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While one bad day at the Giro d’Italia certainly doesn’t override the success of Tom Dumoulin’s grand tour career, his Jumbo-Visma team has faced questions over the rider’s long-term future as a GC rider in three-week races.
Dumoulin came into the Giro d’Italia with hopes of establishing himself as a contender for the maglia rosa but on the first major mountain test to the summit of Mount Etna he lost over nine minutes, and any realistic chance of a top-10 overall in Verona.
The Dutch rider, who won the Giro back in 2017 and finished second a year later to Chris Froome, took a sabbatical from the sport at the start of 2021 and returned later that year to win a silver medal in the Olympic Games time trial in Tokyo.
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This year’s Giro was his first grand tour experience since taking seventh in the 2020 Tour de France and despite the outcome on Etna, his team will not evaluate Dumoulin’s grand tour future until well after the race, according to his director at the race, Marc Reef, who spoke to Wielerflits on Wednesday night.
“His preparation was not optimal, but the last three weeks at altitude were good. He now has to maintain confidence, albeit in the knowledge that a classification is no longer feasible. But that hard work should not just go to waste. There will be other opportunities in this Giro and we will fight for that,” Reef said.
“We will look at that and discuss that later,” Reef said when asked about Dumoulin’s grand tour future.
“And of course Tom also has an important voice in this. But today it is much too early to draw a line under that.”
Reef was also asked if Dumoulin would turn his attention towards shorter events, as he did for the Olympic time trial in 2021.
“Again, both Tom and the team management think it’s too early to talk about that now. You cannot decide something like that within 24 hours. Our plans for this Giro do not change that much. With Tobias Foss and Sam Oomen, we are still aiming for a good classification here. That is important now.”
Jumbo-Visma has endured a difficult start to the race. Dumoulin did finish second in the stage 2 time trial in Budapest but the team’s other GC hopefuls, Sam Oomen and Tobias Foss, also lost time on Mount Etna. Oomen was then brought down in a freak accident involving a spectator on stage 5.
“They go for the best possible classification. No, a podium place is no longer possible, but that may not have been a realistic goal beforehand. A top ten place is also a ranking. We have seen more in recent years that despite a bad day in the initial phase, riders are still able to advance later on.”