With a week to go in this year’s Tour de France, the yellow jersey rests on Primoz Roglic’s shoulders and the Jumbo-Visma leader has a 40 second lead over Tadej Pogacar, but while the Dutch team is dominant, Tom Dumoulin believes that everything will rest on Roglic’s ability to remain the strongest rider in the race.
Collective team domination, according to the 2017 Giro winner, will count for little if the Slovenian’s challenge falters in the Alps.
“My expectations are that we’ll be as strong in the last week as we were in the first week,” Dumoulin said on the second rest day of the Tour de France.
“I think that we have a super strong team, the strongest team in the whole Tour de France. We have been very dominant and we have the yellow jersey. We have the strength to control the race but we also have to be smart with our strength. Of course it all depends on Primoz being the best guy in the Tour in the third week. It all depends on that, eventually.”
Dumoulin has been utilized as a super domestique role at the Tour de France thus far, a position he accepted over the second weekend of the race when Jumbo Visma’s train momentarily stuttered and Roglic was briefly isolated. He has remained in contention for a top-ten place overall since then but the Dutchman expressed regret that he wasn’t on the required level to actually contest for the yellow jersey.
“I would have liked for more,” he said.
“I came here with the ambition of winning the Tour de France with the team and also with the idea of me being the one doing it. That disappeared on the second weekend but luckily Primoz is on a great level and he’s in the yellow jersey now. He’s the best right now and we want to defend it all the way to Paris but for me personally I would have liked to have had better legs but it didn’t happen.
“What you hope for and what happens are two different things. I would have liked more but it is what it is, and that’s cycling. You do everything that you can and it doesn’t always turn your way.”
Despite his admission of wanting more from his Tour de France ride, Dumoulin also acknowledged the collective ambition of winning the Tour as part of Jumbo-Visma was the main goal.
He will, however, need to be at his very best in the third week when the race enters its most critical phase. Pogacar is closing and one bad day for Roglic could turn the entire race on its head.
Dumoulin is hoping that he can reach his best level in the third week for both himself and his team.
“I’m here to win the Tour with the team and that would be a great achievement if that works out but also I hope to improve and to be at my best level in the third week," he said.
"Right now I’m not feeling at my best and I would like that feeling, even though I lost time in the first week, that I have that confidence that I’m with the best riders in the world. That would be a big achievement.”
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