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Tom Dumoulin’s grand tour comeback didn’t go the way he wanted.
“The tank is empty. I don’t really know what I can say about it now,” he said. “This is extremely disappointing.”
After complaining of back pain earlier this week, Dumoulin stopped a Giro that never fully got started 55km into what worked out as the toughest day of racing so far.
“I can’t pedal away any power without it hurting. The form is simply not there. At this moment, I have no answer to the question why,” Dumoulin said Saturday.
Tom had been struggling with his physical condition for several days. pic.twitter.com/myqWxedgyG
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) May 21, 2022
Dumoulin’s return to three-week racing at this Giro came with a wave of anticipation at what the dazzling Dutchman could do in his first grand tour in 20 months.
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Dumoulin scaled the GC hierarchy when he pulled on the pink jersey in 2017 and hit the podium in the Giro and Tour de France the year afterward.
But the “Butterfly of Maastricht” struggled to find his wings since he went off the grid during his mid-season pause in 2021.
An Olympic time trial silver medal was the one takeaway from a racing return that was still not fully revving before the Budapest “big start” earlier this month.
A broken wrist last fall and a bout with COVID in the spring left Dumoulin chasing the wheels before the Giro even rolled out.
“I noticed that I wasn’t in my best shape this Giro. Nevertheless, I was determined to finish, and finish together with the rest of the team in Verona. I wanted to at least get the necessary race mileage,” Dumoulin said Saturday.
Dumoulin crumbled out of Giro GC range as soon as the road pointed upwards on Mount Etna but rebounded for an “MVP” role in Koen Bouwman’s breakaway win later the same week.
“I tried to get myself in the zone every morning to make the best of it, but I simply didn’t manage,” he said. “My body is worn out.”
Dumoulin’s pathway through the coming months is unknown.
The 31-year-old was not named as one of the six shortlisted for Jumbo-Visma’s Tour de France eight this winter and currently has an empty race calendar.
“The last few days were tough. I’m going home now and need to recharge. Then we’ll see again,” he said.