Jumbo-Visma was devastated to lose the yellow jersey on the penultimate stage of the 2020 Tour when Tadej Pogacar somehow knocked back the head of Jumbo GC star Primoz Roglic in a sensational performance against the watch.
There is no doubt that the Dutch roster is a formidable force, however. Roglic himself atoned for his Tour disaster by winning the Vuelta Espana that followed and in 2021 has already impressed at Paris-Nice with three stage victories.
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Meanwhile, Wout van Aert is a true superstar with an array of talent, coming second at Tirreno-Adriatico, fourth at Strade Bianche and, on Saturday, third in an exciting conclusion at Milan-San Remo.
However, with top runner Tom Dumoulin having taken a break from the sport, Wiggins believes chasing wins week after week may not be the smartest strategy for Jumbo-Visma in the context of their growing rivalry with Ineos Grenadiers, who are building their entire campaign to peak at the three Grand Tours and know exactly what it takes to win the biggest race of all.
“They’ve spread pretty thin, Jumbo-Visma,” Wiggins said on the last episode of his podcast. “Primoz in pursuit of Paris-Nice. There were calls for a lack of support for Van Aert in Tirreno-Adriatico for the GC. Lack of teammates at Milan-San Remo in the final. But their goal is the Tour de France and we can’t really chase everything.
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“It begs the question, where do you put your eggs and where do you put your team? It’s a very, very fragmented area in terms of quality and what people are capable of. We’re talking about a guy here at Van Aert who is able to win San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Tirreno overall, helping someone who can win Tour de France at Primoz Roglic.
“The question also arises as to whether he can win a Grand Tour himself, to which the answer is yes. Second in the TT world last year, second in the world road race last year. The guy is phenomenal. We are talking now, should we have more support for him?
Jumbo, they have to be careful. This is when Ineos does it really well. They are not panicking at all levels here.
“They crept in, crawled, maybe been criticized for their lack of performance this year, but here we are in Catalonia and what team they put in place. They are serious, make no mistake about it. Their goals are the Giro. d’Italia and the Tour de France and they know how to do it.
“I think Jumbo, since last year they could be accused of spreading very skinny and chasing everything a bit too much whereas last year with the lockdown and the lack of racing before the Tour de France, it’s them. almost favored because they selected their Tour team the previous December if you like, and they spent a lot of time together and they were very cool coming into the Tour.
“At this rate, I think they could be pretty exhausted as a team coming from the Tour de France, and not have the strength they had last year. They have already lost Tom Dumoulin, for other reasons. They are walking a tightrope, I think, when Ineos knows how to do it. Tried and tested.
“It is not about these races for the moment. This is the Tour de France and I think their lack of presence, even though they (Ineos) are present in some areas, but certainly on the bottom line results, will probably bode well for them in July.
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