Chris Froome isn’t the only rider on the transfer market this summer, and Jumbo-Visma and Team Sunweb are both frantically attempting to strengthen their squads for 2021 with a flurry of activity in recent weeks.
The biggest moves centre around Sam Oomen and Wilco Kelderman, who have both been told by Team Sunweb that their services will not be required for 2021 as the team looks to gut their stage racing core.
Team Sunweb have been heavily linked to Romain Bardet, who is on the market because his contract with AG2R La Mondiale ends this year. The Frenchman is close to signing with Team Sunweb and will bring Mickael Cherel with him if terms can be agreed.
AD.nl reported on Thursday that Oomen is on his way to Jumbo-Visma at the end of this season, and Cyclingnews can confirm that the highly-rated climber will sign a three-year deal and link up with his former teammate Tom Dumoulin.
Oomen has spoken previously about his support for Dumoulin’s decision to leave Sunweb during the 2019 season for Jumbo-Visma. It appears that Sunweb has grown frustrated with Oomen and believes that he no longer fits with their vision.
Oomen ended his 2019 season early after abandoning the Giro d'Italia, and he later underwent iliac artery surgery. He returned to competition at the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var in February.
Jumbo-Visma have been tracking Oomen for years and are well aware of his capabilities, having developed him as a U23 rider under the Rabobank banner. The 24-year-old’s departure is another loss for Sunweb, who saw Dumoulin make the same journey to Jumbo-Visma in a shock transfer in 2019.
Sunweb told Cyclingnews that Oomen had not been offered a contract extension either at the end of 2019 or during this spring, but Cyclingnews has heard conflicting reports with several Dutch outlets reporting that Oomen did indeed receive an offer to stay but that he decided to take on a fresh challenge for a lower price at Jumbo-Visma. Sunweb has denied this.
However, the loss of Oomen and Kelderman once again raises questions over Sunweb’s recruitment policy or indicates a radical change in rider strategy and the arrival of Bardet.
The two riders are arguably the best GC riders on the team since Dumoulin’s departure and although they had poor seasons in 2019, they could have potentially worked well with Bardet in the future.
In a statement sent to Cyclingnews, a spokesperson for Sunweb said: "Since last Autumn we had indicated in the various talks with Kelderman and Oomen that we would at this moment not make them an offer. As a consequence, they are free to speak to other teams.”
Oomen and Kelderman are not the only departures from Sunweb. AD has reported and Cyclingnews can confirm that bike brand Cervelo will likely switch to Jumbo-Visma.
Bianchi has supplied Jumbo-Visma with bikes since 2014 but their contract at Jumbo-Visma concludes at the end of the season. The Italian manufacturer is keen to extend the deal, however Cervelo has deeper pockets and are rumoured to be looking to leave Sunweb.
Jumbo-Visma has also had interest from two other major bike manufacturers but at present Cervelo is the favored bike brand for 2021.
Sunweb told Cyclingnews that there is a possibility of Cervelo supplying two teams with bikes in 2020 but that scenario seems unlikely.
“We will soon decide about our technical partner for the next year, whether that’s Cervelo or another candidate,” the Sunweb spokesperson told Cyclingnews.
While Jumbo-Visma is set to welcome Oomen they are resigned to losing Laurens de Plus.
The 24-year-old climber has excelled in recent seasons but was dropped from the Tour de France line up earlier this week in favour of George Bennett and will instead rider the Giro d'italia.
De Plus is heavily linked with a move to Team Ineos for 2021 on a three-year deal, according to Wielerflits. According to reports de Plus was initially keen to stay at Jumbo-Visma but the offer from Team Ineos was too good to turn down.
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