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Dumoulin promises to ride for strongest teammate at Tour

Dutch star vows to be team player at Jumbo-Visma, but he hopes it's him the team will be working for in France.

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Tom Dumoulin said the road will decide who is the captain at the Tour de France for the stacked Jumbo-Visma squad.

Speaking on Dutch radio, the 2017 Giro d’Italia winner said the Tour is his paramount goal, but vows to be a team player if the Tour is raced as hoped August 29-September 20. Dumoulin will share leadership duties with Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk.

“We go to the Tour with three leaders: Primoz Roglic, Steven Kruijswijk and myself,” he told the Radio 1 program De Perstribune. “All three of us get the chance to prove ourselves. But eventually, we will ride for the one who turns out to be the strongest. If it turns out that I am stronger than Primoz and Steven, then I have a world-class team to support me to try to win the Tour. And the other way around, of course.”

Dumoulin, 29, hasn’t raced since pulling out of last summer’s Critérium du Dauphiné that came on the heels of a knee injury at the 2019 Giro. Since his high-profile transfer to Jumbo-Visma, his planned season debut was delayed by the coronavirus shutdown. Now with racing looking likely to resume, Dumoulin said he’s hard at work getting ready to race.

“During my training I feel like the Tom Dumoulin from two years ago,” he said. “I have not yet been able to prove and show myself for my new team. I really want to shine in the colors of my current team. It was for a reason I joined this team. I am also proud to be able to ride for this team. Too bad I have not been able to show it yet. Although I am fully aware that these doubts are not necessary. I know I can do it and that I am capable of doing it, but there is not much that we can do about the current situation.”

Jumbo-Visma has emerged as the most dangerous challenger to Team Ineos and the team’s stranglehold on the yellow jersey. Along with Roglic, a winner of the Vuelta a España in September, and podium-finisher Kruijswijk, Dumoulin’s arrival gives the team tremendous depth to take on Team Ineos.

Dumoulin, a runner-up in both the 2018 Giro and Tour, said he will race inside French borders in a run-up to the new Tour dates. After winning the Giro and coming close in the Tour and Vuelta a España, a newly confident Dumoulin said his ultimate goal is to win the Tour some day. Whether that happens in 2020 remains to be seen, but he said he feels his chances have improved since joining Jumbo-Visma.

“The Tour is the biggest of the biggest and I would love to win it once. So I hope it will work out,” he said. “And I think that with this team we are certainly able to achieve that.  At the moment, it is difficult to say who of us three is the strongest. Based on the past months I would say Primoz, but we all have not been able to prove ourselves this year. So it is also a bit of guessing about how everyone is doing at the moment.”

Dumoulin’s comments come as ex-pro Michael Boogerd said the pressure is on Dumoulin to confirm his credentials as a grand tour leader with another top result. Boogerd, speaking on a Dutch YouTube interview, suggested Dumoulin needs to prove himself this season.

“I think Tom has peaked. He’s had some wonderful years, and I hope he can come back,” Boogerd said. “He looks different than when he won the Giro a few years ago. Then everything was new, and he was spontaneous and cheerful. Now he seems agitated and nervous. He’s not the same anymore. Before he could ride without any pressure or stress. Now he has to prove himself, and that’s not so easy.”