Jumbo-Visma is in talks with Patrick Lefevere’s Soudal Quick-Step team about forming a potential merger of the two WorldTour giants as soon as 2024, according to a special report from Wielerflits, released on Sunday.
According to Wielerflits, Jumbo-Visma’s managing director Richard Plugge would become the CEO of the new squad, Merijn Zeeman would become new head coach, and Patrick Lefevere would become a member of the new teams supervisory board.
Any potential deal between the two men's teams could see Remco Evenepoel, Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard, and this year’s Giro d'Italia winner Primož Roglič become teammates.
Other riders on the joint roster would include the likes of Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe.
The report states that initial talks between the two teams are believed to have begun last summer and that Jumbo-Visma top brass approached Zdenek Bakala - the Soudal Quick-Step owner - which led to a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
As well as this, the report also suggests that the proposed merger was supported by the title sponsors from both teams, Soudal and Visma.
Consequently if the merger between the two is eventually confirmed, it’s likely that the project would be registered with the UCI as either Soudal-Visma or Visma -Soudal.
Earlier this summer, Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo confirmed that its co-title sponsorship of Jumbo-Visma was set to end after the 2024 season if not earlier. Richard Plugge has been working to find a replacement major international sponsor for his team.
The Dutch team was linked to the Saudi Arabian Neom development project, however, the report was described as “fake news” by a source speaking to Cyclingnews.
It is unknown how a potential merger would affect the riders and other staff on both teams, particularly those with lengthy contracts. Both squads currently have 29 riders each contracted to their men’s teams, and the maximum number of riders on a team is 30. How it would affect bike, tech and gear sponsors is also unknown.
Riders like Matteo Jorgenson and Ben Tulett have already signed deals to join Jumbo next season, while Mikel Landa and Luke Lamperti are among those who have been announced as moving to Quick-Step for 2024.
Important questions remain regarding the future of the two team’s women’s squads if a merger were to happen. Jumbo-Vimsa is currently part of the Women’s WorldTour and is led by Dutch superstar Marianne Vos, while AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step currently has a Continental licence, but has applied to join the WorldTour for 2024.
When questioned on the subject by Cyclingnews, a representative of Jumbo-Visma said: "I don’t expect much is going to happen with our women’s team. For the rest, we never comment on rumours."
Cycling Weekly approached both Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step for comment in relation to this story.
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