Jumbo-Visma aim to lower expectations around Tom Dumoulin's Giro d'Italia tilt: 'The victory will be too much'

The Dutchman will head to altitude training before his return to Grand Tour racing

Tom Dumoulin
(Image credit: Getty)

Tom Dumoulin should not be expected to win this May's Giro d'Italia, his Jumbo-Visma team have warned.

The Dutchman took an indefinite break from cycling at the beginning of 2021 to decide whether or not he wanted to continue the sport as his profession, before returning to racing last summer.

He is slated to make his Grand Tour return at the fast-approaching Giro d'Italia - a race he memorably won in 2017 - where he is adjudged to be one of the favourites alongside Simon Yates, Richard Carapaz and João Almeida.

Dumoulin, however, has had a disrupted start to his season, contracting Covid-19 after the UAE Tour and then withdrawing from this week's Volta a Catalunya on stage three.

He has since returned home to resume training and is set to spend three weeks training at altitude before the Giro, meaning he will enter the race on the back of just 12 race days.

Such a buildup has led Marc Reef, one of Jumbo-Visma's sports directors, to tell Cycling Weekly that the 31-year-old should not be viewed as one of the race favourites. Indeed, he will go into the race as co-leader alongside Tobias Foss.

"We know that he won the Giro in 2017, was on the podium of both the Giro and the Tour de France the year after, but then he has had some difficult years," Reef said.

"I think when you say is he going [to the Giro] for the victory... it's too much. For the GC, yes, it's the goal for sure, but what will that be? We don't know. But for sure the GC is our ambition.

"Tom Dumoulin always has pressure. Expectations not only from him, but also from the Netherlands and cycling in general. They expect something from him when he's starting, so the pressure is always there.

"We, from the team, we just say we do everything we can do, you work hard, we will work hard, and then we will see what the outcome will be."

Dumoulin returned to racing with a bang, become Dutch time trial champion and then placing second in the Olympics time trial for the second successive Games.

Post-Tokyo, however, Dumoulin has only completed 16 race days, meaning his true state of form is largely unknown.

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"He was just not fit, and that's enough without going into detail what his problem was," Reef said about his early exit from Catalunya.

"We are sure he had a good winter: he did a lot of really good training, he had a good February, but then he had the setback with corona. 

"Afterwards he did a few good training sessions again and he was on his way back. With all that he did in the winter, with the whole base he has, with a good period that is coming up, he will be ready for the Giro."

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.