The Dutch squad is happy with its current roster of largely “homegrown” talent, and took a pass on looking into the possibility of signing Froome.
“We were not interested when we saw that Froome was leaving Ineos,” Jumbo-Visma general manager Richard Plugge told VeloNews. “Of course, he’s a big rider and the best grand tour rider in the past decade.”
With home-built stars such as Steven Kruijswijk, third in the 2019 Tour, and Primož Roglič, winner of the 2019 Vuelta a España, coupled with the arrival of Tom Dumoulin for 2020, Jumbo-Visma will give Team Ineos its most serious challenge in years.
When Froome’s contract uncertainty hit the media, the team didn’t bite.
“We have a really good squad at the moment,” Plugge said. “His name didn’t pop up.”
It would have been hard to fit Froome into the Jumbo-Visma way of doing the things.
Plugge and his staff of coaches and trainers typically deploy an almost U.S.-sports-styled draft system, tapping developing and improving riders, and giving them the support to grow into leaders within their franchise. Under the team’s guidance, Roglič and Kruijswijk have emerged as world-class grand tour riders within the team’s ecosystem.
In fact, Dumoulin’s high-profile move to the team in 2020 was almost an anomaly in how the team typically recruits riders. The unexpected availability of Dumoulin, by far the Netherlands’ most successful contemporary grand tour rider, was simply too tempting for the Dutch team to pass up on.
Earlier this spring, four-time Tour winner Froome was looking for a new team where he could remain the undisputed grand tour leader, and with Jumbo-Visma already overflowing with GC talent, the fit was clearly not there.
Israel Start-Up Nation offered what Froome was looking for, and the blockbuster, multi-year deal was revealed last week.
“Riders coming and going to other teams, that’s not something I worry about too much,” Plugge said in a telephone interview. “That’s something for the other teams.”
Dumoulin’s high-wattage transfer to Jumbo-Visma is the exception for a team that typically recruits younger riders, such as Sepp Kuss, Dylan Groenewegen, George Bennett and Wout Van Aert, and gives them space and time to grow.
“We can only look at ourselves and be as good as we can be, and win races,” Plugge said. “What other teams do is none of my business.”