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Tom Dumoulin happy to return to Grand Tour racing in 2022

UAE Tour 2022 - 4th Edition - 2nd stage Hudayriyat Island - Abu Dhabi Breakwater 173 km - 21/02/2022 - Tom Dumoulin (NED - Team Jumbo - Visma) - photo Luca Bettini/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) racing at the UAE Tour (Image credit: Luca Bettini/SprintCyclingAgency2022)

Tom Dumoulin has admitted there was a chance he could have never returned to the professional peloton when he took time out to reflect on life a year ago.

The Jumbo-Visma rider is now happy, racing again and currently in action at the UAE Tour, where he will be a contender for Tuesday's time trial stage. However this time last year, he was reflecting greatly on life, without the conviction he wanted to ever race again.

"I didn't know, my wife didn't know, nobody knew, because I simply wasn't happy. But in the end it was the right decision," Dumoulin admitted to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Life goes by too fast and there's no time to reflect on things. I wasn't asking myself the right questions.

"I decided to take time out and I opened a door on my life that had been closed for far too long. And I realised who I really wanted to be, as a person and as a cyclist. I love this sport and now I know how to do it in the best way."

Dumoulin scaled back his ambitions in 2021, first targeting the time trial at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where he won a silver medal behind Jumbo-Visma teammate Primož Roglič, before then opting against a full programme of racing and participation at the Vuelta a España.

His season ended when he fractured his wrist after being hit by a car while training in early September. He travelled to Thailand for an event in the off–season as he looked for new inspiration, and recently spent time at altitude in Colombia to prepare for 2022, unperturbed by the risks of training on the often-busy Colombian roads only days after Egan Bernal's (Ineos Grenadiers) terrible accident. 

"I didn't want the usual routine of going to Teide or the Sierra Nevada. I was in a cool place, full of life and with some teammates," Dumoulin explained of his decision to go to Colombia.

"The roads were busy and we had to be careful but I didn't feel in danger, at least not more than in any European country. I saw the video footage of Egan's crash — it could have happened anywhere." 

Dumoulin will lead Jumbo–Visma at the Giro d'Italia but has not ruled out returning to the Tour de France in the future, now that he has rediscovered his love for the sport and found better balance in his life. He is 31 years old but no longer obsessed about results and now looking to enjoy his racing.   

"I'll return to the Tour one day. The Giro isn't a second choice, it's my first choice. I love fighting for the general classification in a Grand Tour and that's why I'm back at the Giro," he explained. 

Dumoulin will ride Strade Bianche, the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and the Amstel Gold Race this spring, with an altitude training camp replacing racing to give him the form needed to be an overall contender in the Corsa Rosa.

"I've followed a similar programme in the past and I felt good, there's no reason to change things," he said.

"I've never been at my best in the spring and so there's point in to chase results in races when I hope to do well and get the big results in May." 

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.