Primož Roglič will get another chance to win the Tour de France in 2021, with Jumbo-Visma once more building a team around the two-time Vuelta a España winner.
Roglič finished second in the Tour de France in 2020 after seeing his yellow jersey hopes crushed in the final time trial by Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) but the Jumbo-Visma rider will have Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk by his side as he looks to win his third Grand Tour in as many seasons.
Jumbo-Visma announced their Tour line-up months in advance last year and they repeated the move this year, announcing their eight-rider team at their training camp in Spain on Friday.
The rest of the Jumbo-Visma team for the Tour de France includes Wout Van Aert, who won two stages in 2020, Tony Martin, Sepp Kuss, Robert Gesink and Mike Teunissen, who won a stage and wore the yellow jersey in the 2019 Tour.
The Tour de France starts in Brest on June 26 and arrives in Paris on July 18. George Bennett is set to lead Jumbo-Visma at the Giro d’Italia in May, while Kuss and Kruijswijk have been penciled in for the Vuelta a España in the second half of the season.
Roglič will also target the Ardennes races and then possibly the Olympics Games, should the latter take place.
“Normally I’ll start with Paris-Nice. It’s quite a late start but at the same time I was planning the same for last year,” Roglič said from his home in Monaco and not the Spanish training camp after coming into close contact with a COVID-19 case.
“Hopefully the first races will go okay and I’ll be able to start at Paris-Nice. Then I go to the Basque Country, and then some new challenges with the Spring races like Amstel, Flèche [Wallonne] and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”
“The Olympic Games area big goal, and they only take place once every four years. The road race is quite challenging and it will be fun to be part of that.”
However, it’s the Tour that forms the centerpiece of Roglič’s season.
“The plan is that we all come there at the highest level possible. Then we’ll see how it goes and who will be the strongest in the end. Studying the route is really important, like we have done in all the other years. I’ve not done the recons of the time trials or the other stages that I don’t know but definitely I will do this and be prepared as possible,” he added.
“With three we can push the others to do more things, then it’s not just on me to control. Tom or Kruijswijk can do things, and then the others need to move. We just need to keep the race moving in our direction.”
Team director Merijn Zeeman outlined the team’s plans for the season, which also sees Dumoulin take on some of the cobbled Classics, including the Tour of Flanders for the first time, and stressed that there was more to the team than just a singular focus on this Tour.
“Winning the Tour de France would be fantastic but for me it’s also about the process and knowing that the moment will come – hopefully with this generation or the next,” he said.
Team manager Richard Plugge is aiming high and that means winning the Tour de France.
“In France there is some unfinished business to do, but we had an incredible year in 2020, and a lot came out of that. The bar is high but we need to jump over that again this year and try and jump over that again.”
Jumbo-Visma’s eight-man line-up
- Age: 31
- Tours raced: 4
- Best result: 2nd in 2020
Despite suffering a crushing loss in 2020, the Slovenian remains one of the most consistent riders in the peloton and is ranked number one in the WorldTour for a reason.
Since 2018 he has finished no lower than fourth in the last five Grand Tours he’s started, while his ability to bounce back after the Tour loss last year ensured he ended the campaign with another significant haul. The 2021 route looks ideal for him and his team, but the one concern is his final time trial, which his rivals will now look to exploit.
- Age: 30
- Tours raced: 6
- Best result: 2nd in 2018
The Dutchman moved to Jumbo-Visma in 2020 in order to finally crack the Tour de France but Roglič’s consistency has so far put paid to that.
Dumoulin remains an incredibly talented rider and on all but two or three other WorldTour teams he would be considered the main leader but he looks set to ride as a plan B for a second year in the Tour.
The route arguably favours a fully-fit Dumoulin over Roglič but Jumbo-Visma are backing their Slovenian all-rounder at this point. However, as we saw last year in the build up to the Tour, a lot can happen between now and July – or whenever the Tour actually takes place.
- Age: 33
- Tours raced: 5
- Best result: 3rd in 2019
Kruijswijk missed last year’s Tour de France due to the crash and injuries he suffered at the Critérium du Dauphiné but the experienced campaigner will be given a somewhat protected role once more as he provides much needed cover in the mountains and an additional weapon that could neutralize a number of key rivals and their teams.
The 33-year-old is also in a contract year and, with just 16 days of racing in last year’s campaign, his build-up for the Tour will be fascinating to watch as it develops.
Wout Van Aert
- Age: 26
- Tours raced: 2
- Best result: 2 stage wins in 2020
The Belgian recently pledged his long-term future to the team and he will no doubt be a force in the Classics arena for the next few years. His Tour de France selection is of course a no-brainer given that he can juggle the demands of a super domestique with the thirst for hunting down stage wins.
If there was a TTT in the route then Van Aert would be another one of Jumbo-Visma’s stars but there’s still more than enough terrain for the Milan-San Remo winner to strut his stuff and support a fully fledged GC bid.
- Age: 26
- Tours raced: 1
- Best result: 15th in 2020
The American climber shone as Roglič’s last helper in the mountains last year, even securing 15th place for himself on his Tour debut. He has formed a strong partnership with Roglič, supporting him at his past four Grand Tours, including those two Vuelta wins.
- Age: 34
- Tours raced: 9
- Best result: 5th in 2010
This will mark the veteran rider’s 10th Tour de France and, while his GC days have faded, the 34-year-old is still one of the most consistent and hard-working climbers in the modern peloton.
In last year’s Tour, and again the Vuelta, Gesink also showed that he can be relied upon over the flat roads and smaller climbs, which during a three-week race is vital for team that might be nursing a few injuries. His experience is second to none within the team, and ensures that he gets the nod ahead of some of the younger climbers for at least one more roll of the dice.
- Age: 35
- Tours raced: 12
- Best result: 5 stage wins between 2011-2015
Now into his third year at the team, Martin looks like part of the Jumbo-Visma furniture and has established himself as their most reliable domestique for the flat roads.
His duties in the opening week will be pivotal for the team as they look to offer Roglic shelter from the conditions and the terrain, but it’s in the medium mountains where Martin can soak up as much pressure as possible before giving way to the fresher riders on the team.
- Age: 28
- Tours raced: 2
- Best result: A stage win and a spell in yellow in 2019
No disrespect to Amund Grøndahl Jansen, who performed admirably last year and did a lot of the work that the television cameras don’t often pick up but Teunissen is an upgrade in terms of his ability and versatility.
The 28-year-old was something of a forgotten force in 2020 due the fact that he only raced 15 day in total because of a knee injury but the season before he enjoyed a breakthrough year with a Tour stage, a day in yellow, and a string of other wins to his name.
Like Van Aert, his focus will be on the Classics this spring but his inclusion in the Tour is a canny move given the route in the first week and the cover he can offer both the GC and stage hunting arms of the squad.