“GC? It would be nice if it happens, but my shape isn’t where it needs to be doing GC,” Dumoulin told reporters in Spain. “I hope to at least get a good week of racing in the legs.”
Dumoulin had a bumpy ride through the past six months.
A training accident and fractured wrist last autumn set the tone for what was to come. The Dutch star was chasing the wheels when the road turned uphill during an off-key week at February’s UAE Tour, and a bout with COVID at the turn of this month threw a wrench into his Strade Bianche plans.
This week’s Volta is all about finding his groove again.
“I had COVID just before Strade Banche, so I was adapting my training the last two weeks, but now I feel healthy again,” he told CyclingProNet. “I’m ready for a good week of racing.”
- No pressure, high anticipation for Dumoulin comeback season: ‘Everything is possible’
- Giro stars look to hit top form in Catalunya
Dumoulin is planning to use seven days of rugged Catalonian roads to get the motor running ahead of his highly anticipated grand tour comeback at the Giro d’Italia.
Despite not racing a grand tour for 18 months due to his mid-career pause in early 2021, Dumoulin was a shoo-in for Giro leadership at Jumbo-Visma.
The 2017 maglia rosa will have top talent Tobias Foss riding shotgun alongside and a typically deep yellow-and-black armada guarding his flanks.
‘Our team is one of the best, if not the best, in the world’
Dumoulin said there’s no pressure being the leading Dutchman of a Dutch team that has risen to the top of the pro peloton.
“Our team is one of the best, if not the best in the world, and it shows in a lot of aspects in the team. And I benefit from that, so I’m happy to be here,” he said.
A six-month sabbatical last year saw Dumoulin search his soul, shed struggles with burnout, and rediscover his love for riding. Just like Jumbo-Visma dialed down the pressure last year, Dumoulin’s not feeling the squeeze this season either.
“Pressure? No, I don’t see it that way,” he replied in response to questions about being part of a dominant team. “Of course, I want to perform well, but I need some more time and I hope I’ll be in very top shape for the Giro.”
Dumoulin finished safely in the peloton behind Michael Matthews’ winning sprint Monday and sits poised for the harder stages to come.
Every Catalonian climb takes him closer to Italy’s Alps.