Tom Dumoulin will take a break from cycling as the Dutchman decides what he wants to do in the future, it has been announced.
Dumoulin, 30, has left his team’s training camp in Alicante, Spain, where he had been preparing for the new season. Speaking earlier this week in the Dutch media, Dumoulin outlined his plans for the year that were to include competing at a number of the one-day spring classics.
Dumoulin, however, has performed a dramatic volte face, saying he needed to take time out and that he had been unhappy for sometime. Dumoulin will take unpaid leave from Jumbo-Visma, whom he is contracted to until 2022, while he considers his future.
“I took the decision yesterday. And the team supports me in it, and it feels really good,” he said in a team statement. “It is really as if a backpack of a hundred kilos has slipped off my shoulders. I immediately woke up happy.
“It feels so good that I finally took the decision to take some time for myself. That says enough. I have been feeling for quite a while that it is very difficult for me to know how to find my way as Tom Dumoulin the cyclist.
“With the pressure that comes with it, with the expectations of different parties. I just want to do very well for very many people. I want the team to be happy with me. I want the sponsors to be happy. I want my wife and my family to be happy. And so I want to do well for everyone, but because of that I have forgotten myself a bit in the past year. What do I want? Do I still want to be a rider. And how?”
In 2017 Dumoulin became the first Dutchman to win the Giro d’Italia before later that year adding the rainbow bands to his growing collection of jerseys after winning the world time trial championships in Bergen, Norway. A runners-up spot at the 2018 Tour de France was followed by a disappointing season in 2019 after he was forced to abandon the Giro having sustained a knee injury.
Following a transfer to Dutch squad Jumbo-Visma in 2020, Dumoulin showed signs of improvement and played a key role in his team’s Tour de France challenge spearheaded by Primoz Roglic, who finished runner-up.
The team and I decided yesterday that I take a leave with an unknown time frame from our beautiful sport.
For too long I feel a big pressure to perform and I feel that I always want to do the best for the team, for all the sponsors, the fans etc. (1/4)
— Tom Dumoulin (@tom_dumoulin) January 23, 2021