Tom Dumoulin has already passed his peak form, according to retired Dutch pro Michael Boogerd.
Boogerd, two-time Dutch national road race champion in the 1990s and winner of two Tour stages, says he has a “gut feeling” Dumoulin won’t win the French Grand Tour this year, and that the 2017 Giro d’Italia winner’s best years are behind him.
“I think Tom has peaked. He has had some wonderful years. I hope he will return to his old level,” Boogerd told Bureau Sport. “But with everything he has experienced. Whenever I hear or see him, I think he looks very different from when he won the Giro.”
Boogerd finished fifth at the 1998 Tour de France, with Dumoulin one of only two Dutch riders to manage a better placing since, the Jumbo-Visma rider runner-up to Geraint Thomas in 2018, while Steven Kruijswijk came third a year later.
The 48-year-old also thinks the extra pressure and commitments of being a top rider who’s won a Grand Tour has negatively affected Dumoulin.
“Then [when he won the Giro] everything was new, he was very spontaneous and cheerful. Now he’s agitated. That is also part of it, but it is not the Dumoulin who won beautiful races or had good results in his heyday.
“You will get to this point in your career, but it has gone completely wrong up to now,” says Boogerd. “Before that it was all good and everything went well. Everything was a gift. He also rode without stress and without pressure. When you see him, you see a nervous and tense person. I recognise that because that’s also been me in the past.”
Dumoulin’s career has been disjointed since he finished runner-up to Geraint Thomas at the 2018 Tour de France. In 2019 he suffered a knee injury at the Critérium du Dauphiné that ultimately derailed his season, not able to take the start line for the Tour de France and then not recovering in time for either the Vuelta a España or Yorkshire World Championships.
Midway through 2019, he left Sunweb for Jumbo-Visma, where he will now compete with Primož Roglič and Steven Kruijswijk for GC leadership in the Grand Tours. Jumbo-Visma currently plan to take all three contenders to this year’s Tour, seeking to end Ineos’ five-year run of yellow jersey victories.