Tom Dumoulin has come through his first official race day in 420 days well. The Limburger finished fourth in the first stage of the Tour de l'Ain on his debut for Jumbo-Visma.
According to Dumoulin, who is preparing for the Tour de France in the French race, it went better than expected. "It almost couldn't get any better. Well, if you win here, it's perfect", he told De Telegraaf afterwards .
He did notice that he had to get used to it. "The first phase of the race felt strange. I really had to get in. I was a bit scared and it was strange to constantly have to fight for your place," he said. "In the end it went by itself again. Cycling is like skiing, you can't forget that."
Dumoulin has not raced since May 2019, when he had to give up after a crash in the Giro d'Italia. He then underwent surgery twice, after which his season was over. In February he would initially make his debut for Jumbo-Visma, but he was sidelined for some time due to intestinal parasites. Due to the corona crisis, his debut took a little longer.
In de l'Ain it seemed as if Dumoulin had never left. The plan was to lead leader Primoz Roglic to the stage victory, but he did not get away on the last climb. Despite the hard work of Dumoulin, Roglic had to lose in the sprint against the Italian Andrea Bagioli.
"We knew that Primoz wanted to try it on the final climb, but he didn't get away. Because he is usually very fast, I thought: I will do the sprint for him. But I think he was a bit fucked up about that effort on the way. the end. Maybe we should have done it the other way around. "