How Jumbo-Visma used football strategy to overthrow Tadej Pogačar at the Tour de France


How to beat Tadej Pogačar at the Tour de France?

Tap football strategies and listen to cycling podcasts, that’s how it is. At least that’s what Jumbo-Visma did before delivering Jonas Vingaard to the top step of the Parisian podium last weekend.


Jumbo Visma manager Merijn Zeeman has revealed how the team exploited the expertise of footballing super strategist Erik ten Hag to plan Tadej Pogačar’s fall this summer.

“Someone who helped me a lot is Erik ten Hag. Someone from a completely different sport, but I wanted to understand from him: how do you arrive at tactics? Before making a game plan, what is behind this? I had the opportunity to talk to him about it several times,” Zeeman said. LIT this week.

Read also : The road to the yellow jersey began six years ago for Jumbo-Visma

Ten Hag took Ajax to the pinnacle of Dutch football at the turn of the last decade in a period of Team Sky-style dominance in the ‘Eredivisie’.

The Amsterdam-based ‘ballers have scored 100 wins in 128 matches under the guidance of Ten Hag and his own brand of ‘tika taka’ gameplay. Pressing intensity, space manipulation and one-two exchange made Ajax almost unstoppable.

“With great talents such as Wout van Aert, Primoz Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard and Steven Kruijswijk in your squad, you can also come up with different tactics,” Zeeman said. “Just as good football managers have good footballers at their disposal with whom they can win games, we can also make plans because you have good runners at your disposal.”

‘GTCC’ and the Galibier

Jumbo-Visma attacked Pogačar until he appeared in stage 11 of the Tour.

Ten Hag-style teamwork coupled with a little careful research saw Jumbo-Visma execute a brutal bullying offense on an overconfident Pogačar on Stage 11 of the Tour.

Vingegaard, Van Aert, Roglič and Christophe Laporte outnumbered and attacked Pogačar on the Galibier flank and cracked him for good on the Granon in what was a stage for the ages. Pogačar fell from yellow jersey and never saw him again.

Read also : Did Tadej Pogačar cause his own fall in stage 11 of the Tour de France?

“We had already done a lot of reconnaissance [before the Tour]“, said Zeeman.

“We knew the course better and better. And we also knew what Pogačar was particularly good at. But at the top of the agenda, there was always this question: where are its weaknesses?

“What kind of team does he have, where can we hit them? And how do you translate that into our qualities in the course? »

Turns out Pogačar himself pointed out the problems with seemingly unbreakable armor.

Jumbo-Visma plugged in its podcast apps and gathered information, possibly from Geraint Thomas’ own “GTCC podcast”.

Pogačar told his Welsh rival about his weakness on the type of rough climbs that weighed heavily on the now infamous Alpine stage 22 of the Tour.

“I do good power on the not so long climbs, but sometimes the longer climbs are worse for me, and the high altitude – I think that’s what they figured out already,” Pogačar said on the podcast. from Thomas last winter, adding that pre-exhaustion from multiple attacks compounded the problem.

Pogačar predicted his own downfall.

Left isolated by the base of the 17.5 kilometer Galibier, Pogačar parried Vingegaard and Co.’s Ajax-style double until he blew big on the Granon and lost his grip on the run with a loss of three minutes.

Jumbo-Visma draws its experience from beyond the peloton

New Zealand’s ‘All Blacks’ – shown here performing the infamous pre-match Haka – inspired the evolution of Jumbo-Visma (Photo: Emmanuele Ciancaglini/SPC-Getty Images)

Ten Hag has been recognized as a leading tactical mind by figures across the sports spectrum.

The Uno-X team openly attribute their attacking style to the Dutch manager’s approach, and Manchester United have turned to Ten Hag for the upcoming 2022-23 season to resume their once ruthless dominance of the Premier League of football.

But Jumbo-Visma doesn’t stop at football when he seeks inspiration for his forward-thinking approach to training, nutrition and technology.

Zeeman said BikeNews this spring, how the team tapped into the culture behind rugby’s conquering New Zealand ‘All Blacks’ to instill an open and honest management style with no top-down hierarchy. Jumbo-Visma also works extensively with Jac Orie, head coach of its partner speed skating team.

Read also : How the rugby “All Blacks” of the Jumbo-Visma chain

“Six years ago, we drew up a plan. We have invested in talent development, equipment, manpower, knowledge and skills,” team boss Richard Plugge said after Vingaard took overall victory on Sunday.

“Today, the work of the past years has reached its climax. We could not have imagined that this Tour de France would be such a success for our team.

Ten Hag is hoping for similar success for his ailing football team Manchester United in the next Premier League season.