Merijn Zeeman of Jumbo-Visma aims to secure a replacement for Primoz Roglic and outlines two alternatives

Primoz Roglic Tirreno Adratico 2023 trident

The professional cycling scene has been dominated by the Dutch team Jumbo-Visma in the previous season, with victories in all three Grand Tours – the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España. However, in a recent episode of the “Open Vizier” podcast, the team’s Sports Director, Merijn Zeeman, conveyed scepticism about Jumbo-Visma’s chances of replicating this feat in the 2024 season.

Zeeman discussed the departure of Primoz Roglic, who is set to leave Jumbo-Visma for BORA-hansgrohe this winter. This transfer is expected to significantly affect the Dutch team’s prospects in the Grand Tours. Zeeman clarified that in the upcoming Giro d’Italia, the focus will be on nurturing younger talents and gaining experience, with a top-ten finish being a more realistic goal than a victory, a departure from the previous season’s lofty achievements.

Searching for Roglic’s Replacement

As Roglic prepares to don new colours with BORA-hansgrohe, Jumbo-Visma is actively seeking a rider to fill his shoes. Zeeman outlined two potential strategies for this: either finding a ready-made solution in a cyclist who possesses the immediate qualities to compete for Grand Tour victories or investing in a young talent with the potential to achieve such feats in the coming years. He emphasised that the team’s ambition to win a Grand Tour with Roglic’s successor would hinge on the calibre of the new arrival.

In an earlier conversation with NOS towards the end of October, Zeeman had mentioned that Jumbo-Visma’s selection for 2024 was still a work in progress, with the expectation to announce new riders in the forthcoming weeks.

Jumbo-Visma’s New Signings

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Roglic’s replacement, Jumbo-Visma has been active in the transfer market, announcing six new riders: Bart Lemmen from Human Powered Health, Matteo Jorgenson from Movistar, Ben Tulett from INEOS Grenadiers, Loe van Belle, Per Strand Hagenes, and Johannes Staune-Mittet, all from Jumbo-Visma’s own Development team. These new additions will look to fill the void left by eight departures, including Michel Hessman, who is currently on a non-active status following a positive doping test earlier in the year.

As the off-season continues, cycling enthusiasts and industry professionals alike will closely follow the Dutch team’s strategic moves and signings, which will be crucial in determining their performance in the 2024 cycling calendar.