Merijn Zeeman, leader of Jumbo-Visma on the car throughout most of the biggest races of the year, has talked about the preparation that goes behind a triple Grand Tour win, conflicts within Jumbo-Visma and the topic of Primoz Roglic's possible departure from the team.
"With all the team leaders, performance managers, coaches, and other staff members, we are going to discuss literally everything," Zeeman told In de Leiderstrui. "A lot went well, but we will also look at what can be improved. After all, there are always areas for improvement. We won the Giro, Tour, and Vuelta, but did we do that in the best way? But, of course, in Spain, it went nicely. On the other hand, you always have to leave the door open for room for improvement. If you start believing that your own way is the best way, then decay has already set in. We too look at other teams and what we can learn from them."
"I see Roglic potentially moving to INEOS Grenadiers or Lidl-Trek" - Former teammate of Primoz Roglic expects the Slovenian to leave Jumbo-Visma
As had already been stated this week, the team is very happy with it's recent success but it does not think that there's nowhere they can improve. Aside from that, he also points out that with so many proven winners within the team, it also becomes important to manage internal battles and difference in goals between it's leaders: "Certain conflicts naturally always arise in a group of people working together, because you then have to deal with different ideas and ambitions. The question is then, how do you reach a consensus that everyone continues to support?"
"If you put a number of top riders together, it is an illusion to think that nothing will ever happen, in any way. In recent years, we have experienced such things several times, but we have actually always come out of that stronger," he says. The test that appeared at the Vuelta a España was one Zeeman could not have predicted, where the team was early on in a position to decide which of their riders was going to win. All three main climbers of the team were within a shot of winning a Grand Tour, but mostly between the riders there was a consensus in the end that Sepp Kuss deserved it.
Sepp Kuss does not intend on racing for yellow jersey at Tour de France: "In the Tour it is much more nervous"
Jonas Vingegaard was ok with it, but Primoz Roglic was not as satisfied, after having prepared throughout months specifically for the race and not stepping a foot wrong. Rumours enhanced of a possible departure, despite his two years of remaining contract. "To be honest, I'm not overly worried about that. Additionally, we are continually developing talented riders ourselves. Primoz has grown into the undisputed leader of the team with us;" Zeeman replies to that quite directly. Movistar Team, Lidl-Trek and INEOS Grenadiers are all teams mentioned over the past months. Most of the argument lies in his inability to lead the Tour de France because of Jonas Vingegaard's presence.
However he presents another obvious point that is often ignored by those claiming his chances of success would improve elsewhere. "I believe it's in Primoz's best interest to strive for a Tour win while wearing the Jumbo-Visma jersey. If he were to leave, he'd potentially have to compete against formidable rivals like Vingegaard or Kuss," Zeeman adds. "Being a teammate to such strong riders is a better position than competing against them."