Paris (AFP)

"I'm going to take a break for a while": Tom Dumoulin, winner of the Giro 2017 and second in the Tour de France 2018, announced on Saturday that he was suspending his career at 30 against all odds, in a video posted on his team's website Jumbo .

The Dutch rider, seventh in the last Tour de France where he played the role of luxury teammate of the Slovenian leader Primoz Roglic, stripped of the yellow jersey on the eve of the finish, explains that he "clearly needs time to think" in pointing to the weight of media and public pressure, "more difficult to manage than what" he expected.

"Who knows where this will take me? Anyway I'll talk a lot with people, think, walk my dog ​​and find out what I want as a person, on the bike, and what I want to do with my life ", develops the 2017 world champion in the time trial in the video of more than eight minutes produced by his team.

The announcement is all the more surprising given that Jumbo announced Thursday the provisional program of its rider for the 2021 season.

He had taken part in his team's training camps and said he was "very enthusiastic" about competing in the Flandrian classics at the beginning of the spring.

"The team fully supports me and gives me the time necessary for my reflection", assures Dumoulin who, before his resumption in August, had already known more than 400 days without a race, between left knee injury and the first part of the 2020 season turned upside down by the Covid-19.

Despite the content of the announcement, the tone of the interview is light and Dumoulin, smiling, said he was relieved by his decision: "It's as if a hundred kilogram backpack had vanished from my shoulders."

The Dutchman, deprived in September of a stage victory in the time trial of the Tour de France at La Planche des Belles Filles by the striking performance of Tadej Pogacar, had sacrificed himself from the first Pyrenean stage for the benefit of the future big loser of the Primoz Roglic Great Loop.

© 2021 AFP