Visma the team to beat again in 2024 despite Roglic departure

 | January 05 | 

4 mins read

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They’re the Manchester City of cycling, but without 115 charges hanging over them. With the ultimate treble under their belts going into 2024, Team Jumbo Visma – renamed for the new season as Visma-Lease a Bike – look primed to rule the sport once more in the 12 months ahead.

Sure, they have lost Giro d’Italia winner Primoz Roglic to Bora-Hansgrohe, but that always seemed like a probable side effect of their domination in 2023. Having taken the honours at the death in the Bel Paese at Geraint Thomas’ expense, and then skipped the Tour de France, the Slovenian desperately wanted to be the team leader at La Vuelta a Espana in August and September.

Tour de France 2024 Odds:

  • Jonas Vingegaard - 8/13
  • Tadej Pogacar - 11/4
  • Primoz Roglic - 9/2
  • Remco Evenepoel - 8/1

But Sepp Kuss’ career month in Spain was rightly backed by team bosses, with the American finally being given the benefit of team orders in the final days of the season’s last Grand Tour as Jonas Vingegaard and Roglic had to settle for second and third respectively. And while the Dane and Roglic could be content of sorts having already won in France and Italy respectively, team manager Richard Plugge knew it would be impossible to placate all three champion riders.

And it was clearly Roglic with the itchiest feet. It appeared he had been given the rides in the Giro and the Vuelta to allow Vingegaard the chance to have a full team pulling in his direction in his bid to retain the Tour de France crown. The one sticking point in Spain ought to have been Vingegaard’s presence, but Kuss’ extraordinary story demoted Roglic even further.

Plugge later said that deciding who to prioritise had been “like choosing between your own children”, adding to reporters: “It was a great situation that we found ourselves in, but at the same time one that never happened before and for which there was no textbook solution.”

Primoz Roglic to win 2024 Tour de France at 9/2

At the time, Roglic still had two years to run on his Visma contract but it was clear that the situation would come to a head, and his departure for Bora-Hansgrohe came as a surprise to few. The 34-year-old even claimed recently that he would have left the Dutch outfit regardless of the shake-up at the Vuelta.

“A few years earlier I had taught Jonas and Sepp everything, they still looked up to me. And now they were numbers one and two for me. We made history, and I was part of it, but even if I had won the Vuelta I would have left. I simply have greater opportunities elsewhere to achieve what I am still fighting for. That wasn’t a tough decision but rather a natural one.”

He leaves behind a team which still appears equipped to battle on every front. While Roglic is now a rival and key domestique Nathan van Hooydonck has retired, Visma have added Movistar’s Matteo Jorgenson, who showed his worth with a stirring breakaway ride up the Puy de Dome in last year’s Tour de France, as well as 20-year-old Belgian Cian Uijtdebroeks, who finished second to Juan Ayuso in the young rider classification and eighth in GC at the Vuelta.

Add those names to established Visma pieces like nine-time Le Tour stage winner and former points champ Wout van Aert, all-rounders such as Attila Valter and Wilco Kelderman, and of course Vingegaard and the brilliantly durable Kuss, and what you have is a team primed to take the battle to opponents at every turn once more in 2024.

Vingegaard has to be the big bet for the Tour de France, indeed he is the convincing 8/13 favourite to once again blast holes in his great rival Tadej Pogacar at key moments during the three weeks around l’Hexagone to claim a third straight yellow jersey title. The only question appears to be who can rival them in Italy and Spain. Van Aert looks set to be a key piece in the Giro, while Kuss and Vingegaard will again feature in the Vuelta.

But whatever the exact make-up of the Visma line-up in the Grand Tours, it will be they who will be the barometer for the rest of the peloton. Roglic at Bora, Pogacar at Team UAE, and Remco Evenepoel with Soudal Quick-Step will all spend most of their sleepless nights wondering what Visma-Lease a Bike will throw at them next.

There remains one team to beat in 2024.

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