Tom Dumoulin has given more insight and reasoning for his decision to step away from his career with immediate effect and take time away from the sport. The former Giro d’Italia winner announced on Saturday that he and his Jumbo-Visma team had decided he would take an unspecified break from cycling and that the 30-year-old would take unpaid leave with immediate effect.
The announcement came as a surprise, not least because just 24 hours earlier Dumoulin had been announced as a co-leader for the cobbled Classics and the Tour de France.
In a series of messages posted on his personal Twitter account Dumoulin explained that his decision to take time away from professional cycling had felt like a weight had been lifted on his shoulders. Although he refrained to put a time frame on his absence, he added that his team and those around him had offered their support and that he would find the necessary answers as to where his future would take him.
“The team and I decided yesterday that I take a leave with an unknown time frame from our beautiful sport,’ Dumoulin wrote.
“For too long I feel a big pressure to perform and I feel that I always want to do the best for the team, for all the sponsors, the fans etc. But in that process I forgot my myself a bit. I forgot what I actually want within this sport and with my future. Because I don’t have this answer clear for myself I’m actually also not doing the best for the people around me.
“I really need the time to get things clear in my head about what I want and how I want it. It feels really good to take this step and I feel very supported by my friends and family and the team to take this step. Taking the decision immediately felt like a big weight of my shoulders. I’m going to do a lot of thinking and talking to a lot of people and I’m very confident that I will find the answers the coming period.”
Dumoulin joined Jumbo-Visma at the start of 2020 after a difficult final season at Team Sunweb that was derailed by a serious knee injury and disputes with the team. A move to Jumbo-Visma looked like the change he needed to kick-start his career and Jumbo-Visma felt as though the arrival of Dumoulin was the final piece in the jigsaw that was needed to win the Tour de France.
Although Dumoulin came back from injury his 2020 campaign was disrupted by illness and then the COVID-19 pandemic. He was able to play an integral part in Jumbo-Visma’s Tour team and sacrificed his own GC chances to support Primoz Roglic. The Slovenian finished second overall in Paris, with Dumoulin in seventh, but the Dutchman was unable to carry his form into the Vuelta a Espana and he left the race due to fatigue after just a week.
His sudden departure from Jumbo-Visma’s training camp comes as a major shock but the team has indicated that they fully support their rider and that they will give him the time and support he requires.