While the cycling world was trying to understand the consequences and social media exploded, the team opted not to make any official statement.
Cyclingnews saw team mechanics working in the hotel car park, with race bikes ready for Saturday’s Il Lombardia, but riders appeared to be enjoying a final afternoon nap and massage, knowing that they will now not join forces with the Soudal-QuickStep team.
Cyclingnews understands that the Jumbo-Visma riders and staff were told on Friday morning that the merger/takeover was off. Jumbo-Visma have decided that the complex plan to unite the two teams was no longer their best option, and they wanted to end the constant reporting and speculation for the good of all the riders and staff involved, including those who risked losing their jobs at Soudal-QuickStep.
Jumbo-Visma may have missed out on adding Remco Evenepoel to their roster and have lost Primož Roglič to Bora-Hansgrohe, but they now appear confident that they can secure the future of the team by other means, with a new sponsor perhaps close to being secured.
After almost two weeks of reports and leaks, the merger/takeover option had become a disruptive distraction. Now, the team’s management is focused on the bigger goal of finalising the long-term future of the team, so they can compete with the likes of UAE Team Emirates and Ineos Grenadiers.
Soudal stick with Patrick Lefevere and hope to keep Remco Evenepoel
Although the Soudal-QuickStep team initially refused to comment, the Belgian team will apparently exist as a WorldTour team through the end of 2025, with Patrick Lefevere and Czech billionaire Zdenek Bakala continuing to own the team, with Soudal, QuickStep and Specialized remaining as key sponsors.
That would mean Remco Evenepoel remains under contract with the team until the end of 2026 unless another team, such as Ineos Grenadiers or Israel-Premier Tech, agrees to buy him out of his contract and secures approval from the Belgian team and the UCI. It also avoids the fallout and loss of jobs for riders and staff that a merger or takeover would have caused.
The Soudal adhesives brand was ready to jump ship as part of the merger/takeover but quickly said on Friday that they are happy it…