Jumbo-Visma will become Visma-Lease a Bike in 2024, according to a report by WielerFlits, with the Pon-owned leasing company helping to bolster the team’s budget after the failed merger/takeover with Soudal-QuickStep.
During the weekend the Jumbo-Visma senior directeur sportif Merijn Zeeman told Nieuwsblad that the team’s long-term future was assured but refused to go into details.
A spokesperson for Jumbo-Visma played down the WielerFlits report when contacted by Cyclingnews. However Pon Holdings, the privately owned Dutch conglomerate reportedly agreed to step in to fund the team after team manager Richard Plugge failed to find an international title sponsor. Funding from Pon apparently allowed Plugge to end the plans for the merger/takeover with Soudal-QuickStep.
Pon owns Jumbo-Visma’s current bike sponsor Cervélo and other bike brands such as Cannondale, Gazelle, Focus and Schwinn. They also import Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda in the Netherlands and have dealerships in the USA for Porsche, Ferrari and other luxury brands.
Pon Holdings BV claims their annual revenues exceed €10 billion and Lease a Bike is another part of the conglomerate.
Lease a Bike was already a minor sponsor of the Jumbo-Visma team in 2023 but is likely to become a title sponsor in 2024 as the Jumbo supermarket chain ends its backing.
Norwegian business software and IT brand Visma have already made it clear they will remain as a title sponsor, investing around €12 million and Pon apparently agreed to increase their sponsorship of Richard Plugge’s team when Specialized tried to be the team’s bike sponsor as part of the Soudal-QuickStep merger/takeover. The team would perhaps have a smaller budget than in 2023 but lowered their costs by allowing Primož Roglič to leave and join Bora-Hansgrohe.
Lease a Bike claims that 7000 companies in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium have signed up to their bike leasing programme, with 100,000 employees enjoying tax breaks as they lease a bike to ride to work and for recreational use. According to reports, a total of 600,000 employees in 65,000 different companies have used Pon’s different leasing brands. 90% of all bikes are electric bikes, which are delivered and serviced through a network of local bicycle dealers.
Volkswagen Financial Services, a Germany-based subsidiary of car brand Volkswagen recently invested in Pon’s bike leasing brands, with plans to expand into the USA and other markets.