Tom Dumoulin: 'In recent years I have become a little lost'

The former world time trial champion says the Olympics are "a project in which I can lose myself completely"

Tom Dumoulin to return to pro cycling
(Image credit: Bram Berkien/Jumbo-Visma)

Tom Dumoulin has recently announced that he will be returning to the world of professional cycling after taking time out due to struggles with his mental health. The Dutchman said he had become "a little lost" before he took an indefinite break from the sport.

Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) was at the roadside throughout the Amstel Gold Race in April, which is ridden on his local roads in the Netherlands, when he started to miss the sport.

Speaking in a team interview, Dumoulin said: "In April I slowly started cycling again and I also came back with a happy feeling more and more often. I thought: "oh yeah, this is really fun after all". 

"Then I decided to be present at the Amstel. And I found it very nice to see everyone again and to taste the atmosphere of the race. That triggered me to say 'oh, this is a world in which I have built up something in recent years but that has also really become my world.' A world that I really like. 

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"Despite the fact that I have experienced it as very difficult at times in recent years, it is also a world for which I feel a lot of love. And that feeling was kind of triggered at the time."

The 2017 Giro d'Italia winner made the decision to take a step back from the sport at the team's training camp back in January so he could think about his future as a cyclist.

At that time Dumoulin said he didn't know what he wanted to do with his career as a cyclist and wanted to find what he as a man wanted to be. Whether that was aiming to win the Tour de France or something different.

Upon being asked if he found what he wanted he said: "To the question ‘do I still like cycling’, I could answer ‘yes’ wholeheartedly. Do I want to do something else with my life? No. I still do like cycling enough to want to do it professionally. At the moment I say yes to that. Look, in recent years I have become a little lost. What do I want when I look at this year? 

"What do I really want to get out of it for myself and for others? But especially for myself? What makes me really happy? And then indicate that clearly. And how do I want to do that and how do I want to approach that? 

"Actually, in recent years I have not been able to communicate that clearly to myself. And if you can’t communicate that clearly to yourself anymore, then you can’t communicate that clearly to others either. There was always a plan behind it and I no longer knew whether I was up for it or not. Now I got much more clarity about that."

Sam Oomen and Tom Dumoulin (right) at the 2021 Amstel Gold Race

Tom Dumoulin at the 2021 Amstel Gold Race 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dumoulin will make his return to racing at the upcoming Tour de Suisse before riding the Dutch National Championships. He will not ride the Tour de France, as was planned, but he is aiming for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"I really want to work on cool projects again, so to speak. In this case, I mean the Olympic project. A project in which I can lose myself completely, in a good way. That makes me completely happy. That allows me to think ‘yes, it went totally wrong today on the bike but it doesn’t matter’. 

"Because you think: I’m working on this project and one bad day doesn’t matter. And I had that feeling a lot in the past and I’ve completely lost it, causing those bad days to linger much longer"