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Tom Dumoulin 'happy to be a cyclist again' after Olympic silver

OYAMA JAPAN JULY 28 LR Silver medalist Tom Dumoulin of Team Netherlands and gold medalist Primoz Roglic of Team Slovenia speak on the podium during the medal ceremony after the Mens Individual time trial on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fuji International Speedway on July 28 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Dumoulin on the podium in Japan (Image credit: Getty Images)

When Tom Dumoulin announced his decision to return to professional cycling following a five-month career hiatus, the target he had in mind was the time trial at the Tokyo Olympics

After a winning a silver medal, which said had a "golden edge", the Dutchman can now look beyond, and has voiced his desire to continue competing. 

Dumoulin ruled out a Grand Tour comeback at the Vuelta a España but described the World Championships in Belgium in September as a 'probability'. Either way, he insisted he was enjoying his job again. 

In the medal winners' press conference, Dumoulin was asked if he had 'something in mind for the future'.

"Yeah, that I'm continuing as a professional cyclist," he responded.

"I've enjoyed it the last couple of months, preparing for this again. I had a good time, focusing on this, doing all the training camps, doing Tour de Suisse and nationals. I was happy to be a cyclist again. That’s what I told my team also. I'm continuing. How exactly we do it, we still need to talk about with the team."

Dumoulin announced his decision to step away from the sport in January, shortly after being included in Jumbo-Visma's Tour de France squad in his second year at the Dutch team. 

He opened up about the difficulties of being a top pro rider, notably the pressures and expectations, and noted he'd 'forgotten' himself in the previous year. After taking some time to work out what he wants from his career and life, it seems he has found some answers. 

"For me, it was just a very enjoyable period, the last couple of months," he said. "I actually enjoyed my time away from professional cycling, but when I decided to come back and focus on this event, I also very much enjoyed preparing for it with a clear goal in mind, training hard, suffering at times. I definitely enjoyed that."

Dumoulin claimed the silver medal with a time of 56:05 on the rolling 44.2km course around the Fuji Speedway. It was a minute off the pace of gold medallist Primož Roglič but the best of the rest in what was otherwise a tight top five. 

"This means the world to me," said Dumoulin, who also won time trial silver at the previous Games in Rio five years ago.

"It was my goal three months ago to go for a medal but I didn’t ride my bike a lot from January to May. In May I really started preparing, but it was a short period of time to come here. I knew it would be difficult but I knew was possible - for the time trial more than the road race. I set my goals and I succeeded, so I’m very happy."

Not that the glow of silver alone has convinced Dumoulin that he has a future in the sport.

"The result today didn't affect my decision," he insisted. "The decision has been made already the last couple of weeks."

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Patrick Fletcher
Patrick Fletcher

Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.