Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge has hinted that Tom Dumoulin could take part in the 2022 Tour de France. The Dutch rider did not ride a Grand Tour in 2021 after he took a break from the sport for personal reasons and missed almost the first half of the season.
The former Giro d’Italia winner returned to action at the Dutch National Championships in June, where he won the time trial, before backing that up with an outing at the Tour de Suisse. He claimed a silver in the time trial at the Olympic Games in Tokyo before injury ended his season in September.
Jumbo-Visma have some tough decisions ahead of them when it comes to the Tour de France selection, although Primož Roglič, the three-time Vuelta a España winner, is set to lead the line once more. Jonas Vingegaard was a surprise second place in 2021 behind Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and is likely to want a start line place with the Tour starting in his native Denmark.
Plugge acknowledged that the Tour de France route unveiled by ASO on Thursday morning had balance to it.
"It's going to be a little bit of everything. There will be racing in the wind, cobblestones, a few nice uphill finishes, and there are pretty good amount of time trial kilometres," he said, according to Het Laatste Nieuws.
"Certainly the first stage could be a good chance [for yellow]. For our Dane [Vingegaard], but we also have a Belgian [Wout van Aert] and a Slovenian [Roglič]."
Jumbo-Visma typically announce their Tour de France team well in advance and in the last two seasons have publicly shared their eight-rider roster in the off-season. The 2022 route came out just minutes before Plugge talked to the press but the Dutchman did leave the door open for Dumoulin, who last made an appearance at the Tour de France back in 2020, when he helped Roglič to second overall.
"We still have to see who we're going to take, but they could do it there. Tom Dumoulin too. I think it's also very nice that the Galibier is included twice during such classic mountain stages and that there is an arrival at Alpe d'Huez. There are great opportunities there," Plugge said.
“[The route] looks nice, with chances for wind too. We are good at that. Indeed, Wout has many chances here. There are more, but he has a lot of chances. We have to come to the Tour with a strong team to put him in a good position.
"Normally he will be there anyway. We are making plans now, but Wout is part of our strongest team. But it's not about the beginning, it's about the last stage. In the end it's about the yellow jersey on the Champs-Élysées and we have to work out the best battle plan for that."
Van Aert has made no secret of his ambitions to win the points green jersey at the Tour de France in the near future. The route certainly gives him scope to succeed but his talents carried him to a time trial, sprint and mountain stage win in 2021, so a versatile parcours suits his skill set.
"In a Grand Tour I prefer not to have them [cobbles]. With the women, we saw during Paris-Roubaix that it is a job for specialists. In the men's races there are also only specialists," Plugge said. "But a Grand Tour rider has to be at home on all terrains, also in riding over cobblestones. Our men can do that, I think."
Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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