VeloNews Awards 2019: Jumbo-Visma, team of the year
This story appeared in the November/December print issue of VeloNews Magazine.
Can we call Jumbo-Visma a super team? In terms of star power, it hardly competes with the likes of Team Ineos, Movistar, or Deceuninck-Quick-Step. What it lacks in personality, however, it has amply made up for on the road in 2019.
While Quick-Step dominated the volume game with 65 wins, the Dutch squad garnered a respectable 62 victories, second only to its Belgian rivals.
What makes Jumbo-Visma such a powerful squad is the diversity of its talent: it’s not just a classics squad, or a grand tour team, or a sprint-focused outfit. It competes everywhere.
Some highlights: Star GC man Primož Roglič challenged for victory in the Giro, until fading late in the race and, ultimately, finishing in third place. Of course, he fully redeemed himself at the Vuelta a España, dominating the race with poise.
Teammate Steven Kruijswijk—impressively supported by Laurens de Plus and George Bennett—challenged Team Ineos throughout the Tour and ended up on the podium, while the team took an impressive four stage wins.
The team’s sprinter, Dylan Groenewegen, continued his skyward trajectory, grabbing his third stage win at the Tour, and helping power the squad to victory in the team time trial. Wout van Aert energized the classics season, bringing Jumbo-Visma close to the podium in Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. His wins at the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour confirmed what most already knew: the kid has loads of talent.
According to Richard Plugge, the team’s general manager, Jumbo-Visma still has work to do to become a super-squad.
“We are still not an Ineos or a Deceuninck-Quick-Step. We still want to get to a higher level, and step by step we are getting closer to our objective,” Plugge said.
With the team’s recent signing of former Giro winner Tom Dumoulin, the always-measured Plugge may soon recognize the fact, like so many others already do, that his team is at the top of the WorldTour.