Due to a ongoing knee injury, a parasite and the corona crisis, Tom hasn’t been able to race for a year. The winner of the Giro d’Italia of 2017 and one of the leaders of Team Jumbo-Visma for the upcoming Tour de France, however, looks to the future with great confidence, the 29-year-old Dutchman explained in the Dutch Talkshow M by Margriet van der Linden.
“In 2017 I won the Giro d’Italia and I became time trial world champion. In 2018 I was also successful with a second place in the Giro and the Tour, but things went wrong in 2019. I had hoped to take the next step in my career by winning the Tour de France someday or maybe even that year already. I participated again in the Giro d’Italia, but in the fourth stage things went sideways. I crashed very hard and sustained a bad knee injury. That was mentally very hard to deal with.”
Tom no longer looks back, he rather looks to the future. “It was not an easy period, but I thought: how do I get out of this mental dip as a top athlete? How do I show resilience? Last year I had a lot of time to think about that. Then I realised that I just really enjoy riding my bike. I also realised that I missed the game and that I like to just ride my bike and be one with nature. I also realised how much I enjoy racing and winning. To defeat the others. The whole primal drive that is inside me when I am racing. That is often not a nice side of me, but it is a side that I often embrace as a top athlete. And I also get a lot of energy from it. The past year has brought me a lot of rest. I have been able to think about many things and have been able to enjoy the simple things in life again. As a top athlete you are always working towards your next goal. The ambition and the drive forward to deliver a great new performance. It certainly gives me the energy to try and go for it again in the future.”
Tom shares the team leadership at Team Jumbo-Visma with Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk. A role that Dumoulin agrees with. “At Sunweb I was the absolute leader of the team in many races. The whole team was working for me. And now at Team Jumbo-Visma and certainly in the upcoming Tour de France, if the race will be held, we will start with three leaders. That is something that I like very much. And I was looking for that too. At Sunweb it was very difficult to bear the pressure of an entire team that was only working for me. So I really like this new situation. I am given the opportunity to prove myself. The chance that if I am good enough that the team will be riding for me. But also that if I am not good enough, I have to work for the others. And that is an agreement that we have made together and that I fully support.”
As it stands now, the season will start again in August. The main goal of Team Jumbo-Visma and Tom is the Tour de France, which starts on August 29 in Nice. “We have to take everything into account. Also that the Tour will get canceled this year. But for the time being, it looks like we will be able to race again in two months. Our main goal is to win the Tour de France. My hope is to win the Tour de France. So that’s what we’re going for.”