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The Dutch rider revealed in an interview in the Dutch media that he was courted by Ineos Grenadiers and UAE Team Emirates before deciding to join Jumbo-Visma on a three-year deal.
Speaking to Helden magazine, the 30-year-old Dutch rider said it was Jumbo-Visma’s “upward” trajectory that tipped the balance for him.
“Jumbo-Visma has started a process in recent years in which you can clearly see that it is on an upward trend,” Van Baarle said in excerpts posted on Wielerfliets. “I think we can say that this is the best team in the peloton at the moment. I wonder if they can make me even better.”
After racing with Ineos Grenadiers since 2018, Van Baarle said he was ready for a new team to push him to a higher level.
“It was one of those moments, if I sign up now, I’ll probably stay with the same team for the rest of my career. Or am I trying to look elsewhere to see what they can get out of me?” he said. “Of course it’s great when you see those teams fighting for your signature. That certainly strokes my ego. That’s what you do it for.”
Also read: Van Baarle to join Jumbo-Visma
Van Baarle hit a new level the past few seasons, winning a silver medal in the 2021 road world championships, and winning Roubaix and finishing second at Tour of Flanders in 2022.
Despite offers from UAE Team Emirates and a contract extension deal to stay with Ineos Grenadiers, Van Baarle said he was lured away by Jumbo-Visma in part because he rode with the team’s development squad at the start of his career and also because he’s Dutch and Jumbo-Visma is a Dutch team.
“At Jumbo-Visma, I now feel a bit of ‘coming home.’ You would also like to be part of such a well-structured top team from your own country if you are Dutch,” Van Baarle said. “I was already part of the Rabobank training team and I also worked there with trainer Mathieu Heijboer at the time. I am really curious what he can get out of me in the coming years.”
Jumbo-Visma now a spring classics powerhouse
The arrival of Van Baarle will make Jumbo-Visma’s classics lineup as deep as any in the peloton.
He will join Wout van Aert, Christophe Laporte, and Tiesj Benoot in a formidable block ahead of the northern classics in 2023.
“With men like Wout van Aert, Christophe Laporte and Tiesj Benoot, there is a team that can leave a mark on those races,” Van Baarle said. “I think such a strong collective increases my chances of winning a classic. It is important that you are in the final with more guys. At Jumbo, you have that guarantee, because there are at least five riders who can participate deep in the final.”
Van Baarle said it will only be a plus to race alongside perennial favorite Van Aert.
“I don’t see that as a disadvantage. The most important thing is that Wout is not alone. That was the case last spring, outside the E3 Harelbeke,” Van Baarle said. “Having the collective majority is going to be our key to winning those great classics. My weakness is my sprint, but my strength is that I know how to win races in a different way.
“After Roubaix, I spoke again with the team management of Jumbo about the division of roles,” he said. “We know that Wout is the leader, but even after Roubaix, he was still enthusiastic about my arrival. That gives me the confidence that we are stronger together and that we can use that strength collectively.”