There are multiple races currently going on. One is being run by Jumbo-Visma, looking to secure its future by inking fresh sponsorship deals or agreeing to team mergers. A second is between Primož Rogliç’s agent and his various suitors. The third is amongst the attendant media, to glean each and every crumb of information that could shed light on what the future of cycling’s most successful team will look like.
On Saturday, at the start of the Giro dell’Emilia, Roglič indicated one race is almost over. Roglič is leaving Jumbo-Visma.
“I can just definitely confirm that I will leave the team, but we want to tell all the details, to where, after the races that I do,” Roglič told attending media. “So yes, first I’m here to race. I’ll be focused here and then we’ll do the next moves.”
The statement partially ends more than a month of speculation that began when news of Lidl-Trek’s interest in the Slovenian broke at the start of the Vuelta a Epaña. Where exactly Roglič will end up is not yet confirmed.
The list of potential teams remains quite long and includes Ineos Grenadiers, Israel-Premier Tech, and Bora-Hansgrohe. Lidl-Trek, Bahrain-Victorious, and Movistar appear to be out of the running, but that could still change.
Roglič answers the all-important question 26 seconds into the video below.
The races still running
As the potential merger of Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step gathered pace this week with the UCI notified of the possibility that what started as a bizarre rumour could soon become reality, a few hours later news also surfaced of the Dutch squad securing a major sponsorship deal.
‘Amazon to sponsor new-look Jumbo-Visma‘ ran the headline on our site and that of Dutch team-insider whisperers Wielerflits. We’d heard murmurings during the day that a deal was in motion, and then Dutch marketer Chris Woerts appeared on the television show Vandaag Inside, quoting a figure of €15 million to help plug the gap soon to be vacated by supermarket chain Jumbo.
Wielerflits reported that despite the hefty chunk of money Amazon were reportedly putting up, they wouldn’t be coming on board as a titular sponsor, which seemed odd. Turns out, it made complete sense, as the latest we’re hearing is that the €15 million isn’t an amount being delivered in cold hard cash to pay rider wages and fill the buses’ fuel tanks, but is a figure of prospective ‘media value’ that one of the world’s largest companies would be providing to the Dutch team.
Yes, Amazon is paying Jumbo-Visma in exposure.
Jumbo-Visma and Amazon have previously collaborated on a documentary series, hosted on the company’s streaming platform Amazon Prime. In theory, an extension of their collaboration could provide more awareness for other, more traditional sponsors looking for maximum eyeballs on their logos adorning the team’s jerseys.
Escape Collective contacted Jumbo-Visma Thursday, as the original Amazon news was breaking, and again Friday after this latest ‘media value’ update came across our desk. We haven’t heard back yet (maybe their entire press team is currently just lying down in a dark room pretending they don’t exist) so really we only have these whispers to go on. Needless to say, take all of these rumours with a pinch of salt.
Other parties we spoke to hadn’t heard that the quoted €15 million only constituted ‘media value,’ but if this turns out to be the case it makes the merger with Soudal Quick-Step much more necessary than if some of Jeff Bezos’ millions were about to hit the team’s bank account.
Another thing we’ve been told is that the agents of some Soudal Quick-Step riders are becoming increasingly agitated this week, reaching out to teams and enquiring about spaces on their squads. While this could reflect an increased likelihood of a merger taking place, it could also just be that agents and riders know little more than the rest of us, and like us, have got caught up in the constant drip of information coming out in the media, and are fashioning themselves escape rafts just in case they need them.
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