The Dutch Jumbo-Visma rider spoke to Het Laatste Nieuws about his empathy with Froome’s recent contract conundrums. Reports emerged last month that the four-time Tour de France winner was contemplating leaving Team Ineos after Egan Bernal hinted at leadership tensions within the team.
“I had to think about my own troubles,” Dumoulin said Saturday.
Dumoulin left his former Sunweb team at the close of last season after an unhappy year that saw him burdened with sole leadership and a sense of pressure that dampened his love for the bike. Dumoulin, 29, recognized Froome’s dilemma in the situation he had found himself when he was pondering leaving Sunweb in 2019.
“That’s not fun,” he said. “I don’t know if I should believe the messages, but if he wants to switch during the season, it will take energy.”
When reports first emerged that Froome was considering a rare mid-season transfer, there had been suggestions he may make his move in advance of the Tour de France, due to start August 29. However, at present, it looks likely that Froome will remain with Ineos as he targets a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey, riding as co-leader alongside Bernal and Geraint Thomas.
While much has been made of the wealth of talent aboard the super-wealthy Ineos team bus, Dumoulin acknowledged that team strength accounts for little when going mano-a-mano with a rival in the decisive mountaintop finishes of a grand tour.
“I can’t speak for Froome. He must start from his own strength, which is possible with every team,” Dumoulin said. “The last 10 kilometers of a climb is everyone for themselves. No matter which team, we will have to beat him anyway. ”
Dumoulin will share Jumbo-Visma leadership duties at this summer’s Tour alongside Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk, and confirmed this weekend that his team has booked two altitude camps before the return to racing.
“The classification in the Tour de France is determined in the mountain stages on one-hour climbs and sometimes at high altitudes,” Dumoulin told Wielerflits Update. “I believe that it is not possible to train the right way without altitude training. You can get very close to a very good shape, but not the top shape needed to really fight for the podium in the Tour.”
The squad will head to French Alpine resort of Tignes for training blocks July 8-31 and August 14-24. Like team Astana, currently training in the Austrian Alps, and Deceuninck-Quick-Step, planning on heading to the Italian Dolomites, Jumbo-Visma has opted for a “local” option rather than heading to southern Spain or the Canary Islands to minimize complications with travel or flights.