Steven Kruijswijk may have missed this year’s Tour de France due to a late injury but last year’s podium finisher has watched the race develop and, although he is pleased with how his Jumbo-Visma squad have ridden into the race lead, he believes that Tom Dumoulin‘s decision to sacrifice his own chances wasn’t necessary.
On stage 8 of the race, Dumoulin took control of the yellow jersey group and set a blistering pace on the Col de Peyresourde. His efforts blew the race apart but they also ensured that he lost time too. The move showed great sacrifice and commitment to the team’s cause but it also eliminated the former Giro d’Italia champion from the GC battle.
On stage 9, Dumoulin was also utilized as a super domestique, and once more he lost time. Going into the first rest day, Dumoulin is in 14th place, 3:22 down on Primoz Roglic’s yellow jersey.
The only thing is that Tom is out of contention for the GC, that’s maybe a bit of a setback for the team but Primoz has shown his strength and I’m confident that he will be the big favourite to take yellow to Paris, hopefully,” Kruijswijk told Cyclingnews from his training camp in Tignes.
“I can’t look into his mind or know how his legs felt, so if he says he wasn’t feeling his best all week or didn’t have the confidence to be there with the best, that’s his choice.
“Maybe afterwards it’s not the best choice and it would have been smarter to have waited over the weekend and seen how far he could have gone instead of sacrificing himself with a really big pull that blew the field apart.
“Maybe it was better to wait and see how far he could have gone. Maybe he would have lost a minute over the weekend and then he would have had some cards to play. That’s maybe decided in a split second and maybe it was a lack of confidence in himself for now after such a long period of racing, but clearly that wasn’t the plan as I read it from the team. It is what it is now.
“I think it wasn’t necessary. I don’t say it’s a mistake. It was unnecessary to do that at that point in the race, so early in the Tour de France because you know that he’s a big rider and that he’s capable of being on the top level for three weeks. It’s maybe too early to sacrifice himself and set himself aside.”