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Vuelta return unlikely for Tom Dumoulin in 2021

Dumoulin
Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) at the Tour de Suisse (Image credit: Getty Images)

Tom Dumoulin and Jumbo-Visma will sit down after the Olympic Games in Tokyo and decide on the Dutch rider’s plans for the second half of the season, directeur sportif Merijn Zeeman has said.

The 30-year-old currently has no races scheduled beyond the Tour de Suisse, the Dutch national championships in just over a week, and then the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Both rider and team have yet to outline any further racing objectives, such as a possible ride in the Vuelta a España, which starts on August 14 with an eight-kilometre time trial in Burgos. 

“Normally I’d say no with the Vuelta, as nothing has been discussed. We only talked about Suisse, the Dutch Championships and Tokyo,” Zeeman told Cyclingnews.

"That’s all that we and Tom have discussed too. When he’s back from Tokyo we will sit down in Tokyo and evaluate how the process went; if he enjoyed it; if he feels happy again on the bike and there’s nothing discussed so far about other races."

Dumoulin returned to racing at the Tour de Suisse earlier this week after taking a leave of absence from professional sport in January.

He had been announced as part of Jumbo-Visma's eight-rider selection for the Tour de France. However, within just a matter of days he stepped away from team duties to begin what would later become a five-month hiatus from cycling in order to take stock of his life – both on and off the bike.

Dumoulin made a guest appearance at Amstel Gold Race in April and that, along with the support of his team, spurred him to return to action. For now, the plan is for the Dutchman to enjoy competing again at the highest level but both the rider and his team have decided not to look too far down the road. 

“Tom has said that he wants to re-start again and that he’s very ambitious for the Olympics and he wants to work with the team on that. That was clear in the meeting we had with him,” Zeeman added. 

The Vuelta would potential give Dumoulin a long block of racing and the chance to support one of Jumbo-Visma’s other Grand Tour leaders over three weeks. 

While that might sound like a tempting and exciting prospect for the team, and cycling fans in general, everything rests on this shorter block of action as Dumoulin looks to find a sustainable balance.

“Right now it really depends on how this month goes.  If I mention a certain race then things move in a certain direction and that’s really not the case. We need to see how he reflects on the last two months and that determines the next direction we’ll go in.” 

Dumoulin currently sits 67th in the Tour Suisse and finished 16th in the opening time trial. The results in Switzerland are of secondary importance when it comes to general wellbeing and attitude to racing since his return but Zeeman has been impressed with what he’s seen from his rider so far.

The director knows that Dumoulin’s return to the sport is about looking at the long-term and not just basing decisions on the short-term narrative or their results.

“It’s a very good improvement and we’re happy to see that. It shows that we’re on the right track and we want that to continue. We want him to find a sustainable way to keep riding his bike.”

Daniel Benson

Editor in Chief - Cyclingnews.