Laurens De Plus is set to leave Jumbo-Visma for another of the WorldTour’s strongest squads, Team Ineos.
The Belgian climber joined the Dutch squad at the start of 2019, with the aim of developing him into one of their future leaders, yet a year and a half later the 24-year-old is set to join their biggest rivals on a three-year contract, according to Wielerflits.
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De Plus adds not only youth to an aging Ineos squad, but five years of WorldTour experience, having debuted for Quick-Step at 20 years old.
Chris Froome is 35 and is said to be looking towards the exit door in search of sole Tour de France leadership as he pursues a record-equalling fifth title, while Geraint Thomas is 34. Other older mainstays in the squad include Michał Golas, 36, Christian Knees, 39, and Jonathan Castroviejo, who is 33.
Recent signing Andrey Amador is also 33, while late addition Cameron Wurf is 36, meaning a replenishing of the ranks will be needed soon.
De Plus should prove a key ally in the mountains to Egan Bernal in the future, while also looking to pursue his own victories, having taken the overall win at the BinckBank Tour last year, his biggest to date.
With Jumbo-Visma losing one of their key men to the squad they are looking to rival at Grand Tours, the Dutch team has highlighted replacements to support their trident of GC talent in Primož Roglič, Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk.
Sam Oomen is said to be moving across from Sunweb, the talented climber the latest native signing made by the Dutch squad, rejoining former team-mate Tom Dumoulin who made the same switch last year.
Both Ineos and Jumbo-Visma have been hoovering up talent in recent seasons, as the two squads build impressive rosters to challenge for Grand Tour victories.
Ineos signed 2019 Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz and world time trial champion Rohan Dennis for 2020, as well as a number of young prospects including Brit Ethan Hayter and Spaniard Carlos Rodriguez.
Alongside acquiring Dumoulin’s services, Jumbo-Visma also picked up 2019 Tour de l’Avenir winner Tobias Foss, having already added Tony Martin and Wout Van Aert the year before.
Meanwhile, the rumoured additional departure of Wilco Kelderman from Sunweb would free up budget to sign a new GC rider and revitalise the German team.
Romain Bardet has been highlighted as a possible replacement, Sunweb having been without a proven GC rider since the mid-season departure of Dumoulin, and the French rider along with a couple of his key domestiques is said to be considering leaving Ag2r La Mondiale at the end of the year.
As well as losing Oomen to Jumbo-Visma, Cervélo are reportedly replacing Bianchi as the WorldTour team’s bike supplier from 2021.
It is currently unknown whether Sunweb will also continue to ride Cervélos, although a Sunweb spokesperson said there was the possibility both squads could continue with the Canadian bike brand.