On Friday, Sunweb boss Iwan Spekenbrink will meet with Dumoulin, the winner of the 2017 Giro d’Italia and runner-up to Geraint Thomas in the 2018 Tour de France.
“We are happy, he’s been happy, as you’ve seen,” Spekenbrink told VeloNews. “But we’ve also been reading the newspaper stories. So we are going to find out more when we meet.”
Reports ahead of the Tour de France claimed that Dumoulin is unhappy with Team Sunweb, where he has raced since his stage-race career took off in 2017. Reportedly, he was unhappy with equipment at the start of 2018 when he was time trial world champion, and he is now unhappy with the lack of new support riders for him.
Insiders say that for a rider of Dumoulin’s caliber, Sunweb is not strong enough. Despite teammates like American Chad Haga, who won the final TT at the Giro, the team cannot match Team Ineos or even Team Jumbo-Visma, which made strides in the last couple of years by adding GC contenders Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk, fourth and fifth respectively in the 2018 Tour.
Jumbo-Visma was willing to spend money to snatch up Wout Van Aert ahead of 2019, and it appears ready to spend money to help make the Dumoulin switch happen. The Dutch WorldTour team, however, cannot speak to the matter until Dumoulin settles his contract with Sunweb.
Dumoulin’s current deal runs through 2020. Asked about a possible move, Jumbo-Visma team boss Richard Plugge said he could not comment on it because Dumoulin has a contract. Of course, he said, the team would be interested if its home rider was available.
For now, Dumoulin is at a stand still. His crash in the Giro’s stage 4, which caused him to abandon the race, still affects his knee. After the Critérium du Dauphiné, he needed surgery to remove debris, and yesterday the team revealed that he has a tendon tear. A staff member close to Dumoulin told VeloNews that he is not currently riding his bike at all.
Driving to a training camp ahead of the Tour, Dumoulin doubted his fitness and turned his car around; he then announced he would skip the 2019 Tour.
More will come from a team meeting on Friday. Though Dumoulin and Spekenbrink exchanged messages recently, this will be the first time they speak face to face.
“We have an agreement, so for us, we will continue working with him. Tom even said that he has a contract and that he would stay,” Spekenbrink said. “I’ll know more after the meeting. I’ve spoken with him, but this meeting is like we do annually, looking back and ahead. We will obviously discuss what we read in the press.”
Asked if Dumoulin was unhappy in the team, Spekenbrink said, “I don’t know.”