Tom Dumoulin: When I saw Van Aert win on Ventoux I started to get the itch for the Tour de France

The Dutch star is making his comeback after taking a break from racing earlier this year

Tom Dumoulin on stage one of the Tour de Suisse 2021
Tom Dumoulin on stage one of the Tour de Suisse 2021
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Tom Dumoulin said watching his team-mate win on Mont Ventoux gave him the itch to race the Tour de France again.

Jumbo-Visma rider Dumoulin is making his comeback after he took an unexpected break from racing earlier this year, but is now targeting a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Dumoulin left the peloton in order to reassess his career as a professional cyclist, but eventually found the love of riding his bike again.

The Dutchman, winner of the 2017 Giro d’Italia,  returned to racing at the Tour de Suisse in June but does not yet have plans to target Grand Tours again. 

But watching the Tour de France while training for the Olympic time trial, Dumoulin admits he did find himself missing the Tour.

The 30-year-old said: “For our team it was really only doom and gloom at first, but it's great to see those guys show resilience. When I saw Wout [Van Aert] win the Mont Ventoux stage, it started to itch for me. I also like the Tour in this phase again with people standing by the side of the road with their campers, the holiday feeling that comes with the Tour. I have always found that special.” 

Dumoulin made the shock announcement that he would be taking an indefinite break during a team training camp earlier this year, after a tough few years of dealing with illness and injury.

But he is already back to speed, as he won the Dutch National Time Trial Championships, in only his ninth day of racing in 2021. 

Dumoulin is targeting the Olympic time trial in Tokyo, an undulating 44km course around the Fuji International Speedway.

While Dumoulin, the world time trial champion in 2017, would love to take gold, he said even a bronze medal would be enough of an achievement, even having already won silver in the Rio 2016 Olympics.

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He said: “I am very pleased with the progress I have made since I started my training in May. 

“At the moment I would be jumping for joy with bronze. I’d cherish that perhaps even more than silver in Rio.

“Gold is fantastic and of course I strive for that, but that will be very difficult.”