Vingegaard from the Basque Country: “Zeeman’s departure would be a big loss for the team”

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Merijn Zeeman, the sporting architect of Visma-Lease a Bike, would leave the Dutch top cycling formation at the end of this season. That news broke in the Dutch media last night. There is no official confirmation yet. In the Tour of the Basque Country, leader Jonas Vingegaard regrets the possible adieu. “I hope he stays. But if it is, it is.”

The Dutch news site bnr.nl was the first to report the news, Wielerflits and AD received confirmation of the news, Zeeman (45) himself remains tight-lipped.

The man who made Visma-Lease a Bike the best cycling team in the world, including the overall victory in the 3 Grand Tours in 2023 – a first – will almost certainly switch to football. He also released that balloon himself once.

At the beginning of 2023, his name was mentioned at FC Twente, last month he was linked to AZ. General director Robert Eenhoorn will leave the team from his hometown of Alkmaar at the end of this season.

(read more below photo)

“I hope he stays, but it’s his decision”

Of course, lap leader Jonas Vingegaard, who gave the Dutch team Tour success in 2022 and 2023, was asked about the issue at the start of stage 3 of the Basque Country.

“We haven’t heard anything officially yet, so I can’t say anything about that,” the Dane said in good spirits. “Merijn is of course very, very important for the team. He has been part of the team since long before I came here. If he leaves, it would be a big loss.”

Zeeman, Richard Plugge, Mathieu Heijboer and Grischa Niermann names Vingegaard as the 4 men behind the dominance of the Dutch team. “They got the team to where it is today.”

“I haven’t heard anything yet, we’ll see if the rumors are true. If it is, it is,” he is not immediately concerned. “We can’t change that, it’s his decision. But I hope he stays with the team.”

We’ll see if the rumors are true. If it is so, so it is. We can’t change that.

Jonas Vingegaard

Zeeman joined the former Rabobank team in 2013. The Dutch bank withdrew as main sponsor at the end of 2012 after many doping problems.

From Blanco and Belkin it went to LottoNL-Jumbo in 2015 and Jumbo-Visma in 2019. That year, Wout van Aert also moved to the Netherlands.

Zeeman was successively sports director, coach and final sporting director.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Vingegaard Basque Country Zeemans departure big loss team

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