Spinny-Wheel Gate Returns! Was Van Empel Using A Motor? Do You Even Care?

Just when you thought it was safe to charge up the motor on your trusty steed, someone has to go and ruin it for the rest of us…

Yes, we are back in ‘Spinny Wheel-Gate’ territory yet again thanks to a crash at the Tour of Denmark involving Vini Zabu rider Etienne van Empel’s bike and Martin Toft Madsen of BHS-PL Beton Bornholm.

Madsen chose words that go way beyond a dog whistle, this was more like hanging out a freshly-skinned, still living baby seal pup over a thrashing pod of Orcas.

‘This is why I don’t like eBikes’. Brilliant, but careful with that seal Martin, you might lose a forearm…

To this scandalous click bait (love it), track rider Dan Bigham tried to break the internet by talking about something called, um… ‘sky-en-see’? How to pronounce that strange word?

And was quickly and rightfully rebuked by @AndyTurner132:

This reminded me of a joke I heard the other day. A guy with Covid symptoms is in the back of an ambulance and sees that they’ve sped past the hospital.

‘Aren’t you taking me to the hospital to see a doctor?’

What?! Don’t be ridiculous! We’re going to The Internet! There are far more knowledgeable experts there!’

Van Empel certainly took a tumble, going by the state of his jersey afterwards, though nothing was broken. Madsen seemed to be ok too.

Vini Zabu were in the headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier this year, when Matteo De Bonis tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition control in March and teammate Matteo Spreafico got nabbed at the Giro last October (banned for 3 years for Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) Enobosarm, otherwise known as Ostarine). The team was banned for a month over April and May and had to hand back the wildcard for the Giro that they’d received, which must have been sickening for the clean riders on the squad.

VZ are, well, let’s just say they are not very good at stopping their riders doping – or perhaps they are not good at stopping their riders from failing dope tests (take that as you may), as the team has failed a rather sickening nine doping tests in the last 12 years.

30 days for these latest positive tests is really rather pathetic and doesn’t do much to put the onus not just on the riders but on the management to make sure the team is clean.

I don’t know Madsen but, let’s just say that you are a clean rider and you know about VZ’s ban this year and think it’s laughable, and know they’ve had nine cases in 12 years, and you might be like ‘Screw this team’ – and then this happens and there’a a video and you’re thinking ‘OK well, screw this team – ”This is why I don’t like eBikes.’” Just a thought.

So, was it a motor causing the spinning wheel in this case? I dunno. I’m not here to throw suspicion on Van Empel, Madsen did a pretty good job of that, however, it is important to also discuss the state of the team he rides for, not to tar Van Empel, but to state those ‘unpleasant’ facts that most people don’t want to hear.

Just over there please…yes that’s it, just under the carpet, right next to the rest of it…

Seriously, should this team even be racing right now?

I’ll say I don’t know, even though I do, and I’ll also say that nothing surprises me anymore in this sport, and it’s been that way for over 30 years.

Martin Toft Madsen, he’s got a big old spoon in his back pocket!

Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

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