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Tom Dumoulin's future remains in limbo as Sunweb negotiations drag on

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Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) exits his team bus

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) exits his team bus
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) rides onto the stage at the Giro presentation

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) rides onto the stage at the Giro presentation
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin talks with reporters

Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin talks with reporters
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) tried to fight on in the Giro d'Italia but his knee injury proved to be too painful

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) tried to fight on in the Giro d'Italia but his knee injury proved to be too painful
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Tom Dumoulin's future remains uncertain with no resolution in sight with regards to a proposed move from Team Sunweb to Jumbo-Visma. Earlier this summer reports surfaced regarding a possible switch after Dumoulin raised concerns with the squad's development, transfer policy and their handling over his recent injury issues.

However, Dumoulin is tied to Sunweb until the end of 2021, with his current squad understandably keen on keeping him despite murmurs of unrest. Reports of a salary increase to around €3 million as well as greater support in Grand Tours were indicated as Dumoulin's main reasons for wanting a split.

In the last few weeks, Dumoulin's management have met with Sunweb's general manager Iwan Spekenbrink but no resolution has been agreed, while the talk within the Jumbo-Visma camp has changed from optimism to patience as they wait for Sunweb and Dumoulin to reach an agreement. At the same time, Sunweb have been busy strengthening their team and are close to signing Movistar's Jasha Sütterlin.

The German was on the radar of several teams this summer, including EF Education First, Jumbo-Visma, Mitchelton-Scott and his current squad Movistar but it appears that Spekenbrink has won the race to sign the highly regarded 26-year-old on a multiple-year contract.

Sunweb would not comment on the situation regarding Dumoulin, or the move for Sütterlin, but their main focus remains on building a competitive squad for 2020.

It appears that although Dumoulin and Jumbo-Visma may have negotiated on a possible deal, Sunweb's position is staunchly backed up by UCI rules. According to Rider Agent Regulations, and in particular 31.C, a rider agent's responsibility is to, "respect the rights of the negotiating parties and third parties and in particular to refrain from involvement in encouraging any breach of contract. It is presumed, unless proven otherwise, that any licensed RA representing a rider who breaks his/her contract without just cause is implicated in this breach of contract."

It is not clear whether the UCI would step in if Sunweb decided to report Jumbo-Visma or Dumoulin's agent for a breach of rules, while the situation also has the potential to reach the Dutch courts if an amicable situation cannot be reached.

Despite Dumoulin's desires, it's his current employers who hold the cards. They have the contract in place until 2021 and have not expressed any formal or informal agreement for Dumoulin to discuss terms with a rival squad. Coupled to that is the fact that Sunweb's strategy for the next couple of years was based partly on the assumption of having a Grand Tour leader, such as Dumoulin, showcasing their jersey. Those sponsorship funds from Sunweb would greatly outweigh any possible buy-out amount from another squad in relation to Dumoulin's existing contract.

Dumoulin is currently recovering from an injury that took him out of the Giro d'Italia and left him unable to compete in last month's Tour de France, while the team have now confirmed that he will not race the Vuelta a Espana. Jumbo-Visma are also waiting on Marcel Kittel. The German broke from his contract at Katusha earlier in the year with Jumbo-Visma expressing their interest in signing him for 2020. However, that move has also slowed over the summer with the team giving Kittel space before making his final decision.