Report: Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step looking to merge teams
Remco Evenepoel could be teammates with Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard in 2024
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Dutch title WielerFlits states that under the deal, Jumbo-Visma’s current general manager Richard Plugge will become the team's CEO.
Merijn Zeeman, who is the senior sports director at Jumbo will step into the role of head coach, while Soudal Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere will become a member of the newly formed board. GCN has contacted all three individuals but not yet received a response.
A spokesperson for Jumbo-Visma did respond, telling GCN: "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)."
A move of this nature would create a roster that included Jonas Vingegaard, Primož Roglič, Sepp Kuss Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel. Both Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step have close to thirty riders under contract for next season, meaning there are question marks over any proposed roster changes. While the report in the Dutch press points to 2024, one scenario could see a deal finalised soon but for the merger to come into effect at the start of 2025. That would give both of the current teams time to create space for a combined roster of riders and staff.
However WielerFlits reports that Plugge, who was looking for a title sponsor after Jumbo confirmed they would leave the sport in 2024, met with Soudal Quick-Step owner Zdeněk Bakala earlier this year with plans surrounding a possible merger quickly put in place. Should the merger be finalised, the team’s proposed name for next season would be Visma-Soudal or Soudal-Visma.
Along with the questions over rosters, leadership and who exactly would own the team’s WorldTour licence, there are unknowns surrounding the future of support staff and the women’s teams from both organisations and whether they would also form part of the merger.
In relation to the women's team, a spokesperson for Jumbo-Visma told Cyclingnews: "I don’t expect much is going to happen with our women’s team. For the rest, we never comment on rumours."
There are also uncertainties over material sponsors. For example, Soudal Quick-Step have a contract in place with Specialized until the end of 2026.
Any speculation over a merger between these two teams is likely to ensure that rumours of a move surrounding Evenepoel to Ineos Grenadiers resurface. Ineos Grenadiers were reportedly in talks with Soudal Quick-Step earlier this year over a possible buyout of the Belgian team but those talks stalled. Ineos have been interested in signing Evenepoel for several years and the young Belgian may see a crowned team bus a legitimate cause for concern when it comes to his own opportunities in 2024.
- Remco Evenepoel and Ineos Grenadiers is 'a closed chapter' says Lefevere
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