Tom Dumoulin and the Tour de France. Discuss. No matter how hard he fought for victory during the Tour de France 2018, he still finished second in the general classification. And that followed a second place in the Giro in the same year. Dumoulin and his squad at Team Sunweb make no secret of the fact that victory in the Tour de France 2019 is the next main goal. However, after the presentations of the routes of both the Giro and Tour 2019, Dumoulin recently shared his doubts about his strategy. Time to weigh up the pros and cons.
It’s the Tour de France, stupid
The Tour de France isn’t always the most attractive race to follow as a fan, but it’s still the biggest race in professional cycling. It’s a race with an incredibly rich history, and it’s also the race which has inspired countless rider to start racing in the first place. Winning the Tour de France is the most prestigious prize a bike racer can hope to win. If you want to count yourself among the giants of cycling, then you really have to have won the Tour at least once.
Christian Prudhomme presenting the official route of the Tour de France 2019. Credit: Cor Vos
Even though Tom Dumoulin had a gruelling 2018 schedule, including both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, he finished second place in both races. But only first place really counts for a true sportsman — winning the yellow jersey, in the case of the Tour. Even though it’s a major achievement to battle for victory in the Giro or the Vuelta a España, the Tour is something else. Dumoulin also already has a pink jersey hanging in his cupboard, and that second place in the Tour 2018, behind Geraint Thomas, who entered the Tour without the Giro in his legs, undoubtedly still plays on Dumoulin’s mind.
Tom Dumoulin finished second in the Tour de France 2018. Credit: Cor Vos
Tour organisers hope for French victory
The Tour’s organisers have made no secret of it: for too long they have been waiting for a successor to Bernard Hinault. The Frenchman (nicknamed “The Badger”) won the Tour de France five times, and his last victory was in 1985. That’s also the last time a Frenchman won the Tour; something which the organisers have been struggling with. So much so that they have now designed the course for two French riders —Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet — which they hope will ensure a place on the podium for a French rider.
A cheering Frenchman: something which the Tour organisers would like to see more often. Credit: Cor Vos
Tom Dumoulin is a time trialist
Although Dumoulin has proven that he can climb with the best in the mountains, he is in a class of his own when it comes to the time trial. This is the discipline where he can always make up time on his rival general classification contenders. By gaining time in the time trial, he creates more flexibility for himself during the stages that favour other riders more. And the fact remains that the Giro 2019 route includes almost twice as many time trial kilometres (58.5km) than the Tour de France 2019 (27km).
Tom Dumoulin starting in the individual time trial in the Tour de France 2018, which he won. Credit: Cor Vos