With just under a month until the Tour de France, Jumbo-Visma have unveiled their line-up. Wout van Aert is set to make his Grand Tour debut, alongside the team’s experienced leaders Dylan Groenewegen and Steven Kruijswijk.
The team will be looking to Groenewegen for stage wins, while Kruijswijk is their general classification hope. Groenewegen has three Tour de France stage wins in his pocket after winning on the Champs Elysees in 2017 as well as taking two victories last season, before he abandoned due to injuries sustained in a crash. Groenewegen has been one of the dominant sprinters this season with seven victories already.
Kruijswijk finished fifth overall at last year’s Tour just behind his teammate Primoz Roglic, who won’t be racing the Tour de France after he took third place at last month’s Giro d’Italia. Kruijswijk has had a solid season so far with top 10 finishes in each of the stage races he’s ridden. He is riding the Criterium du Dauphine, along with Van Aert, as his final preparation for the Tour.
Van Aert is a surprise addition to Jumbo-Visma’s selection of eight riders, with the cyclo-cross star only stepping up to WorldTour level this season. After completing his cyclo-cross season with second at the World Championships, Van Aert rode his second full Classics campaign earlier this year, finishing on the podium at Strade Bianche and E3 BinckBank Classic and taking sixth at Milan-San Remo. In a short video posted to his Twitter account, Van Aert thanked the team for the opportunity to ride.
“I will make my Grand Tour debut a little earlier than expected,” he said. “I will be at the start line at the Tour de France next month in Belgium. It’s a super nice thing for me. I want to thank the team for this opportunity and the team for their support. I really look forward to lining up with a strong team. They get my full support. It will be a very hard experience. See you soon in Brussels.”
Riding a full cyclo-cross programme means that Van Aert has not had too many days on the road, with just eight one-day races ridden at the start of this month. The Criterium du Dauphine is his first stage race of the season, but DS Merijn Zeeman believes that he is ready.
“He makes our team even stronger. He hasn’t had a lot of race days and Wout has prepared himself in an ideal way. After the Tour, he will ride the Prudential Ride London and after that, his cyclocross season starts.”
The Jumbo-Visma team for the Tour de France will once again be a balance between sprinters and climbers. Classics men such as Van Aert, Mike Teunissen and Amuund Jansen will provide ample support on the flat and lumpy days, along with time triallist Tony Martin. George Bennett and Laurens De Plus will be key men for Kruijswijk on the big mountain stages. De Plus was one of Roglic’s support riders at the Giro d’Italia, but he was forced to abandon the race in the first week due to illness. This will be his first appearance at the Tour de France.
As well as being a strong rider to help control the bunch on road stages, Martin will play an important role in the stage 2 team time trial. He will also be a contender for the victory in the Pau time trial during the second week.
Jumbo-Visma for the Tour de France: Dylan Groenewegen, Steven Kruijswijk, Mike Teunissen, Amund Jansen, Tony Martin, George Bennett, Wout van Aert and Laurens De Plus.