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Primož Roglič on the transfer market with Ineos Grenadiers and Lidl-Trek leading the chase
Movistar and Bahrain Victorious also in the mix as Slovenian moves closer to an exit from Jumbo-Visma
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Something has to give, and with the revelations surrounding a likely merger between Jumbo-Visma and Soudal QuickStep for 2024, it’s Roglič who seems destined to be heading for the exit door with several teams queuing up for the Slovenian’s services should the merger come off.
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Primož Roglič rubs shoulders with Geraint Thomas
Will Roglič leave Jumbo-Visma?
According to one leading WorldTour team boss: "I'd say Primož Roglič is on the market but it’s difficult to say what will happen especially with the latest merger news. Clearly Ineos is chasing him hard but my senses say there is also another team or two in the game."
Rumours of Roglič leaving Jumbo-Visma have been circulating for months, with reports of the rider unsettled and looking for a chance to lead a team at the Tour de France in the future. Lidl-Trek were the first team to be linked to the rider before Movistar, Ineos and several other squads entered the fray.
At 33, and with Jonas Vingegaard set to lead the team at the Tour de France next year, Roglič arguably has more to gain by leaving, if he’s able to extract himself from his current deal that runs out at the end of 2025.
The fallout from the Vuelta a España seems to have accelerated plans around Roglič’s departure, even though the team hierarchy were clear in their stance surrounding the importance of their four-time Grand Tour winner.
"There’s been no approach. Roglič is our king, as I’ve texted you in the past, and that’s still the case," team boss Richard Plugge told GCN at the Vuelta a España. "He has won every GC race he’s started this year apart from this one and he has won 15 races this year. Why would I consider letting him go?"
GCN understands that the team’s resolve has altered in recent weeks with an acceptance that Roglič will be allowed to depart. The team have not commented on this publicly but teams are in talks with the rider’s agent about a move in 2024.
GCN approached Plugge, asking if Roglič was still the team’s 'king'. He did not respond at the time of publication, while Roglič’s agent has not responded to calls.
It’s unclear if Jumbo-Visma would have a say in which team Roglič could join but it’s understandable that they would prefer the rider to join Lidl-Trek, Movistar or Bahrain over Ineos Grenadiers due to the British team’s long-standing history of Grand Tour success.
Ineos Grenadiers have been linked to Roglič since the summer of 2022 but their interest has increased in recent months. They are desperate to land a Grand Tour contender, with GCN revealing on Wednesday that the British team had sounded out Tadej Pogačar this summer.
The UAE Team Emirates rider is tied to a long-term team, seems happy at his current squad, and has a huge buyout clause, while Roglič would offer the perfect short-term tonic for a team littered with young potential but missing a bonafide Grand Tour leader for the next two seasons.
Carlos Rodriguez has been convinced to extend his contract with the team, despite initially agreeing to leave for Movistar. Ineos persuaded the young Spaniard with talks over complete Grand Tour leadership in the coming years.
Roglič’s arrival would obviously have an affect on that stance but several sources have told GCN that Ineos Grenadiers are building up to a major announcement in October.
That won't be a merger with Movistar Team, with both sets of team management rubbishing any such moves. One source close to Movistar said such a scenario was "bullshit", adding that the Movistar and Ineos management haven’t even met each other for at least the last two seasons.
The Spanish team are monitoring Roglič’s situation after losing out on Carlos Rodriguez. The team are great admirers of Roglič and a source within the camp has told GCN that they are looking for a proven GC rider. However, their stance suggests that they believe Roglič will only be available for 2025.
Bahrain Victorious eye up Roglič signing
Bahrain Victorious are another team watching the merger between Jumbo-Visma and Soudal-QuickStep with interest. They also lack a pure GC leader for Grand Tours and team boss Milan Erzen worked with Roglič before the rider moved to Jumbo-Visma.
When asked if the team were looking at Roglic, Erzen said: "Who doesn't want Primoz Roglič on the team? Everyone wants him. That’s the case. We’ve not directly talked about bringing him to the team and he has a contract with Jumbo-Visma. I don’t know if he can go somewhere else but at this moment we’ve not talked to his agent. We’re waiting to see what happens but all three parties would need to agree. Primož, Jumbo and a new team.”
When asked if Bahrain could afford the four-time Grand Tour winner, Erzen said: “Why not. He’s one of the best riders in the world. I think so and we’re one of the two or three teams who can support his leadership. If you saw the last week of the Vuelta we were the only team who could compete with Jumbo-Visma. That’s important because a leader like Primož can't win alone. He needs help at this important stage."
Needless to say, time is a major factor in all of this and rumours and whispers can very quickly become headlines within a chaotic transfer market such as this one. It’s a staggering turn of events when two of the biggest men’s WorldTour teams, in Soudal QuickStep and Jumbo-Visma, are suddenly two of the least certain in terms of their immediate futures.
The reality, though, is that documentation and rider contracts must be presented to the UCI by October 12 and there is still a huge amount of work to be done if any merger or contract situation is to be resolved.
A more pressing deadline, according to Wielerflits is October 1, with the Dutch publication hinting that the rider could make a decision on his future by that point.