“Winning together” is the slogan of Jumbo-Visma. The Dutch cycling team gives this seemingly tired slogan a new dimension at the Vuelta: team crushing competition.
The team’s goal for the Tour of Spain was to be the first team ever to win all three Grand Tours in a single season. The fact that things must be very strange if this goal is not achieved becomes clear with a look at the general classification at the start of the second rest day on Monday.
Sepp Koss, the master mountain craftsman who has played a decisive role in all six Grand Tours won by Jumbo-Visma to date, has been at the top for a week. Behind the American, at 1 minute and 37 seconds, we find Primoz Roglic, who came to Spain for his fourth Vuelta victory.
At the conference table
Seven seconds behind the Slovenian comes Jumbo-Visma rider number three: Jonas Vingegaard. Roglic won the Giro in May, and the Dane won the Tour in July. Kuss had never competed for the final victory before. It is not unimportant for the mutual relations: all three Jumbo-Visma riders have already won a stage in the Vuelta.
Just under a minute away from Vingegaard is the first non-Jumbo Visma rider, the only 20-year-old Emirati, Juan Ayuso. It seems that obtaining third place on the last day of the Vuelta race, next Sunday in Madrid, is the highest achievement for him.
The dominance of one cycling team in a three-week Grand Tour has never been seen in the current post-doping era. Since commercial teams took over from national teams, final podiums have regularly been filled by two teammates, but only once by three. In the final result of the 1966 Vuelta, the exclusively Spanish Cas-Cascol 1, 2 and 3 – also 5, 6 and 7.
Jumbo-Visma has put itself in a position to decide at the conference table who will win next week’s Vuelta. Judging by what the team’s riders said after their outstanding performance in the Tourmalet on Friday – Vengegard won, and Kos and Roglic were second and third within half a minute – the win will go to the wearer of the current red leader’s jersey, Sepp Kos.
He will become the first American Grand Tour winner in ten years, after Chris Horner won the Vuelta in 2013. With Kos’ innovative presence in the US, the team expands the possibilities of finding a global brand as its new main sponsor. Now that the Jumbo supermarket chain will cease operations in 2024.
It also speaks in favor of the American that he helped Roglic achieve all his victories in the Vuelta (3) and the Giro (1) and Vengegard in his two victories in the Tour; The Slovenian and Dane can reward their beloved servant.
Finished by the author
Robert Gables describes De Volkskrant About cycling and Formula 1. He was a correspondent in Asia, wrote about economics and won the De Tegel Journalism Prize as a political correspondent.
Vengegard gets water
Vingegaard is particularly clear on this. He actually went to get water for Kos and coached the climber on the flat stages. “I try to help him as much as I can and say, ‘Believe in it and bike on the front of the Peloton as much as you can.’”
Moreover, Kos did not reach the top in vain: according to his colleagues, he is simply the best in the race. He himself points to his vast experience in Grand Tours as an added advantage. “I’ve been lucky enough to often be on winning teams with the best cyclists in the world and I’ve learned a lot from that.” like? “When I have to take responsibility, what are the critical moments and where you need to save energy.”
Attila Walter, the Hungarian team’s player, sums up the mood in Jumbo-Visma well: “It’s up to Primoz and Jonas, but there’s no reason to attack Seb. Everyone loves him, he’s a good guy.
Roglic is his usual enigmatic self with praise due for Kos, who hugs him and enthusiastically slaps him between the shoulder blades after each stage, while also raising the question of whether his main servant can last all the way to Madrid.
This hesitation is justified. After all, Kos is on his fifth major tour in a row and third this season. He has certainly acknowledged that in recent weeks. “We have to be flexible: if one of the three of us has a bad day, or a bad moment, we can’t wait for him, not even me.”
After all, the best interest of the team always comes first. Jumbo-Visma doesn’t want to risk losing the Vuelta by betting on the wrong horse beforehand.
On Wednesday, Jumbo-Visma is expected to split the spoils between Kuss, Roglic and Vingegaard. The seventeenth stage then ends with a climb of the most fearsome monster, the steep seven-kilometre Mount Anglero. If Kos gives the impression that a Vuelta win is out of reach, his fellow competitors can take matters into their own hands and show the true meaning of the team motto “Winning Together.”
“Professional reader. Award-winning gamer. Zombie buff. Social media junkie. Bacon maven. Web scholar.”