Richard Plugge wasn’t a bike racer; he came from a more general business background – and he has approached the building of a team from a business perspective. In other words, put together a strategy and a vision for the organization, start to create the right kind of culture, focus on putting the right people in the right places, and begin to move gradually towards your objective. As the organization builds momentum, it starts to become self-sustaining; more people will take notice of your success and message, more people will want to join the organization.
- Plugge confirmed that – according to the UCI budget rankings provided to the teams – Jumbo-Visma ranks somewhere around number 16 or 17 out of the 18 WorldTour teams.
Plugge says that the turning point came in 2015, when the Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo signed on as the new sponsor.
- “Jumbo told me, ‘we will either sponsor or we won’t sponsor. But if we do sponsor, we are going to roll up our sleeves, we are going to be involved, and we’re in for the long haul.’ That gave us the breathing room we needed, and in 2015 we really began to work on creating a new DNA – a new culture – for the team.“ With this financial commitment behind the team, Plugge says, ”that’s really when the reorganization began.
- “What is maybe different about our team is that we first started to define and build a real strong DNA – to define who are we, to ask what are our core values, what is the culture we are trying to build? We try to define and discuss that with everyone, before we hire them – riders or staff; we try to make sure that person fits with our DNA.”
- Says Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven economist (“Professor Cyclocross”) Dr. Daam Van Reeth, “Richard Plugge is viewed as one of the only team managers with a true long-term strategy.”
Plugge and his team have created the sort of culture or environment which has allowed many riders to perform at, or even above their full potential.
Within the team’s limited budget,” Plugge says, “we are putting a lot of money towards the science behind innovative racing; the money is not all going into rider contracts.”