Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) has indicated he wants to ride both the Tour de France and Tokyo Olympics in 2020, where he will be making up for lost time after sitting out for the majority of the 2019 season.
The Dutchman finished runner-up behind Geraint Thomas (Ineos) at the 2018 Tour and picked up silver in the Rio Olympic time trial in 2016, and will be looking to go one better when he joins his new team, Jumbo-Visma.
Dumoulin hinted to Eurosport he would like to target a first yellow jersey at the Tour before also turning his attention to taking gold at the time trial in Japan when he fully recovers from a knee injury that has ruled him out of most major races this year.
The Dutchman decided to leave Sunweb this summer after some soul searching, with a lot of time off the bike to think about what he wanted to achieve when he climbed back on, eventually plumping for the Dutch team, who have looked stronger than ever in 2019.
“It has been a while that I have had the feeling [of wanting to leave],” Dumoulin said. “Everything was on the rise and I had a successful year in 2017. Then I wondered: what do I want in the coming years? I had been doing that for a while, but I had a long-term contract. I tried to complete it, but it wasn’t making either myself or the team better.”
While at Sunweb, Dumoulin was the out-and-out leader, so much so that team-mate Michael Matthews was left despondent after the Dutchman was ruled out of the Tour, having trained extensively to be able to assist in the mountains rather than practice for contesting stage victories.
However, at Jumbo-Visma the 2017 Giro d’Italia winner will have to compete for top billing with Vuelta a España 2019 champion Primož Roglič as well as Steven Kruijswijk. Dumoulin is taking this healthy competition as a positive, though, saying it will only make them all better riders.
“I think we can really strengthen each other,” Dumoulin said. “I also don’t want to be the only leader in the team, so we’re going to split it up and we’ll see who’s the best.”
Dumoulin doubles down on this sentiment, saying if he’s not the best he will happily ride for a team-mate who can win: “I also do not want the entire team to ride for me and that I will be sixth. Then I’d rather drive for someone else who can win. I think it can be very enlightening.”
After crashing out of the Giro d’Italia, complications with his recovery meant Dumoulin was unable to contest either of the other Grand Tours in 2019, the Tour or Vuelta. However, the 28-year-old is particularly disappointed to be missing out on the Yorkshire World Championships.
“The World Championships is always a party, really fantastic, the best event of the year. It really hurts me to miss that,” Dumoulin said, who was looking forward to riding for Mathieu van der Poel as the Dutch look for their first win since Joop Zoetemelk in 1985. “I don’t know Mathieu very well, but I thought it would be great to ride for him. That I first can keep things together and then he can do his thing. If he does the right things, everything will be fine.”