Jumbo-Visma are the best team in the world right now, according to Eurosport expert Sir Bradley Wiggins, after Primoz Roglic led home an impressive one-two for the Dutch outfit on Stage 17 at La Vuelta.
Roglic followed an attack from Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) with 61km remaining, working with the Colombian before ditching him on the final ascent of the Lagos de Covadonga.
The Slovenian looks unbeatable after opening up a 2’22” lead in the general classification over Enric Mas (Movistar), with four more stages – including another brutal day in the mountains on Thursday and an individual time trial on Sunday – unlikely to unseat him.
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The peloton has spent years in the shadow of Ineos Grenadiers, formerly Team Sky, but Jumbo-Visma have now emerged as serious contenders with Roglic winning the last two Vueltas and coming within a whisker of the Tour de France last year.
With Wout van Aert, arguably the sport’s greatest all-rounder, Sepp Kuss, Tom Dumoulin, Jonas Vingegaard and Steven Kruijswijk also on their roster – and Rohan Dennis joining in 2022 – they possess a formidable squad.
Their main goal remains to win the Tour and dislodge Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), but Wiggins has already seen enough to declare them the world’s best.
Stage 17 highlights: Roglic back in red after supreme Covadonga ascent
“They are a well drilled squad and they’ve got this down to a tee at Grand Tours. Even when their leader isn’t producing the goods, they still have riders like Sepp Kuss,” said Wiggins on The Breakaway.
“They’ve got strength in depth in that squad like no other. They are probably the best team in the world at the moment. They consistently do it and their leader consistently delivers.
“They seem to find young riders that come there and get inspired by the people around them and I think that’s the beauty of that squad.
“It’s something Team Sky and Ineos used to have at one period, but they seem to lack the consistency in doing that these days.
“Everyone wants to go to that team now, the likes of Rohan Dennis. They are the squad to want to go and ride for – led by Primoz Roglic, he sets the standard.”
‘Lots of riders would struggle to come back from that humiliation’
‘This is happening!’ – The moment Pogacar overhauled Roglic
Roglic suffered Tour heartbreak in 2020 when Pogacar wrestled the yellow jersey away from his compatriot on the final competitive stage.
His latest bid also ended in disappointment after he withdrew a week into this year’s edition still suffering the after effects from an earlier crash.
However, Wiggins said that some riders would never have recovered after his setback last year and praised the Olympic time trial champion’s mentality.
“We sat here a year ago when he got second in the Tour de France to Tadej Pogacar and wondered how he would come back from that, and whether he would, because lots of riders would struggle to come back from the supposed humiliation he faced that day on La Planche des Belles Filles,” continued Wiggins.
“But a week later he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege and he was back at the Vuelta, and he’s never really stopped. He just gets on with it, resets every day and doesn’t show much emotion.
“We saw him at the Olympic Games when he came through and he didn’t look like a man who had won an Olympic time trial.
“That’s what makes him such a great athlete is he just gets on with it every day, he doesn’t get too carried away with the highs and doesn’t get too disappointed with the lows.”
‘That is a gap!’ – Roglic cracks Bernal
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Source: Euro Sports