Tom Dumoulin has decided to take a break from his cycling career. The 30-year old rider decided in consultation with his team Jumbo-Visma to take unpaid leave for an undetermined time.
Yesterday evening, Dumoulin announced this in a conversation with the management of the Dutch cycling team at the training camp in Alicante. The Dutchman says he has been unhappy as a cyclist for a year. He wants to take the time to find out what he wants to do with his future and find an answer to the question whether he still wants to be a professional cyclist.
The decision to stop temporarily comes as a surprise to many. In an interview earlier this week, Dumoulin said to be looking forward to the new season, in which he was going to take the start in two cobbled classics. “For this spring we have decided to change course. We’re going to ride the cobbles, which will be fun.”
“I think the spring is always a very nice period. Everybody is eager, including myself, to get started again. I must admit that in terms of results it has never been my best period. This will be my tenth year as a professional cyclist and I have actually never really shone in spring. I hope and think every year that this year it will work. I am fully going for it again.”
Dumoulin would start his season in Strade Bianche, after that the plan was to start as team leader in Tirreno-Adriatico and subsequently the one day races Milan-San Remo, E3 Saxo Bank Classic and the Tour of Flanders.
He would skip the hill classics, among which the Amstel Gold Race, to take a period of rest after which he would build to the Tour the France via the Tour de Romandie. After the Tour, the Olympic and the World Championships cycling were his two main goals. This schedule will now be crossed out.
The 30-year old captain of the Dutch team has been ailing with his sporting career for two years. In 2019, he injured his knee in a crash during the fourth stage of the 2019 Giro d’Italia. This injury kept him on the sideline nearly the entire season.
That year, because of dissatisfaction with his former Team Sunweb, he terminated his contract for a transfer to Jumbo-Visma. Also with the yellow-and-black team, Dumoulin has not regained his happiness. During last year’s Tour de France, he suffered from a saddle sore and he did not always agree with the chosen team tactics. Nonetheless, he finished the Tour in seventh place.
After the 2020 Tour, Dumoulin revealed to have already thought of quitting. ”I have had a terrible time after my knee injury. Then on top of that came the intestinal complaints in the spring and then corona. I can say that I was closer to stopping than to continuing”, he said at the time.
In the meantime, it has become clear that we will still pause his cycling career for an undetermined period. A return as professional racer has not been excluded.