No panic about Dumoulin, but there is little room for even more bumps
And another setback. Tom Dumoulin is sick and has to postpone his debut for Jumbo-Visma even further. No Tirreno, no Milan-San Remo. What's going on and what does that mean for the rest of his season?
Somewhere in the back of the third starting section he is surrounded by a couple of hobbyists and amateurs. Under his ass a mountain bike with smooth straps. In a few minutes he will be shot away with a few hundred Sunday riders for his first race in six months. Sure, sure, the beach race at Scheveningen is certainly not the same as the Giro or the Dauphiné, but still. He wants to race. That feeling, that enthusiasm, he missed it.
Secretly, he says, things are going pretty well. He no longer suffers from that bloody knee, he can train full body and during a test his power values proved so good that he cannot suppress a smile. The physical backlog that Tom Dumoulin suffered in his 2019 disaster season seems to have largely been made up. And it's only December. It can only get better.
It won't be.
It starts to falter in the course of January. Dumoulin indicates to his coaches that he is not feeling well. His training schedules are adjusted, but the feeling doesn't get much better. Just before the Tour of Valencia, in which he will make his debut for Jumbo-Visma, he falls ill. Shackery, as weak as a dishcloth - it looks like a stomach flu. But stomach flu passes. Not the Dumoulin problem.
To this day, he is still unable to cycle more than a little. There is a line through the planned altitude training and he announces through an Instagram message that he is also not at the start of Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. And that while the Tirreno only starts in a month. The most important reason: he cannot train properly and at Jumbo-Visma they want him to be fully taxable before they send him on course.
Dumoulin and his team do not know exactly what the problem is. Numerous studies are now being conducted to find out what exactly is wrong. Merijn Zeeman, sports manager at Jumbo-Visma: ,, It's a matter of exclusion and ticking off. Just as long as we have found the problem. ”The results of those investigations will normally arrive within the next two weeks. Zeeman: ,, We will just solve this problem. It is something that can happen to any rider. But it is annoying that it just happens to him, with last year in mind. "
It must be frustrating for Dumoulin. He has not become a rider just to train and to be busy every day with the question of when he can finally add a jersey number again. But quoting if you are not fit is asking for problems. And as much as he wanted to start his year in Valencia and the Tirreno: there are more important competitions this year. The alternative route from Dumoulin probably runs through an altitude training course and the Tour of Catalonia to the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The question is what the recent setback means for the goal of its season: the Tour. What does it do to you if you are not heading for three-quarters of a year? He is missing something. A certain hardness, ferocity, skill in the peloton might also be. Not quoting causes doubts about your condition, about your status. But on the other hand (thanks to power meters among other things) it is a lot easier to measure and to estimate where riders are. You no longer have to drive course after course after course to get yourself in shape.
The test that Dumoulin did in December gives Zeeman every reason to trust his leader. ,, Tom is extremely talented. He kicked one of the best tests of the entire team in December after two and a half months of focused training. It is annoying what he has now, but he will just be there in the summer. ”The team's message: no panic. It is still more than four months until the Tour, there is still plenty of time.
But there is not much room for even more bumps in the road.