Jumbo-Visma have taken the bold decision off announcing their Tour de France team months in advance of the race, with Primoz Roglic, Steven Kruijswijk and Tom Dumoulin all handed leadership roles. The rest of the team will be made up by Tony Martin, Wout van Aert, Sepp Kuss, Robert Gesink and Laurens De Plus.
Dylan Groenewegen, who has won four stages at the Tour de France, has not been selected for 2020, and will instead make his Giro d’Italia debut in May. Groenwegen will be joined by George Bennett.
Earlier this week, the team announced that Kruijswijk would lead the team at the Vuelta a España. Both Roglic and Dumoulin will skip the Giro and focus entirely on the Tour de France before heading to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The line-up for the Tour de France ensures that the team arrive at the race with the best possible chance of toppling Team Ineos, who have won the race every year bar one since 2012.
Dumoulin finished second in the Tour in 2018, while Kruijswijk finished third in 2019. Roglic has been given a slightly elevated status within the Tour team given that he won the Vuelta a Espana and finished third in the Giro d’Italia this year.
For Dumoulin, the idea of sharing leadership was a key factor in his decision to join the team from Team Sunweb. Speaking exclusively to Cyclingnews at the Jumbo-Visma training camp in Girona earlier this week, the 2017 Giro d’Italia winner said: “I came here because I didn’t want to be the only leader anymore. I really think that I can thrive in a group of riders that go for the same goal together. That’s what we’re going to do in the Tour.
“I didn’t like it in the last couple of years because if had a little cold before the Tour then everything was blamed on me. It’s very nice that a whole team is dedicated to you and you alone, but I never asked for that set up. But it happened at Sunweb and it also brought me a lot of success. I’m ready to take a new approach. We’ve now all got a chance.
"Of course, Primoz is now the guy and he was amazing this year, winning the Vuelta and being the number one ranked rider in the world. He’s definitely stepped up in the hierarchy. We’ll start with three leaders, try not to lose time and then we’ll see in the mountains who is best. Eventually somewhere near the last week we need to pick a card, or we can stick to the top with more guys.”
The idea of shared leadership was first raised in October when the team leaders – including Dumoulin – were asked to attend a closed dinner in the Netherlands. Groenewegen, Roglic, Kruijswijk, and Van Aert were all in attendance and asked to spell out their individual aims for the coming year. Dumoulin was quick to point out to those around him that he didn’t want to unsettle the team with his arrival and that a collectively strong team at the Tour de France was the best way of ensuring success.
At the same dinner Groenewegen made it clear to his colleagues that he wanted to wins stages in all three Grand Tours during his career and that he was willing to chase success at the Giro and the Vuelta, the latter of which starts in the Netherlands with a team time trial in 2020.
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“I definitely didn’t want to be the sole leader for a team,” Dumoulin told Cyclingnews. Going with three fresh leaders is our best shot at going for it. If we want to put all our cards on the table for winning the Tour, this is the best way of doing it.”
Raising the bar
For Roglic, the chance of leading at the Tour represents an important step in his career, but like those around him, he believes that collective strength will be key when it comes to competing for the yellow jersey. Jumbo-Visma pushed Team Ineos closer than most in 2019, but the British team still finished first and second in Paris. However, Roglic is arguably the most dangerous opponent facing the likes of Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas given that unlike Dumoulin he heads into the new season with a recent Grand Tour win under his belt.
“When I found out Tom was coming to the team I was really pleased because he makes the team stronger,” Roglic told Cyclingnews.
“I don’t think it complicates thing. We all want to win but we also want to be in the winning team. I have no problem working for him and there are no problems if he works for me. I think him coming raises the bar for the rest of the team.”
Roglic’s perception of strength in depth doesn’t just apply to the leadership of the team. He also praised the fact that the squad will be entirely focused around GC, with no distractions towards the sprints or the green jersey.
“The Tour line-up isn’t just about the leaders, we have a strong team heading to the start of the race," Roglic saids. "I hope that I can win. Everyone dreams about it, but I want to be part of the winning team. Maybe you can be worse and still win. You just need to be the best of the guys who are there. I just try and keep it simple.”
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Kruijswijk’s pivotal role
On paper, Kruijswijk starts as perhaps the third rider on the leadership ladder, especially given the team have already announced that his individual focus will come at the Vuelta later in the season. However, the experienced all-rounder could be instrumental in Jumbo-Visma’s overall success at the Tour de France in July.
The 32-year-old was third in the 2019 race – his best result in a Grand Tour – and will have a typical Tour build-up ahead of July. Like Dumoulin and Roglic, he emphasised the need for collective strength.
“It’s looking pretty promising. We’re going in with the three of us and they build the team around us. They’re building the team around us, and with Primoz, we have the best riders in the world this year. He’s a big threat but I proved myself with third in the Tour and we have Tom. We have a co-leadership, but the most important thing is that we have the yellow jersey in Paris,” he told Cyclingnews.
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