‘I don’t know who is making this up’ - Jumbo-Visma dismiss Giro d’Italia line-up reports

Recent reports have suggested that Wout van Aert will target the general classification at the Italian Grand Tour

Clock11:18, Sunday 12th November 2023

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Jumbo-Visma are yet to decide their roster for the Giro d'Italia

Jumbo-Visma have again dismissed reports that they have finalised almost all of their team selection for the Giro d’Italia, insisting that they ‘don’t know who is making this up’.

Speculation and reports mounted late last week, with outlets reporting that seven out of the eight-rider Jumbo-Visma team had been pre-selected. On the list were Wout van Aert, Attila Valter, Thomas Gloag, Matteo Jorgenson, Ben Tulett, Johannes Staune-Mittet and Per Strand Hagenes.

GCN approached Jumbo-Visma sports director Merijn Zeeman to verify the possible selection and his response was as categorical as it could be.

“No,” he said when asked if the line-up was accurate.

“We are in the brainstorming sessions and I don’t know who is making this up. Nothing is decided. No selection at all. This is a very long process. Until we discuss everything with all the coaches and all the riders, everything is on the table.”

GCN approached one of the riders named on the list. His approach matched Zeeman’s, with the rider stating that the news was made up.

There is of course a possibility that a number of the riders linked with the Giro could still make the final cut.

Arguments can be made for new recruits Jorgenson and Tulett to make their Jumbo-Visma Grand Tour debuts in Italy. Staune-Mittet and Strand Hagenes have impressed in the development team, while Wout van Aert would be a hugely popular participant with race organisers RCS. Jumbo-Visma would not confirm either way with regards to the Belgian’s race programme but heading to the Giro d’Italia in May would need considerable planning given the race’s close proximity to the Spring Classics.

Part of the speculation surrounding the Jumbo-Visma line-up possibly stems from a podcast Zeeman recorded over a month ago, with Podcast24,  in which he said that young talents would be sent to the Giro d’Italia. That coincided with Vuelta a España winner Sepp Kuss stating that he would target the Tour de France and miss the Giro d’Italia. At the same time, Jonas Vingegaard will look to defend his Tour title and hasn’t been mentioned once in relation to the Giro.

With 2023 Giro d’Italia winner Primož Roglič no longer on the team, Zeeman knows that a new plan must be drawn up, and the Giro certainly offers the team the chance to develop their young riders.

However, sprinter Olav Kooij would surely be in the frame for a Grand Tour spot and is unlikely to make his debut at the Tour de France in July. A more realistic scenario would be racing the Giro, in which case one could argue that van Aert could be utilised as a lead-out rider for the young sprinter. However, that notion would dampen the idea of Van Aert targeting the Giro GC - as has been reported several times. Either way, the guessing games will only continue until Van Aert announces his programme or Jumbo-Visma confirm their Grand Tour selections - which usually takes place in December at their final training camp of the season.

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