Can Dumoulin win the Tour de France? “It wouldn’t surprise me

More and more sounds are coming from the cycling caravan that it could be the toughest Tour de France ever. And also that a Dutchman could win that Tour. The Tour starts on Saturday in Nice.

“Ho ho, the riders make the race, so it’s just have to wait and see how tough it gets”, former rider Stef Clement is convinced. During the Tour he is co-centator and analyst at the CCeit. “But it’s definitely the toughest course they’ve ever had.”

Or can Tom Dumoulin win this Tour? “Anything is possible this year. So yes.”

Based on his results there is no reason to think that Dumoulin (eleventh in the Tour of Ain at the beginning of August and then seventh in the Dauphiné) will soon be on the podium in Paris. But just like Clement, reporter Han Kock also has confidence in the now 29-year-old Dumoulin.

He saw him confidently in front of the cameras on Thursday. “He’s good in his skin, he wants to race. That’s not crazy, of course, after he’s been out 420 days.”

Favorites

“He’s one of the big favorites. Sure is. The others are Primoz Roglic and Egan Bernal. If Dumoulin continues to grow to top form, if he doesn’t get sick and stays on his bike, I’m not surprised if he wins the Tour.”

Kock does make this comment: “I’m not saying he’s going to win the Tour. There are a lot of factors that have to be taken into account. The course of the race has to be good, who takes the first yellow jersey for example. And to win the Tour, Dumoulin also has to beat Roglic.”

“The question is how fit Roglic is. They say he’s healthy again. He would have been taken care of by Dumoulin’s chiropractor himself, I don’t know if that’s right.”

“But Tom is growing more and more towards top form. After that long period without a match he now has two matches in his legs and he has gotten better every day. He came out of the Dauphiné with a very good feeling.”

Shadow favorites

Clement calls Dumoulin an outsider for the final victory. “Actually, I don’t dare to predict anything anymore. At first I thought we had two top favourites with Roglic and Bernal and behind them four shadow favourites, but in the meantime three have disappeared (Steven Kruijswijk, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome).”

“Look, at Jumbo they put it on so thick that they were the best ahead of the Tour, that there’s a danger that all the other teams in that first week will be pointing to Jumbo to get the work done.”

Control

“The Slovenian climbing talent Tadej Pogacar of Team UAE also started talking about how Jumbo-Visma will probably take control of the race. They really have to make sure that they don’t have to do everything themselves too quickly.”

Clement is afraid that the competition will benefit. “At INEOS, they also have more experience in playing the game. Actually, I still think Bernal is just going to win. He’s basically the best climber and this is the toughest course I’ve ever seen.”

“Bernal was good in Occitania, he was good in the Ain and he was good in the Dauphiné before he stepped down. I think they let him get off as a precaution, so he is still good and fresh in the third week. Although there’s a lot of mystery about those back problems.”

Exit Days

If the eight days of Dumoulin in almost a year and a half is not too little? Kock: “Well, who really has more this year? Bernal has ten. Roglic nine. Tom’s pretty much cleaned out the coronavirus that he’s been out for so long. Cause everyone’s been out for a while now.”

“And I also think he can get back on top level. That he can be the Dumoulin again from 2017, when he won the Giro or 2018, when he came second in the Tour. He can reach that level again. He said himself on the final day of the Dauphiné that he kicked harder than during the Tour. He was all fucked up, but he could handle it.”

And where Clement does not want to make predictions, CCeit-commentator Joris van den Berg does. He sees in Tom Dumoulin the winner of the 107th edition. “He can certainly win. I saw an upward trend in his Critérium du Dauphiné and above all I saw a lot of ambition.”

Formp peak

“I wouldn’t be surprised if early on in this Tour Roglic’s already prolonged form peak comes to an end and Dumoulin moves on to the position of leader.”