Earlier this week Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) announced his immediate retirement from professional cycling.
The Dutchman is widely considered as being one of the greatest Grand Tour riders of his generation and had initially announced that he would retire at the end of the current season.
Dumoulin’s intention was to retire after the World Championships in Australia, however the 31-year-old brought forward his retirement to August and said ‘the tank is empty’ and he can no longer continue.
Dumoulin’s career has seen him win the Giro d’Italia, land multiple Dutch National Time Trial Championship titles and win stages at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España.
Here are three of our favourite moments of the Dutchman’s career.
VUELTA A ESPAÑA 2015, STAGE NINE
Heading into the 2015 Vuelta, bookmakers were offering odds of 1000-1 on Dumoulin winning the race.
The then Giant-Alpecin rider had shown some signs of future potential in week-long races like the Tour de Suisse and the Eneco Tour, previously finishing high overall at both. However a race like la Vuelta was a whole different ball game altogether.
As the Spanish Grand Tour rapidly approached, the Dutchman had been thought of by his team as ‘a world class time trialist who’s very good in the hills’ nothing more, although that was about to change.
The 24-year-old had crashed out of the Tour de France earlier that year meaning he had unfinished business with the big races that season. Giant-Alpecin had arrived in Spain with a team very much supporting their sprinters interests and they weren’t used to the intensity of riding for the general classification. Soon, that would swiftly need to change.
Stage nine approached providing Dumoulin with an opportunity to take the red jersey as his rivals were beginning to take note of him. The stage featured two ascents of the menacing Cumbre del Sol climb, and Dumoulin was in the group of leaders as they began the first ascent.
He repeatedly launched attacks looking to isolate the race leader Esteban Chaves, although more experienced climbers like Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Rafal Majka would repeatedly reel him back in. At one point after being caught, he was slightly distanced but a fierce display full of determination and fight ensured he would pull himself back to Froome and the leaders and, in his own words, he then smashed everything out of his legs to move past Froome to land a superb stage victory.
The Butterfly of Masstricht had the red jersey on his broad shoulders and would very nearly win the Vuelta that year. Eventually finishing sixth.
GIRO D’ITALIA 2017, STAGE 14
After his exploits at some of the world’s other biggest races, Dumoulin was finally considered a potential Grand Tour winner when the 2017 Giro d’Italia got underway.
The Dutchman had already taken victory on the stage nine individual time trial and was looking comfortable in the Maglia Rosa as the hilly and technical stage 14 arrived, a parcours that on paper was right up his street.
As the stage reached its finale, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) had disappeared up the road and looked to be on the way to victory. With just over three kilometres left to race, Dumoulin, now riding for Sunweb, decided he wanted the victory in the leader’s jersey and would attack from the group of chasers.
In a dogged display of perseverance, the Dutch rider measured his efforts to pull himself across to Quintana and, after a brief pause, attacking straight over the top of the Colombian. A final acceleration ensured he would keep Quintana at bay to land the stage win.
Dumoulin continued to do battle with Quintana throughout the rest of the Giro and ultimately came out on top. A barnstorming performance on the stage 21 individual time trial into Milan gave Dumoulin his first Grand Tour victory. Bellissimo indeed.
TOKYO OLYMPICS 2021, INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL
After a period spent away from the sport in order to focus on his mental health and wellbeing Dumoulin would return with a bang.
In January 2021, Dumoulin announced he had been unhappy as a professional cyclist for a year and his plans to take an indefinite break.
He said, “I have felt for quite some time, months, maybe even a year actually, 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, the expectations of different parties. I really want to do very well for a lot of people, but that has made me forget myself a little in the past year.”
After returning to action, the Dutchman headed to Japan for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics. The Olympics were due to be held in 2020 but were moved to 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Dumoulin then capped off his return to racing with a silver medal in the individual time trial. His Jumbo-Visma teammate Primož Roglič took the gold medal on the Fuji International Speedway Circuit finding redemption for his Tour de France mishap that year. Roglič was beaten by a rampant Tadej Pogačar in the final individual time trial to dramatically lose his Tour de France lead.
“It was a difficult road to get here,” said Dumoulin after the finish. The Dutch rider had already participated in the Tour de Suisse and national championships following his return to action and was in tears after realising he had landed an Olympic medal.
The Dutchman’s comeback was complete and he was back at the top.
“I was overtrained in the winter and done with cycling. But I decided to return, especially for this day. I had a goal and I’m proud,” added Dumoulin
Stepping back from the rigours of elite level sport and prioritising his mental health earned Dumoulin legions of fans.
On his retirement, the 31-year-old said, “I look back on my career with incredible pride. I worked hard for it, took a lot of passion and pleasure from it for many years, and delivered brilliant performances. I will never forget that. Now it’s time to enjoy other things and be there for the people I love.”
Chapeau Tom and thank you for the memories.