Will the Jumbo-Visma cycling team stay afloat as Jumbo ends its sponsorship of motorsports?

This week, the Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo announced that it will cease its sponsorship of Dutch motorsports. Although Jumbo does remain the main sponsor of the Jumbo-Visma cycling team, the question remains whether top Belgian cyclist Wout Van Aert and his teammates will soon have to look for another sponsor.

Jumbo stops sponsoring Dutch motorsport. Only for Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen will an exception be made. The reason for the decision is the turbulence surrounding the Dutch retail chain.

On 15 September, the top executive of the family business Frits van Eerd was arrested. 450,000 euros in cash and 20 Rolexes were found in his home. He is suspected of money laundering through his sponsorship activities in motorsport. According to NRC, van Eerd would have connections that strongly lean towards the Amsterdam crime scene.

It is, therefore, no coincidence that Jumbo is now distancing itself from motorsports, as all contacts and contracts went through van Eerd's network. However, Jumbo does state that it does not intend to change anything about its cycling sponsorship for the time being.

The spokesperson for the cycling team Jumbo-Visma is not too worried. "Our contact with the Jumbo management is still excellent," Ard Bierens stressed to Het Nieuwsblad. "Jumbo also stressed that all suspicions against Frits van Eerd are completely unrelated to the company."

At Jumbo, the leadership is now taken over by Ton van Veen, the former CFO, which according to Bierens, is reassuring. "Because Ton was already our main point of contact in the past. He also sits on Jumbo-Visma's supervisory board. So the connection with cycling is still there."

Meanwhile, Jumbo revealed that it posted record sales of more than 10 billion euros in 2022, although the company is expected to present lower profits soon. In particular, the results of the Belgian Jumbo shops are lagging behind expectations. So it no longer seems out of the question that Van Aert's cycling team will soon find the same.

The contract with Jumbo is of 'indefinite duration', meaning it can end at any time. However, the deal concluded with Visma, the other main sponsor, does include a two-year notice period. "In that sense, we are not too worried about the sponsorship issue," spokesman Bierens concluded.


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO Luc Claessen

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