The Dutch team are one of the longest-running in the sport, most famous for the Rabobank era from 1996 to 2012. Doping scandals shredded their reputation and a few fallow years followed, but in the past three or four seasons they have been on the up and have built one of the strongest squads in the world.
In Primoz Roglic they have the world’s number-one ranked rider who can win on all fronts, while Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk help form one of the strongest Grand Tour units. Sprinter Dylan Groenewegen will miss much of the season through suspension but Wout van Aert is a favourite for each Classic he enters.
Manager: Richard Plugge
Squad size: 28
Average age: 27.8
How did they fare in 2020?
WorldTour ranking: 1
They might have only pipped Deceuninck-QuickStep to top the ranking but despite winning 16 fewer races than the Belgian team, Jumbo-Visma were well worth their status as the world’s best.
They won two of the four Monuments that were held in 2020 – Wout Van Aert at Milan-San Remo and Primoz Roglic at Liège-Bastogne-Liège – and finished runner-up at the other two – Van Aert at Tour of Flanders and George Bennett at Il Lombardia. As for stage racing, Roglic won the Vuelta a España and finished runner-up at the Tour de France in a truly remarkable campaign.
There will, however, have been major disappointment in the way Roglic was usurped by his compatriot Tadej Pogacar on the penultimate day in France.
Bouncing back to win Liège and the Vuelta was extraordinary but there’ll still be a sense of unfinished business. Another sour note is sprinter Dylan Groenewegen’s ongoing nine-month suspension for the crash at the Tour de Pologne soon after racing had restarted.
Yet it was still a season to savour as they seemingly usurped Ineos Grenadiers as the leading collective force in Grand Tour racing.
The Slovenian is the complete package. He can time trial with the world’s best, he can climb with the world’s best, and he can even sprint for precious time bonuses and in one-day races.
The way he bounced back from the Tour de France disappointment to win Liège and the Vuelta – when most would have hung up their wheels for the year – showed he has the mental strength to go with the physical qualities. He’ll be the team’s chief Grand Tour leader – most likely focusing on the Tour de France again – while anything from short stage races to Monuments are within his grasp.
Wout van Aert
The Belgian won his first Monument this year and, after winning Strade Bianche and placing second at Flanders, looks set to be a leading figure in the Classics over the next five to 10 years.
He can also win bunch sprints, time trials, and latest of all, it turns out he climb better than anyone dared expect. After his domestique displays in the mountains at the Dauphiné and Tour, it’s not ridiculous to suggest he has a future in stage racing as well.
It will be interesting to see if a clear green jersey candidate will be happy to keep working for others in July but if so Jumbo-Visma have an absolute luxury of a domestique on top of everything else.
The 2017 Giro d’Italia seems a long time ago now but Dumoulin can’t be written off as a Grand Tour contender. His exit from the Vuelta a España was far from ideal, but there were mitigating circumstances in the time he’d spent on the sidelines. In the meantime, he finished seventh at the Tour and Dauphiné while working for Roglic, and there was enough there to suggest he could yet return to his best. If he has a good winter he will have a good case for leadership of a Grand Tour.
The main strength is Roglic, but also, by extension, the willingness of others to get behind the Slovenian. Dumoulin, Van Aert, and Bennett all set a significant portion of their personal ambitions aside, while the partnership between Kuss and Roglic is one of the best in the sport at the moment. There will be question marks over how resources are spread but for now the management have cultivated a highly fruitful team spirit.
It’s hard to spot too many gaps in the armoury of a team that have established themselves as the leading force in stage racing. One potential concern is the reliance on Roglic and Van Aert for victories. The pair picked up 18 wins between them, with Dylan Groenwegen (3), George Bennett, and Sepp Kuss the only others to raise their arms. When you consider that 14 different QuickStep riders won races in 2020, it’s a significant difference. What deepens that concern is the fact that Groenewegen will miss half of the 2021 season due to his suspension.
Jumbo-Visma took a big stride forward in 2020, not just winning a Grand Tour and two Monuments but in the way they rode a race they didn’t win – beating Ineos at their own game at the Tour de France. They dictated proceedings but left empty-handed and there will be fierce determination to go back and try to set the record straight.
Laurens De Plus has left but Sam Oomen arrives to ensure a Grand Tour department still packed with talent. Whether they choose to pile their eight best riders into the Tour team, or spread their resources more evenly this year, remains to be seen. They’ll be a leading force across the board in 2021 but, with former Tour de l’Avenir winner Tobias Foss on board and a number of new signings made this year, this incarnation of the long-running Dutch team is here to stay.