Regardless, they’re still going strong, with nearly all of their big names heading to Brest next week for another shot at Tour glory. This time around, there is no broken shoulder for Steven Kruijwsijk, nor a knee injury for Mike Teunissen.All the big names in rock climbing and road captains are part of the team, with the exception of Tom Dumoulin, who will be aiming for the Olympic Games after being absent for several months from the race in early 2021, and George Bennett, who raced the Giro d’Italia.
Bennett’s absence is one of only two changes from the 2020 squad, along with Amund Grøndahl Jansen, who moved to BikeExchange this winter. The talented all-rounder Jonas Vingegaard is making his debut for the team, which also has 34 Tour appearances.
Sepp Kuss, Robert Gesink and Tony Martin round out the squad, which again looks to be among the strongest in the race, and is part of a small group of teams that can claim to compete with the strength of Ineos Grenadiers. Read on for our analysis of Jumbo-Visma’s 2021 Tour de France squad.
- Age: 31
- Laps run: The third
- Best result: Second in 2020, three stage victories
For the third time, the Slovenian leads the Tour de France team of Jumbo-Visma with the yellow jersey in sight. Last year he was the number one favorite for success in the delayed race, but this time around he will share that status with his compatriot, and the only man who could beat him, Tadej Pogačar.
While last summer we knew Roglič was in great shape after winning a stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné and losing the lead, this time his status is fundamentally unknown. The 31-year-old hasn’t raced from Liège-Bastogne-Liège at the end of April at all, so there’s obviously no way to assess his form before the start of the race in Brest.
He of course won three stages in Paris-Nice and the overall standings in Itzulia Pays Basque earlier in the season, so we know what level to expect when he returns to the peloton. There’s the “problem” that riders who miss the traditional pre-Tour warm-up races don’t tend to win in July, although that’s because Tour competitors typically run them.
Once again, it looks like Pogačar will be Roglič’s main competition in July, although once again the Dutch team appear stronger than UAE Team Emirates. As well as battling the 22-year-old and the assembled power of Ineos, Roglič also hopes to avoid the end-of-race fainting he has been prone to, especially during that devastating final time trial last year.
- Age: 26
- Laps run: Of them
- Best result: 20th in 2020, two stage victories
The Belgian, second leader of Jumbo-Visma, is another rider who has not been in action for more than two months. Van Aert’s photo-finish victory at the Amstel Gold Race in mid-April was his last race, so like Roglič we have little idea about his form before the Tour.
Van Aert, of course, made a star turn in last year’s race, winning two sprint stages and playing an astonishing turn as a mountain maid en route to a top 20 that no one expected.
This year, he looked ready to fight for the yellow jersey in the first two stages of the climb in Brittany, but he tempered expectations in preparation for the race after an appendectomy in late May and a loss of training time that resulted.
Yet even though an early yellow jersey is a less likely prospect than before, if Van Aert can achieve top form in opening week – ahead of visiting the Alps in Stages 8 and 9 – he may again be a real contributor when the road slopes.
A green jersey offer seems less likely, however, even with eight flat sprint stages on the menu. Van Aert certainly has the talent and the speed for it, but the combination of working for Roglič and the loss of training following recovery from his appendectomy makes it seem like a distant prospect in July.
- Age: 34
- Laps run: Five
- Best result: Third in 2019
Last year, Kruijswijk was to be part of a leadership triumvirate alongside Roglič and Dumoulin, and the year before he was a team leader on the podium in Paris. In 2021, the 34-year-old will certainly be fully committed to working for the Slovenian.
Kruijswijk is part of the squad the team locked up in January, although since then their results haven’t been eye-catching at all. 29th in Paris-Nice, 22nd in Catalonia, 21st in Romandie and 15th in Dauphiné are its results in 2021 so far, far from third in Andalusia, fifth in Catalonia and sixth in Romandia two years ago.
Still, the Dutchman will be a vital part of Roglič’s support team and will certainly be one of the last men to stay with the high mountain team managers, if not the last. He would probably be the rider to ride if something happened to Roglič, although you would feel the ambition would be to finish in the top 10 rather than repeat his 2019 podium.
- Age: 26
- Laps run: A
- Best result: 15th in 2020
Kuss’ stock has only increased since this time last year, with the Coloradan going from a stage win and top 10 at the Dauphiné to a key role in Roglič’s second place in the Tour and then his second victory at the Vuelta a España. weeks later.
This year he also appears to be in great shape for the Tour. The pure climber’s worth won’t become fully apparent until halfway through the race, but sixth places on two of the Dauphiné’s last trios of mountain stages showed he is back close to his best.
Kuss’s value to the team is so high that he was confirmed to the Tour squad months ago and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was one of the only domestic non-Ineos to stay. in the GC group before the main contenders start attacking.
The Tour will be the fifth that Kuss has raced alongside Roglič, joining Kruijswijk (fifth), Martin (sixth) and Gesink (sixth) as an experienced and well-organized team around the leader. Whatever problems Jumbo-Visma has on the Tour, a lack of communication or understanding should not be one of them.
- Age: 24
- Laps run: 0
- Best result: N / A
Vingegaard is the only man on the squad not to be part of the squad announced in January. The 24-year-old replaces Dumoulin, who was originally absent from the Tour before his layoff.
The Norwegian is an exciting young rider who turned pro with Jumbo-Visma in 2019, making his Grand Tour debut in last year’s Vuelta. This year he has to his credit a stage victory at the top of the UAE Tour, as well as two stages and the general classification at Coppi e Bartali. A fantastic spring was crowned by taking second place behind Roglič in Itzulia.
He is also in good shape now, having finished seventh in the Dauphiné time trial and taking second place in the final finish at the top of Les Gets. He will have little or no chance of driving for himself on the Tour, but he could very well be a key cog in Roglič’s machine. Great things await Vingegaard.
- Age: 35
- Laps run: New
- Best result: Fourth in 2010
Gesink is one of the two main road captains of this experienced team, with half of the team over 30 years old. With nine Tours under his belt, he is the second most experienced man on the team and a key support rider for the mountains.
He was once a Grand Tour contender himself, of course, with five top 10s to his name, but he is now comfortable in that role of mountain servant. He is no longer as strong a climber as Kuss or Kruijswijk, but his knowledge – and pace – is still invaluable.
- Age: 36
- Laps run: 12
- Best result: 35th in 2009, five stage victories
The four-time world time trial champion has moved almost exclusively to a domestic role since joining Jumbo-Visma in 2019. The veteran German is a rival to Tim Declercq from Deceuninck-QuickStep for time spent at the time. ‘front of the pack, spending hours doing the less glamorous job of leading the way and regulating the gap at the break.
Every GC-focused team needs an “engine room” from a driver like Martin, someone who is happy to be in control of the race situation for hours on end. Thanks to the new UCI rules on driving positions, he won’t be riding with his arms draped over the bars like he did last year, but he will be up there in the lead, there’s no doubt about it.
- Age: 28
- Laps run: Of them
- Best result: A stage victory
The Dutchman missed last year’s Tour due to a knee injury suffered in an accident at a training camp in July, but he’s back this time around, two years after the stage victory in Brussels which saw him wear yellow for two days.
He returns with only 13 days of racing in his legs through the Tours of Hungary and Romandie, after suffering another season-altering accident during a training camp in February. He was announced for the Tour squad the month before and poses another threat to sprints alongside Van Aert – two fast men being an extremely rare sight in modern GC-driven teams.