Tom Dumoulin describes his biggest personal goal for the next two weeks of the Tour de France.
“As a team we’re doing great,” said Dumoulin, looking back on the first Tour week of Jumbo-Visma. That he had hoped for more is now clear. “But could I really expect that after such a long period of inactivity? Maybe not. I also know that it can’t be a party every race.” Dumoulin didn’t race for almost a year because of a dragging knee injury.
Dumoulin, after nine stages fourteenth in the general classification at 3.22 minutes from leader Primoz Roglic, is looking forward in good spirits and is fulfilling his role as Roglic’s servant. “I have to be the last man for Primoz, but I do have the role of riding full to the finish”
“If it explodes and I can’t follow the group of favourites anymore, I don’t want to paddle to the finish and ride over the finish line twenty minutes later”
Now that Jumbo-Visma owns the yellow jersey, Dumoulin expects that the team won’t be high on the list of priorities anymore. “We won’t be riding full speed anymore to bring back a leading group. That’s not our job now.”
“If it ever suits me to sneak into a breakaway, I will. But then it just so happens to fit into the plan. For example, that I’m the highest classified rider and other teams have to chase me. But I think that chance is rather small. Normally the next two weeks will be about defending the yellow jersey.”
That yellow sweater is now around the shoulders of 30-year-old Roglic. “He looks calm and focused,” says Dumoulin. “Right now, he’s feeling good and strong. We have to keep it smart, because Primoz has also noticed that his competitors Pogacar and Bernal have a very high level and can compete with him. He has to be frugal.”
Dumoulin expects that the third week will be the deciding factor in the Tour. “Then we’ll see who still has fresh legs.” The Giro winner of 2017 hopes to improve in the last two weeks, but the importance of the team is paramount. “The Tour will be a success if we have the yellow in Paris.”