When the Tour de France arrives in the final ascent of the 15th stage, Sunday, September 13, the peloton has already gone through the wringer and is reduced to around thirty individuals.

Among them, one team is still over-represented: the Jumbo-Visma of the Primoz Roglic yellow jersey which still has 5 teammates to support it while the other teams are content to try to survive the demanding first alpine stage.

This demonstration is not the first of the Jaunes et Noirs on the Tour, but it is the very illustration of their overwhelming superiority.

In two weeks, their record would already make most teams green with envy: a yellow jersey firmly anchored on the shoulders of Primoz Roglic for seven days, three stage victories (one for the leader and two for the prodigy Wout Van Aert ), three podiums and a tenth place in the general classification a little more anecdotal for Tom Dumoulin.

Above all, the voracious Jumbo-Visma seems to crush the race with all her weight, leaving her opponents only the crumbs.

🚅 The JumboVismaRoad locomotive leading the pack.

🚅 The Jumbo-Visma locomotive pulls the peloton .. # TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/SOnJJZ9sXT

- Tour de France ™ (@LeTour) September 13, 2020

A "total cycling"

In an interview with the Team, Richard Plugge, the team manager since 2015, developed in early September his vision of cycling.

With the Jumbo-Visma, he hopes to set up a "total cycling" in reference to "total football" designed in the 1970s by Ajax Amsterdam and the selection of the Netherlands under the leadership of Johan Cruyff.

"You can be in front, all the time. The Dutch national team played together and everyone was at the highest level, that's what we want to do," he explains.

Since 2019, the team has endeavored to analyze at the cost of hundreds of hours of video sessions what made the supremacy of Ineos Grenadiers (formerly Ineos and Sky), whose riders have won seven of the last eight Tour de France.

🇫🇷 # TDF2020

Team effort💪!

🖤💛 # ForOurB̷l̷a̷c̷k̷A̷n̷d̷Yellow pic.twitter.com/K56CgtkaMg

- Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) September 13, 2020

The Jumbo-Visma wanted to proceed by copy and paste by lining up a triumvirate of leaders capable of winning the event: Primoz Roglic, Steven Kruiijswik (3rd last year) and Tom Dumoulin (winner of the Giro 2017).

But the injury of the second forced him to review his plans by betting everything on the Slovenian, just like the relative poor form of Dumoulin transformed into equipping four stars for Roglic in the last mountainous slopes.

Unusual collective and marginal gains

The rest of the Dutch collective is just as impressive: Amund Jansen, strong driver to protect the team on the flat, Tony Martin, road captain able to impose respect to the whole peloton as during the 1st stage when he asked for a tacit neutralization of the race due to the chaotic climatic conditions, Robert Gesink, the former hope of Dutch cycling, George Benett who in many other formations would claim the place of leader, Wout Van Aert, the Belgian prodigy who has shone on the classics in August and finally Sepp Kuss, the young American, bodyguard of Roglic in the mountains.

Just like the Ineos, the Jumbo-Visma is also a follower of "marginal gains", these small details at the level of nutrition, recovery or even mechanics which do not seem to affect the race but which, placed end to end, allow a difference in performance. .

"We try to be as professional as possible in all areas and get the maximum involvement of all team members," explains Richard Plugge.

"We must progress in know-how and experience. The Ineos are ahead in these areas. They know how to win a grand Tour. We have not yet won the Tour de France. It is a walk to cross and it is high. All small mistakes pay for themselves ... "

The peloton grinds its teeth

A steep step to be taken but which seems more than ever within reach of the Jumbo-Visma less than a week from the outcome of the Great Loop.

But, in a sport whose history is marked by doping scandals, such superiority makes people cringe.

Especially when you see a simple puncher like Wout Van Aert, however talented he is, being able to land the best climbers in the Grand Colombier.

And that at the same time we see one of the favorites of Ineos, Egan Bernal, winner last year, finish the stage of Puy Mary curled up in a ball on his bike while according to his words, his figures are at least as excellent as last year.

Bernal después from hacer su trabajo 👊🏽 pic.twitter.com/bwqfkH1pGM

- Egan Arley Bernal (@Eganbernal) September 11, 2020

"We all dream of knowing their secret," comments bitterly a runner who prefers to remain anonymous in Liberation.

"Hopefully they go to bed in week three [of the Tour de France]. Normally they should go to bed. Normally…" another sighed.

"We have a very strict anti-doping policy. I think everyone has learned from the past," corrects Richard Plugge.

A past that can be heavy to bear.

The Jumbo-Visma is the heir to the very sulphurous Rabobank, the Dutch team in which doping was institutionalized between 1996 and 2012. And bad tongues remind us that confinement has undermined the anti-doping strategy of the Union international cyclist.

The team refused - like half of the World Tour teams (10 out of 19) - to join the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC), which is committed to "clean" cycling in the pure respect of the ethics of the UCI.

The Slovenian yellow jersey, Primoz Roglic, is itself surrounded by a climate of suspicion.

This former ski jumper has never been directly cited in a case but the big boss of Slovenian cycling Milan Erzen, his former manager at Adria-Mobil, has been cited in Operation Aderlass, a vast investigation into a doping ring . 

Asked by journalists about the credibility of his victory, the Slovenian leader did not get angry, keeping the same impassive mask he displays in the worst percentages in the mountains.

"I have nothing to hide, and as far as I'm concerned, you can trust me," he said, guaranteeing "that we don't have to worry about his credibility" before recalling the severity controls.

Roglič questioned by a journalist about the credibility of his performance, replies:

"There are a lot of controls [...] I believe that there is nothing to hide, and at least as far as I am concerned, you can trust "

➡️ @lequipe #dopage # TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/JbEfQuTNWr

- catourneovale (@catourneovale) September 14, 2020

"We pass a lot of checks," said the Slovenian.

"At 6 o'clock this morning (before the 15th stage, editor's note), I had complete control. I had another after the finish of the stage. Seen from my side, things are going very well" .

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