Tom Dumoulin himself was convinced in the eighth stage of the Tour de France that he wasn’t good enough, but his former team leader from Sunweb questions that. Aike Visbeek, Dumoulin’s team leader during his Giro win in 2017, sees that Dumoulin is already at a very good level.
“He’s not very far from his top level, I think”, Visbeek said in the evening stage. “That’s what his supervisors at Jumbo-Visma say as well. His competitors, such as Egan Bernal and Tadej Pogacar, have improved over the last year, making the top wider. That takes some getting used to for Tom.”
To the surprise of the team management of Jumbo-Visma, Dumoulin decided to take the lead in the eighth stage on the Port de Balès, an outdoor climb. A bit later he had to pay for that effort and dropped out of the group of favourites. “I felt today that it’s just not going to work out,” the 29 year old rider from Limburg reacted.
“I’ve had a lot of good and bad moments with him, so I recognized a little bit what happened on Saturday”, Visbeek said about Dumoulin’s manservant on the Port de Balès. “A lot has happened in recent months and that had its effect yesterday. A lot goes through his head”, he said about the corona crisis and the dragging knee injury that kept Dumoulin away for a long time
“I respect the fact that he fought back and is already at such a high level. I’m proud of him and think there’s still something possible in this Tour”
Not the best scenario
The fact that Dumoulin has already resigned himself to the fact that he is not good enough to win this Tour is not the best scenario for Jumbo-Visma, according to Visbeek. “And he knows that too. He could have lost a few seconds, but it would have been nice if he had been short in the standings in the last Tour week. He could have made things difficult for Roglic’s competitors, but Tom is no longer a danger for Bernal and Pogacar”
Dumoulin is fourteenth in the general classification after nine stages, 3.22 minutes behind the rider and teammate Roglic.
Visbeek does have a tip for Jumbo-Visma to increase their chances of winning the Tour with Roglic. “It is now important to save an occasional rider. Not everyone has to be in the lead every day. You can be in a euphoric mood now, but fatigue strikes in the third week.”
“Between stage thirteen and twenty there are still a lot of tricky stages. The fear at the moment would be for me to lose too much power too soon. I hope they keep it under control,” concluded Visbeek.