Jonas Vingegaard remains Visma's plan A for Tour de France but Olav Kooij ready if needed: "If things turn out differently, I will be ready”

How Team Visma | Lease a Bike will look going into the Tour de France remains a complete mystery, even to those within the team. Olav Kooij starred in his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia before being forced out through illness and if Jonas Vingegaard can't make it, the Dutch sprinter could provide a backup option.

Speaking to Wielerflits after making his return to racing for the first time since winning stage 9 of the 2024 Giro d'Italia at the Baloise Belgium Tour, Kooij admits it's unlikely he'll be leading Team Visma | Lease a Bike for a second successive Grand Tour, but he will nevertheless ensure he is ready on the off chance he is required to save the day for the team.

“I think there are other scenarios more obvious than me going to the Tour,” Kooij laughs. “Everyone knows that there are still question marks surrounding the selection of the team. Based on that and the choices that are made, perhaps my name will be mentioned again. But I don't think it's the most obvious scenario. You never know. It is up to me to be fit again and to be at the same level here again. So that if things turn out differently, I will still be ready.”

According to the latest reports, Vingegaard retains a 50-50 chance of returning to the Tour de France. With the likes of Wout van Aert, Christophe Laporte, Dylan van Baarle, Steven Kruijswijk and other Team Visma | Lease a Bike riders all having crashed or recovering from crashes recently, the sheer lack of numbers may eventually force Kooij's Tour de France debut at the end of this month.

“I think every rider would like to start in the Tour, including me,” the 22-year-old sprint prodigy concludes. “If the team does call me for that, that will be great for everyone and for me.”

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