• Tom Dumoulin near the front of the peloton during Stage 2 of the Tour de France (Getty)Source: Getty
Tom Dumoulin has decided to take a break from his cycling career, taking unpaid leave from Jumbo-Visma and departing from the team's training camp.
SBS Cycling Central

24 Jan 2021 - 8:50 AM 

Just a day after it was announced that Tom Dumoulin would be the co-leader for Jumbo-Visma at the 2021 Tour de France, and weeks after it had been confirmed that the early season would include the cobbled classics, Dumoulin has left the team and the sport for an indefinite period.

“The team and I decided yesterday that I take a leave with an unknown time frame from our beautiful sport,’ Dumoulin wrote on Twitter.

“For too long I feel a big pressure to perform and I feel that I always want to do the best for the team, for all the sponsors, the fans etc. But in that process I forgot myself a bit. I forgot what I actually want within this sport and with my future. Because I don’t have this answer clear for myself I’m actually also not doing the best for the people around me."

Dumoulin is on unpaid leave from Jumbo-Visma, the team he has been with since switching from Sunweb in 2020, with whom he had a contract until the end of 2022.

"I took the decision yesterday," Dumoulin said in a statement released by his team. "And the team supports me in it, and it feels really good. It is really as if a backpack of a hundred kilos has slipped off my shoulders. I immediately woke up happy."

"It feels so good that I finally took the decision to take some time for myself. That says enough. I have been feeling for quite a while that it is very difficult for me to know how to find my way as Tom Dumoulin the cyclist - with the pressure that comes with it, with the expectations of different parties."

Dumoulin is regarded as one of the most open and media-friendly cyclists but the 30-year-old Dutch star revealed that he had lost touch with himself as part of the process of trying to please others.

"I just want to do very well for very many people," said Dumoulin. "I want the team to be happy with me. I want the sponsors to be happy. I want my wife and my family to be happy. And so I want to do well for everyone, but because of that I have forgotten myself a bit in the past year.

"What do I want? Do I still want to be a rider? And how?"

From a sporting perspective, hopefully Dumoulin is back entertaining us on the bike soon, but the priorities from Dumoulin and his team are correctly putting the emphasis on his personal health and wellbeing.