The Dutch cyclist is switching to The Netherlands’ super team after eight years with Team Sunweb. In that time, he won the 2017 Giro d’Italia, placed second overall in the Tour de France, and took the 2017 World Championship trial.
“If the Tour de France route suits me, I can handle myself, Jumbo-Visma suggested it would like me to start in France,” Dumoulin said in an interview with Sporza.
“Then the Olympic Games follow. There is very little time between the Tour and the Games. That is not ideal for the Games, but that’s not bad either. In the past, there have been Olympic winners from the Tour, like Bradley Wiggins.”
The 28-year-old will super-charge an already powerful team for 2020. In 2019, it won four stages of the Tour and placed Steven Kruijswijk third overall. Slovenian Primoz Roglic won two stages in the Giro d’Italia, led the race for five days and placed third overall. He returned this summer to win the Vuelta a España.
The team management will have to juggle its leaders much like Ineos does with riders like Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, and Egan Bernal. Bernal won the Tour this summer even though Thomas was the defending 2018 champion.
Dumoulin spent much of the summer dealing with knee issues. He crashed and abandoned early in the Giro d’Italia and needed two surgeries on his left knee. He started and stopped training, not racing since June, but is now going again.
“Now my knee is doing very well,” Dumoulin added.
“I rode for four hours on Saturday, together with Jos van Emden. I intend to keep building until the end of October. At the beginning of November, I will go on vacation and then I will start preparing for the new season.
“All doctors are convinced that it will go well. They say that my knee will recover well and will not play up again.”
After the Giro crash, Dumoulin returned to race the Critérium du Dauphiné in June but needed to stop and called off his plans for the Tour de France. After his second surgery at the end of July, he began swimming and in September, riding his bike.
That time was also used to end the contract with Sunweb, two years earlier than planned, and find a spot in Team Jumbo-Visma.
“At Sunweb, I saw that it was difficult to be the only leader,” Dumoulin said.
“If I am sick or not that great, there will always be another leader at Jumbo-Visma who can take over from me, but that was not the case at Sunweb.
“And if we start in grand tours with several leaders, we draw on the rider who is in the best position. Ineos has been doing so for years.”
Dumoulin went to the Tour in 2018 after placing second to Chris Froome (Ineos) in the Giro d’Italia. There again in France, he came up against a super Froome, but also his team-mate and eventual winner Geraint Thomas. Dumoulin managed second, sandwiched on the podium between Thomas and Froome, but the realities of racing against teams stacked with talent began to take hold.
Besides its grand tour stars, the Jumbo-Visma 2020 roster also includes cyclo-cross champion and stage winner in the Tour, Wout Van Aert, sprinter Dylan Groenewegen, George Bennett, and American Sepp Kuss.
Kuss, after domestique duties in the Vuelta a España, just helped Roglic win the Giro dell’Emilia one-day race in Italy. American Neilson Powless will transfer to EF Education First for 2020.