Tom Dumoulin has revealed that he will return to targeting the overall classification at a Grand Tour in 2022 but did not specify if he will take aim at the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France or Vuelta a España.
The 31-year-old Dutchman decided to take out from the sport in the first months of 2021 to focus on his personal well being. However, he returned to racing at the Tour de Suisse as preparation for the time trial at the Tokyo Olympic Games and won a silver medal behind Jumbo-Visma teammate Primož Roglič.
A fractured wrist meant he was unable to ride the World Championships in Belgium but he is fully focused on the 2022 season and recently attended the Jumbo-Visma training camp near Girona, Spain.
Roglič has agreed a new contract with Jumbo-Visma that runs until 2025 and he is likely to lead the team at the Tour de France as he pursues a so-far elusive overall victory, while Jonas Vingegaard could lead Jumbo-Visma at the Giro d’Italia before riding the Tour in support of Roglič.
Dumoulin could return to the Giro d’Italia, a race he won in 2017, but could also be tempted to build his form during 2022 and then target the Vuelta. This year’s race starts in the Netherlands and has both a team time trial and an individual time trial that could help Dumoulin pull back any time lost in the steep mountains.
“We have talked a lot about it in the team in recent months. I think riding a classification is very special. That is the ultimate challenge, the pinnacle of cycling," Dumoulin said in an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
“Those highs are what drives me. Not only that, of course. Fun should always be there, but if it weren't for those special highlights, I wouldn't have enjoyed it so much."
Dumoulin has not ridden a Grand Tour since 2020 when he finished seventh overall at the Tour de France and then abandoned the Vuelta early due to fatigue. He is convinced he is ready to return to the sport’s most demanding races.
“I think it's special that I have this opportunity, and it's cool that I can do it well. No matter how difficult it is, because there is a lot of stress and pressure involved. But when I look back on my career so far, it is precisely those moments where you perform maximum under difficult circumstances are the most special.”
Dumoulin admitted he was feeling tired, overtrained and unhappy this time last year. He eventually announced his decision to take time out at the start of Jumbo-Visma’s camp last January. Now he is far more motivated and ready to take on the young generation of riders who have recently emerged.
“Last year in December I noticed that the feeling was not good, I was overtrained and very tired. Now I feel fit and comfortable in my own skin,” he said.
“I just think it's great that every year a few of these young guys join us. It makes it even more difficult to get a good classification, but for cycling that's great.”
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