The history of Team Jumbo-Visma
Team Jumbo-Visma is a Dutch professional top sports team that is visible 365 days a year and performs at the highest level. The team’s long years of effort culminated in the squad winning the yellow jersey in the 2022 Tour de France. The foundation has been laid for a new organisational structure in Dutch top sports with the merger of a professional cycling and speed skating team.
This model revolves around innovation, knowledge sharing, talent development and joining forces. Not only in terms of sports but also commercially and communicatively. There is a new top sports culture that propagates ‘Dutch pride’ as an important core value thanks to dedication, development and sporting achievements. Victories at the highest level, world-class athletes and powerful campaigns inspire a new generation and an ever-increasing number of athletes and fans. Management, coaches, athletes and partners share knowledge, work together, and push each other to greater heights with one goal in mind: winning together!
As of 2013, Richard Plugge is the general manager of the cycling organisation. The team continued under the name Blanco Pro Cycling Team following its history with Rabobank. Before the Tour de France began, American company Belkin became the team’s name sponsor for a season and a half. Plugge announced a partnership with the Brand Loyalty skating team in 2014. Under the new moniker Lotto NL-Jumbo the cycling and speed skating teams continued to compete.
“The first years were a matter of survival. The most crucial task at the time was maintaining the sustainability of our team”, Plugge remembered. In 2015, only six races were won. “At the time, we decided to go back to the drawing board and draw up a new vision with several people”, sporting director Merijn Zeeman said. “We put our heads together and sketched our ideas on several flipcharts. We decided to draw up a long-term vision. Sometimes people would make fun of us, especially in the beginning. We chose to invest in talent development, equipment, workforce, knowledge, skills and nutrition, among other things. That whole process did not happen overnight.”
"The first years were a matter of survival, the most crucial task at the time was maintaining the sustainability of our team"
Jumbo remained the team’s primary sponsor when Lotto decided to stop sponsoring the team. Later, software firm Visma joined in, and together they were able to focus on the yellow dream—winning the Tour de France. “Thanks to Jumbo Supermarkets, we laid the foundation for a long-term vision. That was around 2016, and with the arrival of Visma in the winter of 2018, we could accelerate further. From those years on, we formulated the dream. It was the moment we said: We want to win the Tour. That has now been achieved”, Richard Plugge commented regarding Visma’s entry at the time. In fact, Team Jumbo-Visma became the world’s top cycling team in 2022. The squad held a dominant lead at the top of the UCI rankings. With 48 victories, Team Jumbo-Visma was the most successful team in the world that year.
Besides Jumbo and Visma, Cervélo, Campina and HEMA also joined the team for an extended period. “It has become a nice list of sponsors and suppliers”, Jac Orie, director of the skating team, said. “It is fantastic that all these A-brands committed themselves to Team Jumbo-Visma. This also underlines the companies’ confidence in speed skating and cycling and in Team Jumbo-Visma in particular.”
"It is fantastic that all these A-brands committed themselves to Team Jumbo-Visma"
Team Jumbo-Visma is a leader in Dutch top sports in knowledge, innovation, talent development and nutrition. All these elements have helped the team reach its peak in recent years. Wearing the yellow jersey, Jonas Vingegaard took the top step of the podium in Paris. It was the ultimate climax after the Dane had completed outstanding teamwork on the Col du Granon and the Hautacam. As a result, he also won the mountain classification.
His teammate Wout van Aert won the sprint classification and the accompanying green jersey with a record number of points, in addition to three stage wins. “People speak of the most beautiful Tour in years, partly due to Team Jumbo-Visma’s attractive riding. That is one of the nicest compliments we can get. Millions of people watched the stage towards Hautacam. They saw a cycling team controlling the race after years of detailed preparation”, Merijn Zeeman said.
Current and previous successful athletes on the team are Sven Kramer, Carlijn Achtereekte, Kjeld Nuis, Stefan Groothuis, Antoinette de Jong, Patrick Roest, Thomas Krol, Jutta Leerdam, Robert Gesink, Steven Kruijswijk, Dylan Groenewegen, Laurens ten Dam, Bauke Mollema, Tom Dumoulin, Wout van Aert, Marianne Vos, Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard. Representing Team Jumbo-Visma and its predecessors, these athletes achieved great success. The overall victory in the Tour de France, gold medals at the Olympic Games, two cycling monuments, three times the overall victory in the Vuelta a España, the podium in the Giro d’Italia, as well as stage victories and official classifications in the three grand cycling tours, and titles at speed skating World Distance Championships, World Sprint Championships and World All-Round Championships.
As of 2020, a development team is part of Team Jumbo-Visma. This team for riders in the U23 category aims to train cycling talents to become professionals. The first results are already noticeable. Olav Kooij, Gijs Leemreize and Mick van Dijke are talented riders who moved from the Development Team to the World Tour team in 2021. Sprinter Kooij has already managed to win a stage at the World Tour level. In the near future, Norwegians Per Strand Hagenes and Johannes Staune Mittet, among others, will also make the switch.
As of 2021, Team Jumbo-Visma also has its own women’s cycling team. It meant the next step in the team development for Team Jumbo-Visma. In line with the organisation’s philosophy, Team Jumbo-Visma Women strive for growth and development to lift the team to great heights. Plugge: “It is fantastic to make a significant contribution to national and international women’s cycling. With the arrival of this women’s team, we have completed Team Jumbo-Visma.”
"With the arrival of this women’s team, we have completed Team Jumbo-Visma"
Marianne Vos is, without a doubt, the team’s eye-catcher. The Tour de France Femmes made its debut in the summer of 2022. Vos rode in the yellow jersey for five days and won two stages. Riejanne Markus won the 2022 Dutch road championship and will ride in the red-white-and-blue jersey with sponsors Jumbo and Visma on the front for a year. That same year, the women’s cycling squad once again demonstrated how versatile Team Jumbo-Visma is as a sports organisation. Carlijn Achtereekte quit speed skating and switched to the cycling team.
The skaters have enjoyed success after success. They won numerous Olympic and world championship medals. Sven Kramer announced his retirement in the spring of 2022, but he continues to work with Team Jumbo-Visma as the team’s director of business development for the speed skating and cycling teams. Jutta Leerdam is another speed skater with a broad reach. She started performing in the yellow-and-black skating suit in 2022. Plugge sees Leerdam and the squad having success off the rink as well. “With their network, mentality, and expertise in top sports, Jutta and Sven can make a valuable contribution to the further growth of our team”, the general manager said.
Dreams have become a reality, but we dream on. Our mission is not yet accomplished. Team Jumbo-Visma will continue on its chosen path because there is still so much to win together!