Report: Tom Dumoulin to make rare appearance at cobbled classics this spring

Dutchman to bypass Ardennes races in favor of joining up with Wout van Aert at E3 Saxo Bank Classic and Tour of Flanders.

Tom Dumoulin will be swapping the Ardennes for the cobbles in 2021.

Reports in Belgian outlet Wielerflits suggest that the 30-year-old will be racing the Tour of Flanders this year for the first time since 2012. The return to De Ronde makes for part of a schedule shakeup that will see Dumoulin bypass his typical run in the Ardennes classics.

Though there are no details as to whether Dumoulin will be riding any early-season stage races, Wielerflits reports that the Dutchman will set his one-day wheels rolling with an Italian block made up of Strade Bianche (March 6), Tirreno-Adriatico (March 10-16) and Milano-Sanremo (March 20).

From there, the Jumbo-Visma star will divert from his typical schedule to head to the cobbles of the E3 Saxo Bank Classic and Tour of Flanders before racing the Tour of Romandie.

The decision to race through the northern classics and Romandie comes at the expense of the Ardennes block of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Amstel Gold and La Fléche Wallonne, which have become staples of Dumoulin’s season. As the marquee Dutch rider on a Dutch team, the omission of the Netherlands-based Amstel Gold from the schedule may come as a surprise to some.

Dumoulin has raced the Tour of Flanders just once, way back in 2012 during his time with Argos Shimano. He has never ridden the E3 Classic, which commonly serves as the vital warmup race for De Ronde. The Dutchman’s presence on the cobbles will be a boon for teammate Wout van Aert, who last year took second-place in Flanders behind Mathieu van der Poel.

Dumoulin’s grand tour plans are not yet confirmed, though early indications suggest he will return to the Tour de France. Last year, he raced to seventh overall having pivoted from his own GC challenge in order to support Primož Roglič.

Dumoulin’s spring schedule per Wielerflits: 

  • March 6: Strade Bianche
  • March 10-16: Tirreno-Adriatico
  • March 20: Milano-Sanremo
  • March 26: E3 Saxo Bank Classic
  • April 4: Tour of Flanders
  • April 27-May 2: Tour of Romandie