Merijn Zeeman: ‘We’d love to have Dylan van Baarle’ at Jumbo-Visma

Jumbo-Visma confirms interest in Paris-Roubaix winner and provides an update on Primož Roglič.

Photo: Getty

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (VN) — While speculation has linked Dylan van Baarle to Jumbo-Visma, the Paris-Roubaix winner remains unsigned for 2023.

The Dutchman’s value on the transfer market certainly edged up a few Euros after his monument win, and while Team Ineos has yet to tie down the rider’s long-term future, Jumbo-Visma has made no secret of its desire to sign a rider who would make a formidable classics double act alongside Wout van Aert.

“I’m not allowed to say anything but it’s useless to deny our interest in him,” team director Merijn Zeeman told VeloNews at the Tour de Romandie.

“He’s one of the best Dutch riders. We’re an international team but with a Dutch core. So obviously we want to have good Dutch riders but the most important thing is that he’s one of the best classics riders in the world.”

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Van Baarle offers more than just his classics prowess. He has become a formidable part of Ineos’ stage racing core having raced three out of four editions of the Tour de France since his move to the team at the start of 2018.

He won a mountain stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2019, has enjoyed relative success in shorter stage races, and most importantly, provides cover in a number of areas, and across a number of terrains. He is the true definition of a super domestique when it comes to stage racing.

“He’s also one of the best teammates a big team can have, and he’s done many Tours and won with Egan Bernal. He’s a strong guy,” Zeeman added.

“We would love to have him but I can’t say if that will happen. I think that a lot of other teams want him, especially his own team, Ineos. They did a fantastic job with him and we respect that.”

Riders cannot officially sign with new teams before the UCI’s August 1 deadline, and Van Baarle’s win in Paris-Roubaix will only drive up potential interest. That said, if Ineos and Jumbo-Visma are the two biggest players at the bidding table it’s likely that the majority of other teams will be priced out of the market for a rider, who at 29, will be looking for the biggest contract of his career.

“He has much bigger value now and that’s one of the biggest wins that they have now. I think that all the teams that have ambitions want a rider like that in their team. That changes a lot. We’ll see what will happen. It will be hard to have him join the team but we’ll see,” Zeeman added.

While Jumbo-Visma continues to build for the long-term, the team’s short-term goals for 2022 revolve around the Tour de France. Primož Roglič missed the Ardennes with a knee injury but the Slovenian will be back to racing at the Dauphine in June.

“I think that it’s going in the right direction but he needs some time for that,” said Zeeman. “He’s training and he is being strictly monitored by the training staff to make sure that he’s doing the right thing.

“He’s not yet at 100 percent but he’s working on it. I don’t think he’s lost any time at all because he was already in a recovery period and during that time he would normally be on holiday. He’s back in training so he’s not missed anything but we have to make sure that the injury is completely gone. We’re cautious because we don’t want the injury to come back.”

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