Spin Cycle: Thieves of joy

We're extrapolating football data into cycling, badly.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 17.06.2024 Photography by
Marcel Straka, 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.


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

The warm-up races are done, now for the slightly agonising wait until the start of the Tour de France. Having watched most of the Netflix series, it’s exactly what we needed in this period to ramp the excitement up to the maximum possible level.

Alongside the various behind-the-scenes insight of the actual race, one question has been lingering. Why was Thibaut Pinot feeding the fish in his pond stale croissants? The limited Googling we’ve done on the topic says that bread is bad for fish … maybe we’ve found Pinot’s toxic trait …

Thieves of joy

Winning bike races is hard. Especially when the last part to putting together a victorious ride is making sure you don’t lift both hands off your handlebars in celebration as you cross the line to then subsequently get disqualified.

Unfortunately, that’s what happened to Dutch youngster Finn Bastiaanssen, reports Wielerflits, who thought he’d won atop the Col du VAM on Sunday to become the new U17 Dutch national champion. But Bastiaanssen celebrated with both hands aloft, which is a big no-no.

Junior and amateur racers in the Netherlands are banned from taking both hands off of their handlebars for safety reasons, but in the heat of the moment Bastiaanssen forgot and so second-place Thijs Wiersma was awarded the victory.

“I have mixed feelings here,” Wiersma told Cycling Online. “Finn made a mistake, there’s no other way. I would have preferred to win in a good way by crossing the line first. That didn’t work due to a mistake on my part. Then you cross the line second.

“After an hour I had won,” he continued of the decision made post-race by the jury. “Beautiful on the one hand, but you miss the moment when you cross the line first. I came here to win. That just didn’t work, but it did. That’s nice and also not. I can be happy with it and I will wear the jersey with pride.”

Bastiaanssen was dropped to fifth place, relegated out of the medal places entirely. Brutal!

Racing tactics of the week ♟️

One of the great things about bike racing is the intricacies involved in the sport, how as you get deeper into it more becomes apparent. The subtlety of rider’s race craft, the fine margins that often designate the victor.

Which is why the bluntness of Bora-Hansgrohe’s Emil Herzog telling fellow breakaway companion TotalEnergies’ Mathieu Burgaudeau (who had joined him up the road on stage 3 of the Tour of Slovenia and said he had no more energy) in plain terms: “Fucking go to the front or I will drop you!” in what is quite the refreshing turn of phrase.

We’re sure this happens all the time, but it’s not often picked up by the motorbike cameras. For the record, they were eventually caught, with Burgaudeau finishing nine minutes adrift and Herzog 12 minutes back.

Yeesh, chef Ramsay

A worrying video posted by celebrity chef, champion swearer and passionate cyclist Gordon Ramsay, where he describes being involved in a bike accident (details of which are slim) that left him with a crazy bruise on his torso (scrub to 45 seconds in the below video).

Along with a concerning hand tremor, Ramsay implores people to wear helmets when riding, with Dutch authorities also now trying to convince a nation of cyclists not usually pre-disposed to wearing helmets to actually start wearing them, following a 27% uptick in serious injuries suffered by riders over the past decade. While serious injuries in the Netherlands have risen, no direct cause for that increase is cited; of injured riders, some 21% were hit by motor vehicles.

Feed Zone 🥖

🤯 UAE Team Emirates’ Adam Yates and João Almeida went 1-2 at the Tour de Suisse after finishing first and second on all of the final four (out of eight) stages. The final day time trial caused Ineos Grenadiers’ Egan Bernal to slip out of the last podium spot by just 10 seconds to Lidl-Trek’s Mattias Skjelmose. “To be honest, I’m a bit sad,” Bernal told Eurosport afterwards.

🇷🇺 Russian cyclist Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) may compete at this summer’s Olympic Games under a neutral flag after his name appeared on a provisional list of 25 Russian athletes who may be allowed to compete in the Games. The IOC set up a special panel to check whether  Russian and Belarusian Olympians have any ties with their own military or security services and whether or not they have supported the Russian invasion.

🫅It’s now Sir Mark Cavendish, after the British sprinter was awarded a knighthood in King Charles’ birthday honours.

🇳🇱 The SD Worx-Protime train keeps rolling as Demi Vollering won the opening two stages of the Tour de Suisse.

🇸🇮 Bora-Hansgrohe’s Giovanni Aleotti won the Tour of Slovenia by 10 seconds to Bahrain Victorious’ Pello Bilbao, while Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) took the final stage with a textbook solo move.

🚡 At the Val di Sole mountain bike world cup, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Ineos Grenadiers) and Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) won the cross-country races, while Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Puck Pieterse and Sam Gaze took the short track competitions.

👶 Jarno Wildar (Lotto Dstny Development Team) won the Giro d’Italia Next Gen by 52 seconds over UAE Team Emirates’ Pablo Torres Arias, while Brit Matthew Brennan (Visma-Lease a Bike Development Team) took the final stage.

🇧🇪 Tim Merlier (Soudal-Quick Step) took his second stage victory to close out the Baloise Belgium Tour, besting Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Jasper Philipsen, as Uno-X Mobility’s Søren Wærenskjold won the race overall.

🇳🇴 Uno-X Mobility are the first to announce their Tour de France squad: Magnus Cort, Alexander Kristoff, Tobias Halland Johannessen, Jonas Abrahamsen, Søren Wærenskjold, Johannes Kulset, Odd Christian Eiking, Rasmus Tiller.

Tour de France preview of the week ⚽

Crossover cycling and soccer football fans got a not-necessarily-tangible preview of the upcoming Tour de France yesterday thanks to Denmark and Slovenia facing off at the 2024 European Championships, reflecting the nationalities of the Tour’s top two favourites Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar.

Obviously, whoever won the football game would give us the best indication of who will take the yellow jersey next month …

Denmark went ahead in the match, as expected, but Slovenia got a late equaliser and pushed the Danes all the way to the line, the fixture eventually drawn 1-1. Is this not kind of what happened at last year’s Tour? At least up until that time trial?

Looking back through the history books for any similar major international football tournament and Tour crossover events, the most recent we can find is when Italy and the United States faced off at the 1990 World Cup, where Italy won 1-0 in the group stage contest. Would this result be reflected at the Tour? Nope, American Greg Lemond would beat second place Italian Claudio Chiapucci by two minutes.

Now, when England beat either Denmark or Slovenia in the remaining group games at the Euros, lump it all on Tom Pidcock to podium (actually, don’t).

Cycling on TV 📺

Tuesday June 18th

Tour de Suisse Women – Stage 4
(09:00-11:40 ET/14:00-16:40 BST/23:00-01:45 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧, Max🇺🇸, FloBikes🇨🇦, StayLive🇦🇺

Wednesday June 19th

No live racing …

Thursday June 20th

French National Road Championships – Elite Women’s ITT
(07:00-09:15 ET/12:00-14:15 BST/21:00-23:15 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧

French National Road Championships – Elite Men’s ITT
(09:15-11:30 ET/14:15-16:30 BST/23:15-01:30 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧

Friday June 21st

British National Road Championships – Mixed Criterium Race
(12:30-15:00 ET/17:30-20:00 BST/02:30-05:00 AEST) Eurosport/Discovery+🇬🇧

Ketone ad of the week 🚀

We’re sure three-time 12-hour TT champion Ryan Collins is a nice guy. He looks like one of those nice dads in a Pixar movie and has the sort of kitchen that tells me he has a vested interest in the upholding of societal norms.

We’re not here to deny anyone “getting their bag,” we’ve all got to eat. The only problem for Collins is that there’s no room for food in his fridge as he’s stocked it full of ketones.

Again, we’re not sure whether the general cycling public actually cares as much about ketone use these days, and they definitely seem to have become less controversial than they used to be, in no doubt thanks to the marketing from the likes of Collins, Remco Evenepoel and Geraint Thomas.

If you want more of this sort of content, Collins has done another video riding down the aisle of a Wegmans supermarket until he finds the ketone section.

And finally …

Maybe we weren’t paying close enough attention but Ben Healy has likely won the award for most drastic haircut of the year, dispensing with his long dark locks in favour of a bleach-blond 90s boyband look.

Maybe, as he continues to prove his strength and pick up wins, he’s going to extreme lengths to fly under the radar of the peloton? Maybe he’s going full Virenque (well, not full Virenque; never go full Virenque … ) ahead of a likely debut Tour de France? Either way, we’re fans.

⚡We’re gonna rock down to addendum avenue⚡

“How can you not have included Demi Vollering’s most pawesome contributions to dog transport?” asks Greg Harmer, attaching that video of Vollering carrying her pup on her back.

“After a bit of a deep dive into the unknowns of the internet,” writes Lachlan M, “I can confirm Mark Griffiths [of ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ fame as discussed on Friday] is indeed a cycling fan, and a G (not Gee) fan!”

Seems like his “one last push” tweet in support of Geraint Thomas before he lost the 2023 Giro d’Italia time trial to Primož Roglič was ill-fated, however.

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

“Not sure how much you are after home laundry photos,” writes Marcel Straka, attaching today’s featured laundry photo, “but I’m attaching mine here. It’s in my home in Rajka, Hungary, close to Bratislava. Enjoy.”

We very much enjoy the insight into our readers’ domestic lives (alongside the regular, public laundromats, of course) so if you want your washing machine/utility room featured please do send it in!

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 Marcel Straka and Ronan McLaughlin 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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