It has to be one of the most audacious transfer rumors of the summer but when trusted outlet Wielerflits first reported rumors within the peloton that Ineos Grenadiers had shown interest in approaching Primož Roglič eyebrows were certainly raised.
There’s no doubt that Jonas Vingegaard’s Tour de France win, and Roglič’s second DNF in as many years, certainly alters the pecking order at Jumbo-Visma but the notion of the Slovenian leaving at this point looks unthinkable, with both teams playing down the idea when approached for comment by VeloNews.
First and foremost, Roglič has a contract with the Dutch team until 2025. Regardless of whether he wants to leave or not the situation entirely depends on Jumbo-Visma’s motives and the team’s valuation in his future returns. It’s unlikely that they would be keen on strengthening a direct rival by allowing the team’s second best GC rider to walk away. It’s true that financial compensation could be offered, in the same way Team Sky snatched Bradley Wiggins back in 2009 but this situation has a different set of dynamics.
Secondly, Jumbo two-pronged leadership approach was pivotal to the team’s overall success at this year’s Tour de France. It was Roglic who helped break Tadej Pogačar on the Col du Granon stage, and there isn’t a rider at Jumbo-Visma who could have helped set up Vingegaard in the same manner. Sepp Kuss is strong but he doesn’t carry the level of respect or fear that Roglič does.
Thirdly, even if Vingegaard is given sole leadership at the Tour de France next season there is still the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta for Roglič to take the responsibility of team leadership.
When asked about the rumors, Jumbo-Visma’s lead sports director Merijn Zeeman said: “I know nothing about it. Primoz or his manager didn’t say anything about this.”
Then asked if he would entertain the idea of Roglic leaving, Zeeman replied with a simple: “What do you think?”
Over at Ineos Grenadiers, Rod Ellingworth told VeloNews that he had no information on the rumored move and that, “it was all news to him.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the speculation. Jumbo-Visma has gone big in the transfer market this summer, signing Dylan van Baarle, Wilco Kelderman, and a number of other riders to bolster the classics and GC attacks. At the same time, Vingegaard is likely to receive a new contract after winning the Tour de France for the first time, and Wout van Aert could also be in line for a bumper new deal after his incredible Tour exploits.
Tom Dumoulin is retiring, and that will free up cash, while other riders, such as Mike Teunissen are also expected to depart for other teams. Releasing Roglič, who will be 33 in October would clear funds for future investment in the team but at this point a move to a direct rival seems a long way off.
One has to question Ineos’s position too. They still need to see if Egan Bernal can come back from his career-threatening crash but the team has invested in youth, with Tom Pidcock, Ethan Hayter, Magnus Sheffield and Luke Plapp set to form the foundations of the team for years to come. None of those riders, at this point, look capable of winning a Tour de France in the next two to three years but paying a 33-year-old out of his contract does not automatically translate into Tour de France success.