Formerly Rabobank, Superconfex and Kwantum, as well as a host of others since starting life in 1984, Team Visma-Lease a Bike are the second longest-running team at the top of the sport, beaten only by Movistar, which began as Reynolds in 1980.
Over the past couple of years, the Dutch outfit have emerged as the new successor to Team Sky/Ineos Grenadiers and cemented their position as the best Grand Tour team on the men’s WorldTour.
Their meteoric success isn’t just attributed to their superstars Wout van Aert, Jonas Vingegaard and, formerly, Primož Roglič, but also their entire team structure - from part-time staffers to full-time managers - and a newfound focus on emerging young talent.
In 2022, the team didn’t just achieve their big goal of winning the Tour de France, they smashed it out of the park. Through the leadership of Vingegaard and Van Aert, but also the efforts of riders like Christophe Laporte, they came home with the yellow, green and polka-dot jerseys, as well as six individual stage victories.
They’ve set an even loftier goal for the 2023 season with the hopes of winning the Tour de France with Vingegaard and the Giro d’Italia with Primož Roglič. Somehow, they topped even that goal, sweeping the Grand Tours with Roglič at the Giro d’Italia, Vingegaard at the Tour de France and Sepp Kuss at the Vuelta a España – ahead of his two other Grand Tour-winning teammates. It was, arguably, the single greatest Grand Tour season cycling has ever seen.
So, how can Visma-Lease a Bike build on the fantastic year that was, especially with Roglič leaving the team for Bora-Hansgrohe?
The obvious place for improvement is in the Classics. Even with a few wins in the bag at the precursors to the cobbled Monuments, the crew of Wout van Aert, Dylan van Baarle, Christophe Laporte and Tiesj Benoot came up short in the races that matter most: Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Nevertheless, with Matteo Jorgenson being added to that crack team of hard men for the Classics – and with the likes of Cian Uijtdebroeks added to Kuss and Vingegaard in the GC battles – the opportunity for improvement is very much on the table in 2024.
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Provided by FirstCycling
Wout van Aert
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