De Plus, 24, currently riding with Jumbo-Visma, has been linked to a move to Team Ineos, with Oomen, also 24, looking likely to fill his slot at the Dutch team. The move would mark significant steps for the pair, who have been making their mark as two of the top young climbers in the peloton.
De Plus linked to three-year deal with Team Ineos
Dutch outlet WielerFlits has reported that De Plus has been scooped by Team Ineos in a three-year deal. The young Belgian shepherded teammate Steven Kruijswijk through the mountains on his way to this year’s Tour de France podium, and took the overall at last year’s Binck Bank Tour.
Having been slated to start this summer’s Tour riding in support of his powerful Jumbo-Visma team since December last year, news came earlier this week that De Plus was bumped out of the Tour roster to instead lead the team at the Giro d’Italia. Speculation immediately arose as to whether the shift in the young Belgian’s schedule was a result of an ongoing illness or contract grumblings within the team.
— Laurens De Plus (@LaurensDePlus) June 18, 2020
De Plus took to Twitter Thursday to dampen some of the flames of speculation, saying “the decision to focus on the Giro d’Italia this year was made jointly with my team.” However, his final statement of “the fact that I also have to make choices in the longer term is separate from my program” leaves the door open for a move to Team Ineos.
Oomen opts for Jumbo-Visma
Dutch talent Oomen is out of contract with his Sunweb team this winter, and he’s odds-on favorite to fill De Plus’ shoes at Jumbo-Visma.
AD.nl reports that Sunweb is not looking to renew deals with Oomen or its other GC hope, Wilco Kelderman, at the close of this season. The Dutch outlet reports that Oomen will instead ride for Jumbo-Visma in 2021.
“We have great ambitions for the future and strive for the utmost. We spoke to both riders, but as a team we are not convinced,” the team stated. “We have made a conscious decision not to make them an offer at this stage. This means that we accept that they will look around.”
Oomen, ninth in the 2018 Giro d’Italia and a key workhorse for Tom Dumoulin during the Dutchman’s spell at Sunweb, would make a ready-made replacement for De Plus at Jumbo-Visma.
Should both Oomen and Kelderman leave Sunweb, the team would face something of a GC vacuum having lost talisman Dumoulin at the close of 2019. However, with rumors of Romain Bardet possibly coming aboard in a move from Ag2r-La Mondiale, Sunweb would have an obvious new leader for stage races.
Neither Jumbo-Visma nor Team Ineos has yet confirmed any news of contracts being signed, but VeloNews.com will update the situation as the transfer window’s “silly season” rumbles on.