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While you might think that January would be a less than busy time of year for a cycling team director—after all, there isn’t any racing going on—that’s far from the case.
“There’s always a lot to do,” said Grischa Niermann, this week’s guest on Bobby & Jens. The former domestique turned team director graciously took some time out of his busy schedule preparing the 2022 Jumbo-Visma campaign to talk about leading one of the best teams in professional cycling.
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Before Grischa found himself directing the likes of Wout van Aert and Primoz Roglič, he was a rider himself who spent practically his entire career as a loyal domestique at Rabobank. His long tenure at that team led right into a career on its junior development team, where he cut his teeth at lower stakes events before moving up to his current WorldTour position.
Grischa takes us inside the management role of a top team like Jumbo-Visma and what it takes to make it. Jens also offers up his very specific theory about who and what it takes to be successful in the job — it’s definitely not for everyone. Things can get tricky, especially when you have one of the top-rated teams with the best riders. Grischa discusses balancing the talent on a team that has no shortage of stars, from classics specialists to Grand Tour winners. “It’s difficult, but it plays a big role, the management of the egos.”
There’s also some insight into managing Wout van Aert’s schedule and the decision to have him skip the world cyclocross championships, in Arkansas, this week, despite him being more than capable of winning it all. How do the riders and team management settle on priorities?
Listen to this week’s episode for the full discussion.
Bobby & Jens is a weekly VeloNews podcast brought to you by Zwift. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.