23.1.2021 door Katy Madgwick, Katy's opinions
It’s a great week to be a Team Jumbo Visma supporter. Hot on the heels of the news we’d all been waiting for, as Wout put pen to paper and quelled the doubters as to his future, we were treated to a season preview, along with announcements of team leaders and their schedules, and even a full team announcement for the Giro d’Italia. And that was just the beginning.
Let’s run down the key takeaways.
Primoz Roglic will be attempting to stamp his authority on the Tour de France again this year and the team he’ll have behind him have the chops to make it happen. The field will be deep but Jumbo Visma mean business and will no doubt be keeping a certain young Slovenian in check. Primoz will pass on the opportunity to defend his Vuelta title for the third year in a row but will be targeting the Olympic road race before heading to Canada in the autumn.
Wout van Aert’s schedule is packed and after a busy 2020 road season, followed by a block of cyclocross action, it will answer the questions some have been asking about his staying power. He’ll take on the Italian one-day races and lead the team for the cobbled classics before joining Rogla in France as the team target the green jersey in addition to the yellow. Of particular personal interest was the decision to send Wout to the Tour of Britain, and needless to say I am keeping everything crossed that the race goes ahead, despite the current situation.
Tom Dumoulin will support Wout at the classics and once again target the Tour de France, and Steven Krijswijk heads to the Tour to make it a triple threat of team leaders in possibly one of the most stacked line-ups in recent memory. He will also lead the team at the Vuelta de Espana.
It brought me great joy to see leadership opportunities for my two favourite super domestiques Sepp Kuss and George Bennett. With both guys out of contract at the end of this season, giving them their chance at leadership might be viewed as a bid by the team management to secure their loyalty into next season and beyond. George Bennett will seek a podium spot at the Giro d’Italia, a role he had been meant to fulfil in 2020, supported by a mixture of youth and experience. Sepp Kuss targets the tour of Catalunya and will perhaps co-lead alongside Kruijswijk at the Vuelta de Espana, depending on how the season pans out.
As for Dylan Groenewegen, it’s the low-key start to the season we were warned to expect. What’s perhaps more surprising is the lack of any grand tour on his schedule. It must have been a difficult call to make but the team management are clearly keen to reintegrate Dylan into the peloton gradually and not to take his acceptance from his peers for granted. A tough decision, undoubtedly.
All in all, it’s been a pretty exciting couple of days, beginning yesterday morning with Wout tossing pancakes and cleaning a swimming pool and finishing with a clearer picture of where we can expect to see our favourite riders in 2021. These are just my initial thoughts; with an absolute glut of content flooding the team site including an in-depth podcast (with interviews in English – be still my beating heart!), videos and individual rider features, it’s fair to say that it will take a while to process it all.
It goes without saying that all this is ‘covid-19-permitting’ but just for today, I’m going to imagine the sight of the black and yellow train with Wout and Tom at its head charging through the streets of Newcastle, and dream that, along with countless palmares and a season full of thrilling racing, it will all become a reality.