Tom Dumoulin: At Sunweb it was very difficult to bear the pressure

Cyclingnews
Jumbo-Visma’s Tom Dumoulin takes part in the Amstel Gold virtual ride

Tom Dumoulin has opened up about his leadership struggles at Team Sunweb and admitted that he is much more comfortable with three-pronged attack at the Tour de France this year with Jumbo-Visma.

Dumoulin caused waves last season by telling Sunweb he wanted to leave and join rivals Jumbo-Visma. In the end, Dumoulin got his wish and he was released from his contract early, but the last year has been hard for the 2017 Giro d’Italia winner. He crashed out of the 2019 corsa rosa and the injuries he sustained would eventually lead to surgery and force him to miss the Tour de France. The 29-year-old hasn’t raced since last year’s Criterium du Dauphine, as illness and an infection ruined the start to his Jumbo-Visma career.

The former world time trial champion remains part of a planned three-pronged attack on the Tour, alongside last year’s third place finisher Steven Kruijswijk and 2019 Vuelta a Espana winner Primoz Roglic. Despite sharing leadership, Dumoulin says he is far more comfortable with the set-up than when he shouldered most of the pressure at Team Sunweb.  

“At Sunweb I was the absolute leader of the team in many races,” Dumoulin said on his team’s website.

“The whole team was working for me. And now at Team Jumbo-Visma and certainly in the upcoming Tour de France, if the race will be held, we will start with three leaders. That is something that I like very much. And I was looking for that too. At Sunweb it was very difficult to bear the pressure of an entire team that was only working for me." 

Jumbo-Visma made the unprecedented decision of announcing their Tour de France team back in December. It remains to be seen whether the eight riders who were pre-selected will still form the team if and when racing resumes later this season. Dumoulin, however, is under no illusions that he may be forced to give up his personal ambitions of challenging for the Tour de France if either Roglic or Kruijswijk display better form.

“So I really like this new situation. I am given the opportunity to prove myself. The chance that if I am good enough that the team will be riding for me. But also that if I am not good enough, I have to work for the others. And that is an agreement that we have made together and that I fully support.” 

“We have to take everything into account. Also that the Tour will get canceled this year. But for the time being, it looks like we will be able to race again in two months. Our main goal is to win the Tour de France. My hope is to win the Tour de France. So that’s what we’re going for.”