Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge on Vuelta a Espana winner decision: Picking a winner is like choosing between your own children

There wasn't an order given to the Jumbo-Visma riders on who was to win the Vuelta a Espana. Merijn Zeeman has revealed that. Richard Plugge, team CEO, shares the same opinion and says that it was not possible to make a fair choice.

"It was a great situation that we found ourselves in but at the same time one that never happened before and for which there was no textbook solution," Richard Plugge told Het Laatste Nieuws. "We had good discussions with all parties involved. We listened to everyone's opinion, put everything on the table, drew up a plan based on that, and asked if everyone was OK with it. As a team, we were true to our values and racing philosophy: winning together."

Maybe there has never been a case of "winning together" as sharp as what the Dutch team did during these three weeks, dominating with comfort the overall classification right from the first multi-mountain stage. Soon enough it had become clear the winner would come from Jumbo-Visma, however who would take the title was uncertain as Sepp Kuss had a headstart after stage 6, but Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic looked superior in the mountains.

Picking a winner "is like choosing between your own children. We just wanted to win the Vuelta. With whom it made no difference," he says. Eventually, after the Alto de l'Angliru the choice was made (likely between the riders themselves) that Kuss was to take the victory if nothing went wrong. "It's great that two great people, based on their personal leadership, allowed him to do it. Though Kuss has, of course, earned it himself. Deserved is another bizarre word. In top sport, you don't deserve anything, you go and get it yourself."

To improve on a result, and a Grand Tour campaign such as this year's, is basically impossible. Performance wise however the Dutch team - as all teams - can change and improve slight details. "Merijn Zeeman and I are evaluating what we can learn from this Vuelta to do even better next year. We owe it to ourselves to look in the mirror because before you know it you will be overtaken."

"Our only objective that we didn't achieve this year was winning the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. There's still a lot to be done. This is a very nice 'crown' on a decade of hard work, but I'm not going to sit back now. We have drawn up a major plan towards 2030. There's room for even more crowns."

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