Road
Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Jumbo-Visma’s three GC leaders ‘a challenge, but a great opportunity’

New signing Tom Dumoulin may provide Jumbo-Visma the 'extra card' they need to battle Ineos in next year's grand tours.

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Team Jumbo-Visma admits extra work awaits with Tom Dumoulin aboard for 2020, but it presents a “great opportunity” with three grand tour leaders and the Tour de France on the checklist.

The team wants to win the Tour de France after claiming the Vuelta a España title. Dumoulin adds to a roster that already includes Steven Kruijswijk and Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic.

“I am very excited looking to 2020,” Jumbo-Visma Sport Director Addy Engels told VeloNews. “I mean it’s no guarantee that when you bring in a guy like Dumoulin… The thing is we have to keep working like we do. But yeah, we have again an extra GC card to play in the grand tours, which is really important.”

Dumoulin won the 2017 Giro d’Italia and placed second in both the 2018 Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. The 2019 season was ruined when he crashed and hurt his knee on May 14 in stage 4 of the Giro.

Team Manager Richard Plugge and his staff believe that Dumoulin could be the “extra card” that allows them to play for a Tour title in the same way Team Ineos does with its multiple options: Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal.

“Because it’s going to be more and more specific. You really have to pick the moment, you really have to prepare really specifically towards the grand tour. And, yeah, if you have an extra card to play and it’s always very valuable and useful. Tom wanted that too,” Engels added.

“There are also guys who really want to be the sole leader and want to work like that. But I really think it can work as an advantage if you have more ways to win. For Kruijswijk it can be an advantage too, for Primoz and Tom. It’s a challenge to work like that, but it can also be a great opportunity for the team.”

This year, the team won four stages including the team time trial in the Tour de France. Dutchman Kruijswijk placed third overall on the podium behind Bernal and Thomas.

Engels admits the pressure will grow after “an incredible” 2019 season that saw the team bag its first grand tour win. It was also Engels’ first time to direct a team to grand tour victory. He worked in Team Giant-Alpecin, which became Sunweb, and directed the 2015 Vuelta team when Dumoulin made his breakthrough as a grand tour rider, finishing sixth overall.

“For sure the pressure will grow. And that’s a good and normal thing,” he said.

“It’s difficult now to say what the goals will be. You can try to increase the number of wins from 52. I think for me personally it would be more interesting to raise the bar in the GC classification and make a goal of the Tour de France, but also look at the Giro and Vuelta. And try to be the team that that’s going to be steady and competing for GC wins.”