Jumbo-Visma’s Tom Dumoulin is to take an indefinite break from cycling. The 2017 Giro d’Italia winner says he is considering whether to continue as a professional racer.
A team statement today announced: “Tom Dumoulin has left the training camp of Team Jumbo-Visma to consider his cycling future at home. The rider won’t participate in races for the time being.”
Dumoulin has had a difficult couple of years since a crash at the 2019 Giro in which he suffered what was to become a longstanding knee injury.
After being forced to sit out that year’s Tour de France because of the problem, he left Team Sunweb at the end of the season, explaining that, “the last months have not been fun.”
This was as much a reference to the environment as his injury struggles, but even after moving to Jumbo-Visma he seemingly struggled for motivation.
Speaking after finishing seventh at the 2020 Tour de France, Dumoulin said that he had been considering retirement earlier in the season.
“I had a terrible time after my knee injury,” he said. “Then my intestinal complaints, which I got over in the spring, and then coronavirus. I can say I was closer to stopping than continuing.
"I took the decision yesterday, and the team supports me in it, and it feels really good. 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?”
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
Since we first published this article, Dumoulin has taken to Twitter to further clarify his decision.
Writing less than 24 hours after posting a Jumbo-Visma video in which the Dutchman outlined his goals for the season, Dumoulin said: "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.
"But in that process I forgot my myself a bit. I forgot what I actually want within this sport and with my future. because I don’t have this answer clear for myself I’m actually also not doing the best for the people around me.
"I really need the time to get things clear in my head about what I want and how I want it. It feels really good to take this step and I feel very supported by my friends and family and the team to take this step.
"Taking the decision immediately felt like a big weight of my shoulders. I’m going to do a lot of thinking and talking to a lot of people and I’m very confident that I will find the answers [in] the coming period."