Like everybody else, Matteo Jorgenson was blindsided by the news. Earlier this year, after drawing interest from just about every team in the WorldTour, the American had opted to sign with Jumbo-Visma and was looking forward to 2024.
When reports emerged of a merger/takeover between Jumbo-Visma and Soudal-QuickStep last month, Jorgenson spent a week or so suddenly unsure as to where precisely he would land once the music stopped.
In the end, the two teams will continue as separate entities in 2024 and, in any event, Jorgenson was surely always going to find a home at whatever form Jumbo-Visma took for next year.
Even so, the proposed merger sent ripples through the two teams and beyond, with nobody’s future fully guaranteed protection from the prevailing current.
“I had some doubts personally when I read the news, because with a thing like that you never know,” Jorgenson tells Cyclingnews in Beihai on the opening day of the Tour of Guangxi.
“Literally anything could have happened, but eventually nothing came of it. I was slightly stressed in the first few days when I read it, but then eventually the team told me that nothing was happening, and that all was normal.
“Thoughts always cross your mind, but I wasn’t super worried. With contracts signed and with the UCI involved, they would have figured a solution for everyone, so I wasn’t too stressed. It just posed questions.”
With that drama now set aside, Jorgenson can return to pondering the questions offered up by his sparkling 2023 season.
Victory at the Tour of Oman and eighth overall at Paris-Nice showcased his ability as a stage racer, while his displays on the cobbles – fourth at E3 Harelbeke and ninth at the Tour of Flanders – hinted at his potential in the Classics. He then went close to a stage victory at the Tour de France, only for Michael Woods to pass him close to the Puy du Dôme mountain finish.
At Movistar, Jorgenson had to cover the costs of personal training altitude camps and marginal gains but had the freedom to pursue results across all terrains. It remains to be seen if Jumbo-Visma will seek to direct his talents in a specific direction.
Contemporary cycling allows riders to be more versatile than they dared to be a generation ago but Jorgenson is mindful that specialisation has its benefits too.
“I think the super talents can do it all and they can do it all super well but I still think specialising helps. If you train for one thing, then you’re going to be…