Alberto Contador Skeptical of Soudal-Jumbo Merger, Sees Concerns for Cycling

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Speculation regarding a potential merger between Soudal Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma has been downplayed by Eurosport expert Alberto Contador. Despite reports of discussions for a potential merger as early as next year, Contador maintains a sense of skepticism. “Many rumors often stay as just that—rumors,” remarked the Spanish cycling expert. In the event that such a merger were to materialize, Contador expresses concerns about the fate of riders who might find themselves without a team.

Alberto Contador has played down speculation that Soudal Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma are set to merge, but said that if it does happen it “will not be good news”.
The two teams are reportedly discussing the possibility of a merger as soon as next year.
On Tuesday, the speculation drew an angry response from Soudal Quick-Step Racing’s Ilan Van Wilder, with the Belgian speaking out after Tre Valli Varesine’s win.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us, so this win is for my teammates and our staff, to show that we don’t agree with all this nonsense,” Van Wilder said.
Van Velde’s Soudal Quick-Step teammate Julian Alaphilippe admitted that reports of his team’s impending merger with Jumbo-Visma were “sad”.
But Contador said in an interview that it was hard to imagine the two teams merging.
“There has been a lot of talk about a possible merger between Jumbo and Soudal, but so far these have been rumors,” he said.
“There have always been rumors in cycling; since I was a professional rider I have seen rumors appear in the media.
“I don’t know what’s true because it’s hard for me to imagine a merger between Jumbo and Soudal, and it’s due to different factors: it’s delicate for all the riders and other people because of the time period we’re in.

A merger between two of the biggest teams with the best drivers inevitably brings challenges, and Contador believes it could become too complicated to execute.

Alberto Contador Skeptical of Soudal-Jumbo Merger, Sees Concerns for Cycling

“We’re talking about bike brands now, given the compatibility issues with some of the sponsors,” he said.
If Jumbo and Soudal could merge, I think one of the difficult things to manage would be the bike brands, and we are talking about very strong brands that would certainly not want to be separated from any of these teams, above all, because some riders might have personal contracts with them, like Remco [Evenepoel] with [bike manufacturer] Specialized.
“I find it hard to believe in this merger, especially to keep the best riders.
“Remco is faced with a possible merger and I don’t think he would want to share a team with a rider (Jonas Vingegaard) who just won the Tour de France, who is going to return to the Tour de France and win, and in Remco’s head has the ability to go to the Tour de France and win in the future.

“These rumors of a merger might make some agents leave, we think in principle that they will come together, but nobody will join.
“We’ve already seen the departure of Primoz Roglic, who left [Jumbo-Visma] because he didn’t want to mortgage himself, he wanted to have the freedom, so why not go to the Tour de France as a leader, knowing that with Jonas Vingegaard it would be complicated.
“In the case of Remco, something similar will happen in the Tour de France.
“These are all rumors and there is a lot more to confirm and give more judgment.
If a deal does go through, some riders could lose their teams and staff could lose their jobs.

Contador echoed the concerns of former UCI president Brian Cookson, who sympathized with those who would be negatively affected.
“Obviously, if the merger goes ahead, it will not be good news.
It’s not good news because we’re talking about the fact that there are 70 families in Jumbo-Visma and 70 families in Soudal-Quick Step,” Contador said.

“We need to address everything, particularly at this stage, as they are merely rumors. No team has officially provided any comments on this matter, and the majority of these rumors tend to remain as such. Let’s wait and see what unfolds in the coming days.”

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