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Tom Dumoulin took a leave of absence from cycling from December 2020 to June of 2021. Upon his return, he stepped onto the podium at the Tokyo Olympics with Jumbo-Visma teammate Primož Roglič.
The 2017 Giro d’Italia winner had been struggling with motivation and fighting back against burnout, and the six-month break seemed to have done him good. And so did his conversations with his team captain, reported L’Équipe.
“I love talking with Primoz,” Dumoulin said to the French news outlet during an interview while in Catalonia.
“When you talk to him about your problems, he really listens. I’ve never seen him judge anyone. He gives his feelings, talks about his experience, and what he told me will help me to live the rest of my career,” said the 31-year-old Dutchman.
Dumoulin discussed his role in cycling and subordinating his needs for those of others, and the impact it’s had on him.
“For several seasons, I got into the habit of conforming to the demands of others,” said Dumoulin. “I did that for too long, I just couldn’t get over it and had to make this decision to quit in order to have the necessary perspective and find a way to function differently.”
But the Dutch rider has his own ambitions, including a return to podiums as a GC rider in 2022.
“One thing is certain is that I will continue to aim for the general classification in certain races,” Dumoulin said.
Dumoulin took to heart the advice given to him and will keep it in mind as he goes into another season with Jumbo-Visma, with plans on emulating some of Roglič’s racing perspectives.
“I want to see it now as an adventure, a story that I write, for me and for me alone,” said Dumoulin. “Something that you are lucky enough to experience only once in your life and of which you have to accept the best and the worst.”
And Dumoulin said of his Olympic silver that if he had to finish second at the quadrennial contest, he’d chose no other rider to do so than his teammate.
“If I had to choose who would beat me, I would have chosen Primož,” Dumoulin said. “He is a kind of example for me.”