niche sport than cycling – orienteering. This is where you run with a map to visit checkpoints in the right order. A mountain bike version also exists. We were crossing the city and this [laundromat] was on some narrow street with lost tourists. I remembered the need so here it is.”
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 …
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