Team Jumbo-Visma misses out on top result in final Coppi e Bartali time trial
Tijmen Graat was the best-placed rider for Team Jumbo-Visma in the individual ti...
Team Jumbo-Visma presented the riders of the World Team today, not as planned just before Christmas at Move on the Stadionplein in Amsterdam, but during a training camp in Alicante. With this move, corona was hardly kept at bay.
Partly due to all the strict measures, the formation that presented itself to the media and via a live stream was also not complete in Spain. That did not keep the team of manager Richard Plugge from looking back at 2021 with pride and, above all, eagerly looking forward to the coming cycling year.
Last season Team Jumbo-Visma won one race after another, yet there is still plenty to wish for. “We want to compete for victory in the monuments”, said sporting director Merijn Zeeman. “And with Primoz (Roglic) and Jonas (Vingegaard) we are going for the highest achievable in the Tour as well.”
Via a live link from his quarantine address in the French Alps, Plugge additionally dwelt on his team’s extra-sports appeal. “Companies like to associate with us. This results in new partners, such as Vacansoleil on our women’s team’s shirts, and the growth of our Business Peloton, which we started last year. We are building a sustainable model that will allow us to remain successful in our sport in the future.”
Therefore, the development of up-and-coming talent continues to be a guiding theme at Team Jumbo-Visma. A novelty is the introduction of Young Team Jumbo-Visma. This team of ‘high potentials’ consists of riders from the development team, neo-pros from the World Tour team, and a few riders who have been riding at the highest level for a while, like Tobias Foss, David Dekker, Olav Kooij and Gijs Leemreize. With a well-thought-out race programme and specific race intentions, they are prepared for the next step in their careers. And through the Team Jumbo-Visma Academy and CyclingClassNL, young riders will continue to broaden the base.
"We are building a sustainable model that will allow us to remain successful in our sport in the future"
With the classics team, led by Wout van Aert, the riders who start racing soon were addressed. The core around the Belgian leader was further strengthened for next season with Christophe Laporte, Tosh Van der Sande and Tiesj Benoot. “I think we will be competing for victories there. That is the goal in any case”, Zeeman said.
“These riders have already won their spurs. Christophe has already shown that he can get far in the classics. I think he was one of the surprises of 2021. We spoke with him at length, analysed his data and discussed his ambitions. There is still a lot to gain, particularly in terms of performance. Much has already been said about Tiesj. We are super happy with him. His availability was a big opportunity for us. He has been one of the best in the world in the classics and the grand tours for many years. When we look at Tosh, apart from the fact that he has already been active in finals such as the Amstel Gold Race and Dwars door Vlaanderen, he strikes us as a brilliant rider. He’s very good at positioning and reading races. He makes our classic team stronger.”
The Giro and the Vuelta also passed in review on a cloudy Costa Blanca. Tom Dumoulin was asked about his planned participation in the Giro and his love for Italy. However, the team could not say much about the Vuelta. That selection will only be made after the Tour, but Zeeman made it clear that the start in the Netherlands inspires him to put together an orange-tinted formation that should do well in the opening team time trial.
Much attention was obviously paid to the Tour de France. After podium finishes of Steven Kruijswijk, Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard, the French stage race is again the main goal for Team Jumbo-Visma in 2022. Zeeman: “In 2021 we had our best Tour ever, with four stage wins and second place in the general classification. We will do everything to be the best version of ourselves in July, but we know the competition is strong. Tadej Pogacar is the top favourite again and we are one of the challengers.”
Six of the eight names appearing at the start in Denmark are already known: in addition to both leaders, they are Steven Kruijswijk, Sepp Kuss, Rohan Dennis and Wout van Aert. The last two names will be announced in May. Zeeman: “First, we have to get through the hectic opening week without any injuries. The Tour is the biggest race in the world and the hardest to win, but we find it a fabulous challenge. We are looking forward to it.”