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Spin Cycle: Warn a brother

Fess up, who had 'Merijn Zeeman starts a podcast' on their 2023 bingo card?

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 18.12.2023 Photography by
Murray, Cor Vos. Liberty Flames
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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. Sign up here.


Hello!

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

The one guarantee is the world never stops turning (and if and when it does we’ll all be dead anyway, so there’ll be no one around to tell me I’m wrong).

In the latest developments from our specific corner on this spinning blob of a planet we call home, Tadej Pogačar has announced a surprise decision to race the Giro d’Italia next year (and seems as chilled out as ever by the prospect), while Tom Pidcock has returned to cyclocross and resumed being an absolute quote machine.

We’ll start, however, with a moment to reflect on the demise this week of GCN+ and the GCN app, which will never be forgotten as media c-suite executives once again do their utmost to make the world a worse place. Congrats, dickheads.

Never trust the money men

This weekend saw the final races broadcast on GCN+ and the GCN app, drawing to a close the brightest period in televised cycling history, where you could watch *checks notes* the Ronde van Drenthe while sitting on the bus. One of those things that makes you glad to be alive in the year 2023 and not hiding from carnivore predators and the elements in a cave like our ancient forefathers did.

“In a few minutes, we’ll be broadcasting our last ever live race on GCN+,” GCN presenter Dan Lloyd posted to Twitter before the Namur Cyclocross World Cup.

“You’ll then have until Tuesday to watch any on demand racing or documentaries before it shuts down. It’s been a hell of a ride – I’ve loved every minute of it. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard on this project, and thanks to all of you who supported us along the way. The one good thing to come from the announcement of its closure was that those of us who worked on it got to see how much appreciation there was for it. I can tell you that it’s really meant a lot to everyone. As a reminder, you can continue to watch the same live coverage, with the same commentators and pundits, on Eurosport or Discovery+ in Europe or on Max from February in the US. For those elsewhere we will bring you updates as soon as we get them.”

An unfortuate trapping of these modern-day luxuries such as GCN+ are the mentally feeble and soulless c-suite executives who are paid handsomely to destroy good things that people like. The fact that American viewers will next year have to sign up to the ‘Max’ streaming service before also paying for the B/R Sports add-on in order to get their cycling coverage is enraging and feels not only like a huge step backward but a move that doesn’t take into account what is good for the audience.

What can we learn from this? Like at the tail end of 2022 with the demise of The Old Place, we are given another reminder to never trust the money men. They don’t care about you, they do not act in your interests. I have the privilege of being able to type out a heartfelt fuck you to the higher-ups at Warner Bros. Discovery who made the decision to pull the plug on something that so many people poured their working lives into and which meant a lot to the people who watched it all.

Our thoughts are with everyone at GCN losing jobs at a time of year when that is the last thing you need, and solidarity to those still employed at GCN (the web site will continue) and likely about to be forced to put up with a new untold level of bullshit from the powers that be who are messing with their thing. Sorry, rant over. GCN+, we sometimes took the mickey, but know you were and are loved.

At least we’ll always have this very real photo of GCNshire in southern England. A place where bike racing is streamed 24/7, the air is always thick with the aromas of boiled rice and Sean Kelly’s dulcet tones ricochet between the hills and through the valleys.

No quick step to the principal’s office needed

Last week we very much enjoyed the Julian Alaphilippe Soudal Quick-Step kit announcement video. But we were made aware of the striking similarities to that of an EF Education-Tibco-SVB’s Alison Jackson joint posted earlier in the year. As accusations of plagiarism took flight, Soudal Quick-Step told us that, actually, it was this 2022 video from the Liberty Flames college baseball team that offered them the inspiration.

Feed Zone 🥖

🤔 Chris Froome has told Gazzetta dello Sport there are no problems between him and Israel-Premier Tech boss Sylvan Adams. “I actually talk to Sylvan a lot,” Froome said. “But I understand the question. It is easy to get the wrong impression when certain comments appear in the media. Frankly, much of what he said has been blown out of proportion in the media. The reality is that we are very close. There are no problems between us.”

🎙️ It feels like everyone and their nan has a podcast these days, and now that Jumbo-Visma sports director Merijn Zeeman has unveiled Gamechangers, a podcast with his TV producer brother Thijs Zeeman, we think that every white man in the world now has a podcast to their name.

🏆 Fem van Empel beat Lucinda Brand in a sprint to claim victory at the X2O Trophy Herentals, while in the men’s race Mathieu van der Poel made a winning start to his cyclocross season, with second-place Tom Pidcock also making his return to the mud.

🇦🇺 Luke Plapp, Caleb Ewan, and Simon Yates will all line up for Jayco-AlUla at the Tour Down Under in January.

🇮🇲 Mark Cavendish’s coach, Vasilis Anastopoulos, has told GCN the sprinter won’t be doing a Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double again in 2024.

🇧🇪 Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado finished 17 seconds ahead of Puck Pieterse to claim the Namur Cyclocross World Cup win, as Tom Pidcock took victory in the men’s race ahead of Pim Ronhaar.

🇩🇪 The BEMER Cyclassics will now be organised by GRF, the German division of ASO, bringing all three major German races (along with Eschborn-Frankfurt and the Deutschland Tour) in under the ASO umbrella.

👴 In very unsurprising news, Alejandro Valverde considered returning to the professional peloton for the 2024 season. “My passion is cycling and competitive racing,” he told El País. “I still felt like a rider, at the beginning of 2023 I was having a very difficult time. Day by day the competition virus started to get weaker, but when the season started and I was still feeling good, I started to wonder if I had stopped too early.”

Cycling on TV – Bumper Festive Edition🌲📺

Tuesday December 19th – Thursday December 21st

No live racing 

Friday December 22nd

Cyclocross

Exact Cross, Mol – Elite Women
Eurosport/Flo (07:40-08:45 ET/12:40-13:45 GMT/23:40-00:45 AEDT)

Exact Cross, Mol – Elite Men
Eurosport/Flo (08:55-10:20 ET/13:55-15:20 GMT/00:55-02:20 AEDT)

Saturday December 23rd

Cyclocross

UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Antwerp – Elite Women
Eurosport/Flo (07:30-09:00 ET/12:30-14:00 GMT/23:30-01:00 AEDT)

UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Antwerp – Elite Men
Eurosport/Flo (09:00-10:30 ET/14:00-15:30 GMT/01:00-02:30 AEDT)

Sunday December 24th – Monday December 25th

No live racing 

NOTE: For the next races, detailed programme times are not yet available, please double check the stated start time of the event closer to the date.

Tuesday December 26th

Cyclocross

UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Gavere
Eurosport/Flo (07:30/12:30 GMT/23:30 AEDT)

Wednesday December 27th

Cyclocross

Superprestige Heusden-Zolder
Eurosport/Flo (07:30/12:30 GMT/23:30 AEDT)

Thursday December 28th

Cyclocross

Superprestige Diegem
Eurosport/Flo (12:20/17:20 GMT/04:20 AEDT)

Friday December 29th

Cyclocross

Exact Cross Loenhout – Azencross
Eurosport/Flo (07:40/12:40 GMT/23:40 AEDT)

Saturday December 30th

Cyclocross

UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Hulst
Eurosport/Flo (07:30/12:30 GMT/23:30 AEDT)

Sunday December 31st

No live racing …

Monday January 1st

Cyclocross

X20 Trophee Baal, GP Sven Nys
Eurosport/Flo (07:40/12:40 GMT/23:40 AEDT)

Tuesday January 2nd – Wednesday January 3rd

No live racing …

Thursday January 4th

Cyclocross

X20 Trophee Koksijde, Vlaamse Duinencros
Eurosport/Flo (07:40/12:40 GMT/23:40 AEDT)

🧦 Cyclocross fashion advice of the week

Tom Pidcock made a strong return to his cyclocross season with runner-up behind Mathieu van der Poel at Saturday’s X20 Trophee Herentals before winning the Namur World Cup.

Crucially, he’s also back to his best in post-race interviews, answering the question of why he wears white socks in the mud with: “Because blue and black socks are crap.” We couldn’t agree more. Guess this rules out the Brit ever moving to dsm-firmenich too, then.

You know what is white (but also comes in black and blue because capitalism demands it)? The first official Spin Cycle t-shirt. Available FREE to anyone who signs up for a new annual Escape Collective Insider membership, or available to purchase to anyone who has money over at our online store.

And finally …

Tadej Pogačar has announced a surprising 2024 programme, where he will race Strade Bianche, Milano-Sanremo, Tirreno-Adriatico, and possibly Liège-Bastogne-Liège before a Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double header, following up with tilts at the Olympic road title in Paris, and finally the two Canadian one-dayers as a lead-in to the Road World Championships in Zürich and a digestif of an attempted four-peat at the Tour of Lombardy.

There will be much speculation as to how the Slovenian will juggle all of this, but if he’s riding ahead of his teammates on the climb while wheelie-ing, we’re sure everything is going to be alright.

📢 Public service announcement

You are likely aware it’s Christmas next week, so we’re going to be adopting a temporary slimmed-down schedule to the regular Spin Cycle programming. Here’s our planned festive schedule:

Friday December 22: ❌ NO Spin Cycle.
Monday December 25: ✅ Spin Cycle Christmas Special.
Friday December 29: ❌ NO Spin Cycle.
Monday January 1: ✅ Spin Cycle Old Year/New Year Special. The regular Monday and Friday programming returns.

We hope you understand, and if you’re looking for something to fill the void, we were given the keys to the Placeholders Podcast Christmas Special while our fearless leader Caley Fretz is away on paternity leave, where we decided to do a big dumb quiz to help us look back on the year that was. Joined by Iain Treloar, Ronan McLaughlin and Kit Nicholson, vying for the prize of a probably-money-can’t-buy Rás Tailteann baseball cap and the title of Placeholder World Champion 2023.

Yes, Ronan McLaughlin questions whether three competitors fits the UCI regulations for a proper World Championships. That should inform you as to the exact flavour of this podcast. Keep your eyes peeled on the Placeholder feed wherever you usually get your podcasts.

🧺 Send us yer laundry pics

“Please find attached the pics from a laundry in a caravan park in Geraldton, Western Australia,” writes Murray, attaching today’s featured laundromat photo. “I was killing time waiting for my wife to return, browsing news and Spin Cycle when I realised, ‘Holy fuck I’m in a laundromat!’ I dutifully opened all the doors for you, except for the dryer we were using, enjoy.”

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: jonny.long@escapecollective.com

Until next time …

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