Tom Dumoulin has revealed more details about his struggles on and off the bike after retiring from professional cycling this summer.
The Dutch Giro d’Italia winner took a break from racing in 2021 in order to focus on his mental health and wellbeing.
Dumoulin made a triumphant return to professional cycling and won an Olympic silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics later that year in the men’s individual time trial. But he quit for good in August this year.
In an interview with Dutch news outlet NRC (opens in new tab), Dumoulin has revealed further details of his traumatic 2020 season which sparked his decision to take time away from cycling.
When discussing the 2020 Tour de France, where he finished seventh, Dumoulin said: “It was really, really awful. I hated cycling so much, and I hated being there so much,”
“Still I was able to help the team and I finished seventh. Seventh! I really don’t understand how that is possible. And then you have to imagine that the world was able to watch during the most unfortunate period of my life,” Dumoulin added.
Earlier this year Dumoulin announced he would retire at the end of 2022 with his final outing as a professional being the recent World Championships in Wollongong, Australia. However after deliberating over his decision, Dumoulin brought his retirement forward in August admitting that “the tank is empty”.
Three months after his retirement, Dumoulin explained that he has now regained freedom in other areas of his life.
“For the first time in my life I can fill in everything myself,” he said. “I start with a completely blank page and where I’m going, I have no idea. And I’d like to leave it that way because it feels good,” he added.
After initially deciding to retire before the World Championships, the Dutch rider still travelled to Australia with family to soak up some of the atmosphere at the championships.
After reflecting on time spent in Australia, Dumoulin admitted that he may yet return to the world of cycling in a different capacity.
“I still feel the love for the bike. Maybe one day I'll be a coach, a consultant. But I will stay away from a professional team for a while,” he said.
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