Five years behind the scenes with Team Jumbo-Visma

Documenting the rise of the world’s best cycling team

At the end of 2018, I started working with Team Jumbo-Visma (now Team Visma-Lease a Bike) on an ongoing basis. From covering training camps and shooting portraits of all riders to capturing the biggest races, I embedded with the team and documented their journey to becoming one of the best teams in the world, if not the best.

While my work with the team continues, this page is the culmination of these five years as Team Jumbo-Visma. I aim to show all facets of the team, and all the hard work that goes into it from both riders and staff. 

Important note: for the best viewing experience, please open this page on a computer, not on a phone.

Training

Training camps are where the work is put in and where the team is built. It’s also a place not many people get to see. I still remember how excited I was during my first time in a team car circling around the riders, getting my first photos in.

Seeing the riders train has actually inspired me to take up riding myself. The combination of working out but also enjoying the surroundings and nature, and stopping for a coffee with some pastries really resonated with me. It’s amazing how similar the experience is for these world class riders and myself, an extremely average amateur, sharing the same roads, with the tiny difference of speed.

Hotels

Half a rider’s life is spent in hotels throughout Europe. Some good, some not so good (I’m looking at you, France). It’s a home away from home, especially since recurring training camps and races often sees the team stay in the same hotels.

The team has a rhythm at hotels, all focused on riders’ performance: sleep, eat, train/race, eat, have a massage (but only the riders), eat some more, sleep, repeat.

Altitude

Training camps at altitude are a special breed. They often take place at winter sports resorts, fairly deserted in spring and summer. The atmosphere here is different: less staff are present, focus is fully on the goals ahead, and the camps feel more secluded and intimate. Staff often stays in apartments where they cook together instead of hotels with full service restaurants.

I had one of the worst 24 hours in my life during one of these camps in Sierra Nevada, when the mix of food poisoning and the altitude made me as sick as I’d ever been. Somehow I made it through the night and day, capturing some important images for sponsors.

Innovation

Team Jumbo-Visma is an innovative team, constantly improving their hardware and working with riders to improve their performance, spearheaded by Mathieu Heijboer.

Many of the team’s aerodynamics tests took place in my alma mater Eindhoven University of Technology’s wind tunnel.

Youngsters

In 2020, a developement team was added to the Jumbo-Visma family. Working with these youngsters has been a pleasure. They’re excited about the¬†prospect of a career as a professional rider and are always eager to collaborate for photos.

It’s been amazing to see some of these young guys grow and make it into the World Tour team. Some have already gone on to race the biggest races like Paris-Roubaix, and Olav Kooij just won his first Grand Tour stage in the Giro d’Italia this spring.

Staff

While the riders are the ones in the spotlight for the team, its backbone is formed by the staff. They are the ones that take care of everything, so the riders can focus on improving and performing.

The staff are a major determining factor in the culture of the team. In fact, Jumbo-Visma’s staff wrote down their own core values in the Blanco Koers. The spirit resulting from this document has been crucial in the team’s rise to success.

Women’s team

2021 saw the inception of the women’s team. The team was comprised of a mix of young and promising riders, bringing living legend Marianne Vos on board as a star and mentor.

One of my most special memories with the team was during the first edition of women’s Paris-Roubaix, the most legendary one day race in cycling. This had always been a men-only race. During the first women’s edition, after doing the recon, Marianne had her first look at the iconic showers at the Roubaix velodrome. This place breathes history, and from this year on the women would be writing their own stories in this race.

Joy

In my first five years with the team, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness countless victories, and have had to capture a fair few champagne bottles being popped.¬†

These moments after the finish are actually hard to capture: the victorious riders of a race are often surrounded by media, meaning you really have to fight for your place and will be shooting the same moments as many other photographers. I therefore choose to instead focus on the moments of human connection, and do much of my work behind the scenes where press photographers can’t go.