The report suggests that Jumbo-Visma’s managing director Richard Plugge would become the CEO of the new programme, Jumbo-Visma’s head sports director Merijn Zeeman would become the new team’s head coach, and Soudal-QuickStep’s CEO Patrick Lefevere would become a member of the new team’s Supervisory Board.
A merger or one team taking over the other could see Remco Evenepoel, Primož Roglič , Wout van Aert, and Jonas Vingegaard become teammates, creating a new ‘super team’ in the WorldTour. However any deal would be complex, with a number of riders and staff let go and one of the team’s management company and so WorldTour licence sold to a ambitious ProTeam or closed down entirely.
Cyclingnews has reached out to Jumbo-Visma and Soudal-QuickStep. A representative of Jumbo-Visma told Cyclingnews: “We never comment on rumours.”
The Wielerflits report suggests that discussions about the potential merger of Jumbo-Visma and Soudal-QuickStep could have begun as early as the summer during the Tour de France and that the management at Jumbo-Visma approached Soudal-QuickStep owner Zdenek Bakala, which led to the two parties meeting for further discussions in Geneva.
The report also states that the idea of a potential merger was supported by title sponsors Soudal and Visma. If the merger of the two teams is confirmed, the new team would likely be registered with the UCI as either Visma-Soudal or Soudal-Visma.
Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo confirmed in June that it is set to end its co-title sponsorship of Jumbo-Visma after the 2024 season, if not earlier, and team manager Richard Plugge has been working to find a major international sponsor to replace Jumbo.
The team was linked to Saudi Arabian Neom development project, however, Plugge denied that he had any direct contact with people from Neom and the reports have subsequently described as ‘fake news’ by one well-informmed source to Cyclingnews.
It is unclear how a potential merger would affect the sponsors and staff, and the riders of each team that are under multi-year contracts. Jumbo-Visma and Soudal-QuickStep currently have a roster of 29 riders each.
AG Insurance-Soudal-QuickStep has become a three-tier women’s programme that includes an under-19 team, an under-23 team and a Continental team that has applied for a Women’s WorldTeam licence in 2024.
A representative of Jumbo-Visma told Cyclingnews, “I don’t expect much is going to happen with our women’s team. For the rest, we never comment on rumours.”
The team also told GCN, “There were many [rumours]… Jumbo-Visma with Neom, Ineos with Evenepoel. And now this… Several options are open and time will tell (soon).”
With all the rumours going on regarding a potential merger between Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step, I took a look at the current combined squad status. (Data: @FirstCycling) pic.twitter.com/PeXnPAWHgISeptember 24, 2023