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Dumoulin, 28, won the 2017 Giro d’Italia and world championship time trial. In 2018, he placed second to Chris Froome (Sky) in the Giro and second to Froome’s teammate Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France.
Lack of materials, support men, and a difficult 2019 season led to an abrupt end with Team Sunweb. The bond between Sunweb management and Dumoulin had seemed much more secure, in June 2017, when the two parties renewed their contract through 2021.
“After the disappointment of missing the Tour and finding myself sitting at home, I started to consider that a new environment could be refreshing,” Dumoulin said.
“That’s why I decided to focus on the interest of some teams. There were great offers and this phase of my career felt like the right time to take it.”
Dumoulin had to skip the Tour despite the associated disappointments. His seasonwas derailed in early May on a wet Giro d’Italia stage to Fascati. Near the end of the long 235km day, he crashed in a ‘maxi-caduta’ often seen in the Italian grand tour. He abandoned the next day with knee problems that over time worsened.
Racing the Critérium du Dauphiné in June appeared to be a positive step towards the Tour de France. However, midway to a training camp, he turned his car around and headed home – and ultimately towards the yellow-clad Jumbo-Visma team.
It ends a long relationship with Sunweb and boss Iwan Spekenbrink. Dumoulin raced with the team since 2012. The team morphed from Argos-Shimano to Giant-Alpecin to Sunweb and Dumoulin into a grand tour star.
The relationship began to crumble ahead of 2018. Then world champion, he was unhappy with the materials that was highlighted by incidents in the Abu Dhabi Tour. Sources in the team confirmed recently that he was then upset with the lack of new support riders for the 2019 season.
“As a rider you always search for the highest achievable and you constantly ask yourself whether you are still in the right place, what is the best team for you and where the best options and opportunities are,” Dumoulin added.
“It really does hurt to leave. My heart is here and together we have achieved great things that I’m very proud of. I’ve proven with Team Sunweb that winning a Grand Tour is possible with this team and I have no doubt that I could do it again with them.
“I know that the grass will not always be greener than at Team Sunweb and I want to emphasise that without them, I could never have got to where I am today. I will always remain grateful for the opportunities that I have had, and the opportunity that the team now grants me to allow me to explore my options within a new team.”
The “refreshing new environment” brings more money. VeloNews’s sources explain that Dumoulin currently earns €1.5 million ($1.67m) with Sunweb and that Team Jumbo-Visma offers €2.5 million ($2.78m).
Dumoulin will be the star in a team that already includes Steven Kruijswijk, Primoz Roglic and Wout Van Aert.
Sunweb officials also confirmed their star’s departure.
“It’s been a difficult year for Tom with the setbacks he has experienced and it’s normal for any person at this age to take a step back and reassess their situation,” explained Team Sunweb CEO Iwan Spekenbrink.
“Tom opened up to thoughts that a new environment could be refreshing and we decided to respect his request and cooperate to make a move possible. We’re of course sad to see him leave, but in the end that’s top sports, athletes go and next generation promising athletes come.”
Jumbo-Visma’s boss Richard Plugge is expected to release a statement in the next hours confirming their new new pearl.