The Jumbo-Visma team stuns the Tour de France peloton. Stunned. Plot. Scared. Make laugh. “There are them and the others. We are still talking about a team that managed to ridicule Ineos and make it look like an average team. ” “With them, there’s no point in attacking. Follow, we wonder … “ It is about ten runners of different formations who express themselves. Under anonymity, mandatory condition. The close guard of the yellow jersey, Primoz Roglic, evolves a floor above all the other formations since the departure from Nice.
His “train” is once again expected on Friday on the rails of Puy Mary, summit of Cantal. Another competitor gets annoyed: “When they put in gear 100 kilometers from the finish, they’re not just looking to win, but to humiliate.” Dutch team Jumbo-Visma were built on the rubble of Rabobank, guaranteeing that they would not endorse any doping. But its hegemony arouses suspicion in a large part of the peloton: “We all dream of knowing their secret.” Asked by the team on the recipe for this success, Richard Plugge, the manager, answers: “I do not know.” Before adding: “Try to be as professional as possible in all areas and get the maximum involvement of all team members.” While reaffirming: “We have a very strict anti-doping policy. I think everyone has learned from the past. ”
The team was already the bloodiest in the preparation events in August. “At the Tour de l’Ain, it was embarrassing, traces a runner. Tony Martin [de Jumbo-Visma] was rolling in a pass on the last stage. In the most difficult passage, Chris Froome attacks. A big attack. But Froome sees Martin rolling beside him, as if to say “Your attack? What attack? We didn’t feel anything!” Martin stared him in the eye. When you’re on the block, that’s the kind of thing you don’t do. “ It is not finished. “At the top of the pass, George Bennett [autre coureur de Jumbo-Visma] turns around and sees that the group has exploded. He said “Hey guys! Nobody’s left! And yet we didn’t drive fast!” “ This kind of story goes around the peloton. Was the crash of the same order at the Critérium du Dauphiné? “Yes.”
Even in Sky’s time, now Team Ineos, and avowed role model for Jumbo, the peloton didn’t feel so despised. “Hopefully they go to bed in the third week [du Tour de France], confides an opponent. Normally they should fold. Normally…” If not fatigue, it may be another flaw that suddenly ruins Jumbo-Visma’s colossal efforts: its strategy. A witness from the platoon finds them “Nags, not smart”. Poli, another points out: “It’s not the team that thinks the most.”
Last year, on the Giro, the team conceded the pink leader’s jersey to their opponent Richard Carapaz, who had never returned it to them. Better, she had not succeeded in troubleshooting Primoz Roglic in time, caught in a mechanical incident: the drivers of the following car had stopped to piss… Another surprise on Saturday, in the first stage of the Pyrenees, when the team sacrificed his co-leader Tom Dumoulin, who was struggling to keep up with the collective rhythm… A runner wants to believe that there is a moral at the end: “It is a sign of arrogance, and arrogance pays off one day.”
Pierre Carrey on the Tour route