Now sitting over three minutes down on the GC after slipping off the pace in the Pyrénées, the Dutchman is going all-in as superdomestique for teammate and race-leader Primož Roglič.
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“I will now be the last man for Primož, but my role is also to ride full steam ahead to the finish,” Dumoulin said. “The intention is not to pedal quietly to the finish.”
Some questioned Jumbo-Visma’s tactics when Dumoulin took a mighty turn at the front of the GC group on the Peyresourde on Saturday. The Dutchman cranked the pace, but failed to do much damage save to himself, dropping off the back when he completed his pull.
Nonetheless, the Dutch squad plans to continue to play the strategy of tempo-ing on the front of the bunch of favorites in the mountains to blunt the odds of attacks from rivals rather than playing a different card.
“If it happens to fit into the plan of defending the yellow jersey that I sneak into a dangerous breakaway, forcing others to chase me? If it turns out like that, then we certainly will,” Dumoulin said Monday. “But normally I expect us to defend the yellow jersey. It is unlikely that that plan will be possible. ”
Roglič took command of the race Sunday when he sprinted to second-place in Laruns, and now holds a 21-second advantage over Egan Bernal. With two sprinter stages and a likely hilly stage to come Tuesday through Thursday, there will be some responsibility on Jumbo-Visma to control the race.
Roglič said he doesn’t see it as a problem to hold the yellow jersey so early in the race.
“You sometimes think about that,” Roglic said about the timing of his rise to the top of the GC. “When should you come in to yellow? When not? Normally it will come naturally if you are very strong. We have shown that we deserve it and everyone is super motivated for the days to come.”
Dumoulin added that the team will be looking to cool its jets as much as possible in the days to come. With two attritional stages in the Massif Central followed by a summit finish atop the notoriously tough Grand Colombier to come at the end of the week, the Dutch squad will be going into conservation mode as much as it can.
“Everyone has suffered in the past week,” Dumoulin said. “We were mainly riding in front when it was tough for everyone. It’s been a tough week but I think we’ll be able to do that for another two weeks. From now on, stage wins will be on the back burner. We are not going to ride full-throttle anymore to get a group back. ”