Jumbo-Visma riders in the dark over possible merger with Soudal Quick-Step

One anonymous rider states that both teams have different mentalities and full rosters for 2024

Clock20:10, Sunday 24th September 2023
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© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Sunday evening’s news concerning a possible merger between Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step in 2024 has caught everyone by surprise, even the riders in question.

Dutch title WielerFlits broke the story, revealing that detailed talks had been ongoing for months between the two WorldTour teams and that both squads would form into one single squad next season.

According to the report, Jumbo-Visma general manager Richard Plugge would run the new operation, while Soudal Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere would move onto the team’s newly formed board of directors.

The team’s name has not yet been confirmed but it would either be Visma-Soudal or Soudal-Visma. There are a staggering amount of questions at this stage, not least what would happen with the excess of riders on the men’s and women’s teams should the merger happen in the next three months.

Both squads are already at capacity for 2024, while there are also concerns over bike sponsorship deals and how the two men’s squads would merge with Remco Evenepoel, Jonas Vingegaard, Primož Roglič, Sepp Kuss and Wout van Aert all kept happy.

Read more: Report - Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step looking to merge teams

According to one Jumbo-Visma rider, who wished to remain anonymous, the news of a possible merger between both teams was a complete shock. Apparently none of the riders on the Dutch team were aware of the news, and only found out via social media.

“I heard the news for the first time ten minutes ago when a teammate asked me about it. It’s a big surprise for me. In the team we’ve not spoken about it and it’s a big surprise,” the rider told GCN on Sunday evening.

The rider questioned the logistics and the timing of the potential merger.

“Thinking logically, we don’t have any spots at Jumbo for next year. How can you put 15 riders together with Quick-Step? If it was with Ineos then I would think that it was possible by the numbers but with us, looking at the numbers it’s just not possible. But you never know. That’s just my opinion. I also don’t know why the two best teams should merge. What’s the reason?”

The rider also raised a question over the differing philosophies and cultures within both teams.

“Also the mentality in the two teams is different,” the rider said.

What I learned at Jumbo is really different to how they approach riders as people, and how Richard and Patrick look at riders is really different. I can’t say it's a zero percent chance but from my perspective it’s very low.”

One option could be that a merger agreement is signed relatively soon and that the practicalities come into force in 2025, when there is likely to be more room on both squads’ rosters.

No one on the Jumbo-Visma or Soudal Quick-Step team would comment when approached by GCN but a spokesperson for Jumbo-Visma said: "We usually don’t respond to rumours. There were many… Jumbo-Visma with Neom, Ineos with Evenepoel. And now this… Several options are open and time will tell (soon)."

Patrick Lefevere did speak to Sporza briefly, stating: "If you want to follow WielerFlits, do so. Make of it what you want. No comment, sorry."

Read more:

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