Spin Cycle: Three wins and a wedding

Désolé Marion.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 01.04.2024 Photography by
Adam Beckett, A la Cola del Pelotón, Jonny Long, Eurosport Nederland, 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. Sign up here.


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

Happy April Fool’s Day! I’ve already eaten the proverbial trash of blindly believing umpteen social media posts from brands that in the cold light of day could only be described as utterly preposterous.

These include believing a baby humpback whale had washed up into a sea pool in Cornwall, and (briefly) that 45-year-old Jayco-AlUla sports director Mat Hayman was making a comeback at Paris-Roubaix this weekend.

But hey, it doesn’t matter. The Tour of Flanders was great and if the pelotons race Paris-Roubaix with even a pinch of the same verve they did De Ronde, everything will be alright.

The cardboard sign read by all of Belgium

You, a normal person, may have been focused on Mathieu van der Poel’s dominant Flanders victory. Myself (and my colleagues), borderline ne’er-do-wells, became transfixed by this sign being held aloft on the Oude Kwaremont.

To save you opening up Google Translate, here’s the English translation: “Sorry Marion, I can’t be everywhere. I’m getting married to Carine on September 7th.”

Brutal (and yes, wrong too) to announce this via televised sporting event, and to add in all of the love hearts around the name of the new woman.

We smell a rat, however. We may have fallen for most April Fools’ gags that have come across our desk but this one really reeks. Sure, there are some wrong-minded people on the roadside of bike races in Belgium (especially when Van der Poel is racing and winning – casting beer and spit down upon him yesterday) but a jilting via Sporza is utterly beyond the pale. But if not, hope you’re okay, Marion.

Spotted at Flanders 👀

Our morning at De Ronde began with the first Van der Poel attack of the day, as Mathieu’s father Adrie stormed past us as we sleepily made our way back to the car following the rollout from Antwerp. We hesitated for a millisecond, considering announcing “attaque de Van der Poel” as he passed by at a ferocious pace, but had he not taken it in the intended spirit we probably wouldn’t have been able to live with ourselves, so we didn’t.

Later on, after Adrie’s son had wrapped up his third Flanders title, we began to make our way out of the press room and back to the hotel.

By this point in what was a very long (and fun) day, there was time for one last thing to pique our interest: a men’s toilet and urinal wall in full view of anyone who walks past. More concerningly – this press room location was a school. We did not use this bathroom, to be clear.

Feed Zone 🥖

🦅 Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) won the GP Miguel Indurain ahead of Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Dstny) and Oscar Onley (DSM-Firmenich PostNL).

🐝 Richard Plugge has told Wielerflits Wout van Aert is already looking ahead to when he can get back to training and racing following his crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen.

😮 The roadside female fan taken to hospital after being involved in a crash at the Tour of Flanders suffered a severe concussion, a head injury with multiple stitches and a broken collarbone. Anke Sneyers, 21, is the current Belgian long jump champion, and apparently was not at fault for the crash. Instead, it was another fan in the road, who caused riders to swerve, who then collided with Anke. Anke’s brother, Thomas, works in Alpecin-Deceuninck’s marketing department, and wrote on social media that the incident “could have been a lot worse.”

🏥 Lizzie Deignan (Lidl-Trek) broke her arm in her crash at the Tour of Flanders, while Marlen Reusser (SD Worx-Protime) was left holding her own teeth in her hand after her fall and was later diagnosed with a broken jaw at the hospital.

🤕 In the men’s Flanders, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Victorious) suffered a muscle injury and also needed stitches in his elbow after suffering a deep cut following a crash. Cees Bol (Astana-Qazaqstan) was also involved in a nasty fall but escaped with abrasions.

👨‍🔧 Tiesj Benoot has leapt to the defence of his mechanic following the televised bike swap where Benoot was given teammate Dylan van Baarle’s bike, which was too big for him. “Don’t give Dirk too much shit for this,” Benoot tweeted. “He is one of the best mechanics I know and this was just an unfortunate moment after a very hectic race. My other bike was no longer on the car after a mechanical defect on the second time at Oude Kwaremont.” In fairness, riders are probably given teammate’s spare bikes all the time, but rarely do they feature national champion paint jobs that make them very identifiable.

🤒 Simon Yates will not appear at Itzulia Basque Country as planned after struggling with illness recently. He has Amstel Gold, Liège and Flèche Wallonne on his program later this month.

🏁 Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health) won the Ronde de Mouscron 2024 in a sprint finish.

Basque bedlam 🤯

You’d think a 10 km time trial to kick off Itzulia Basque Country would see the stage race stand a chance of beginning without incident. Well, you’d be wrong.

First off, Tom Pidcock was a last-minute DNS after crashing during a recon of the TT. He has been taken to hospital for further evaluation. Then Remco Evenepoel also fell as he began his effort against the clock.

Finally, Primož Roglič managed to go the wrong way but still beat UAE Team Emirates’ Jay Vine by seven seconds to take the race lead. Lidl-Trek’s Mattias Skjelmose was third at 10 seconds, Evenepoel fourth at 11s and Jonas Vingegaard fifth at 15 seconds.

Cycling on TV 📺

Tuesday April 2nd

Itzulia Basque Country – Stage 2
(10:30-12:45 ET/15:30-17:45 GMT/01:30-03:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Wednesday April 3rd

Scheldeprijs – Women
(08:15-10:00 ET/13:15-15:00 GMT/23:15-01:00 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸FloBikes, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Scheldeprijs – Men
(10:00-12:30 ET/15:00-17:30 GMT/01:00-03:30 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸FloBikes, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Itzulia Basque Country – Stage 3
(10:30-12:45 ET/15:30-17:45 GMT/01:30-03:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Thursday April 4th

Itzulia Basque Country – Stage 4
(10:30-12:45 ET/15:30-17:45 GMT/01:30-03:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Friday April 5th

Itzulia Basque Country – Stage 5
(10:30-12:45 ET/15:30-17:45 GMT/01:30-03:45 AEST) 🇬🇧Eurosport/Discovery+, 🇺🇸Max, 🇨🇦FloBikes

Sometimes cycling is better on telly of the week ☔

If you weren’t in Belgium watching Flanders at the roadside this weekend, don’t worry, it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

This photo, shared by dear friend and Cycling Weekly reporter Adam Becket and featuring his mate Alex, shows that although they no doubt had a fun time respectfully watching Mathieu van der Poel sail to victory, the glamour of the Monuments portrayed on television doesn’t exactly explain the reality on the ground.

And finally …

In the latest edition of driver-makes-their-way-onto-race-course, we see a motorist sheepishly reverse before Femke Markus, Niamh Fisher-Black and Julia Kopecký arrived as they rode the final kilometres of the Volta NXT Classic.

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

“I just had to take this quick happy snap for you when i found myself outside this salon lavoir in Brussels!” writes in David McCook, attaching today’s featured laundrette.

“Sorry I was too lazy to go inside to take an interior photo but I didn’t want to freak out the locals on my first day in Europe!”

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 Adam Becket 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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