Tom Dumoulin has retired from professional cycling, announcing the end of his career with immediate effect on Monday.
The Dutchman, who won the Giro d'Italia and time trial world title in 2017, was set to hang up his wheels at the end of this year but has now brought that forward.
"I decided to quit professional cycling with immediate effect," Dumoulin said in a statement.
"I notice that I can’t do it anymore. The tank is empty, the legs feel heavy and the training sessions are not working out as I hoped."
Dumoulin has flirted with retirement since taking unpaid leave to take time away from the sport at the start of 2021. He returned that summer to win the Dutch time trial title and the win the silver medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but his passion for life as a professional cyclist never truly reignited.
After abandoning the Giro d'Italia with back problems, Dumoulin announced at the start of June that he would call it quits at the end of the season, setting himself one final goal to work towards, the time trial at the World Championships in Australia in September. That, however, proved one step too far.
"About two months ago I announced that I would retire as a professional cyclist at the end of the year. During last spring, despite my love for the bike, I noticed that things weren’t going how I wanted. I felt that I was ready for a new phase in my life. But, I still had one project on my wishlist to end my career with a bang; the World Championship in Australia," Dumoulin explained.
"I wanted to tackle that road to the World Championship the way I tackled the road to the Tokyo Olympics. With a sense of freedom, on my terms, with the support of the team and with my intrinsic motivation as the main fuel. That’s what brought me back the joy of cycling back then."
Explaining that the "tank is empty", he added: "Since my hard crash in training last September, something has broken again. I had to interrupt my efforts to return to my old shape yet again and deal with another disappointment. It was one too many."
Dumoulin retires at 31 with a Giro d'Italia title and a world title to his name, along with a runner-up finish at the 2018 Tour de France and a top-10 at the 2015 Vuelta a España - his breakthrough as a Grand Tour contender.
A natural time triallist who became a GC contender, Dumoulin claimed 22 victories in his 11-year professional career, which saw him rise through the ranks alongside the team now known as DSM, before joining Jumbo-Visma in 2020. His Giro d'Italia victory in 2017 led to an arguably just as impressive 2018 campaign in which he finished runner-up at both the Giro and Tour. But 2019 saw his third Giro bid end with a knee injury that was mismanaged, ultimately ending his season in June and leading him to rip up his contract with Sunweb to join Jumbo-Visma.
The 2021 Dutch time trial championship was to be Dumoulin's final victory, but by then he was already coming to terms with the idea that he was better off outside of the sport, and on Monday he took that step.
"Even though the farewell didn’t turn out the way I hoped, I look back on my career with incredible pride," Dumoulin said.
"I worked hard for it, took a lot of passion and pleasure from it for many years, and delivered brilliant performances. I will never forget that.
"Now it’s time to enjoy other things and be there for the people I love. A big thank you to my team and everyone who supported me during my fantastic career. And a special thank you to my wife, who had my back all these years.”
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