Arthur van Dongen worked with Tom Dumoulin for many years Rabobank Development and Sunweb and after Dumoulin announced his retirement earlier this year after mental and physical fatigue, van Dongen believes he knows why.
In van Dongen's opinion "Grand Tours may have been too demanding" for Dumoulin. His explanation for this opinion is "His heart was probably more in time trial and riding classics and short stage races. He wanted to ride the Amstel Gold Race, the Walloon Arrow and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but that did not always fit into his program. If you want to excel in a Grand Tour, you have to live like a monk for a large part of the year."
Despite Dumoulin not being able to live up to the lofty expectations many had for him when he joined Jumbo-Visma, the 54-year-old sports director doesn't believe it was a complete failure. As van Dongen says " In the 2020 Tour de France, where Primoz Roglic wore yellow for a long time and he himself eventually finished seventh in the standings, he was certainly important. And in the Vuelta won by Primoz that year, his contribution was very distinguished. I don't think Roglic would have become the overall winner without that contribution."
The mental struggles of being expected to perform at the highest level throughout the 3-week Grand Tours eventually proved too much for Dumoulin as he called time on his career earlier this year. van Dongen sums it up well when he says “The common thread through his years at Jumbo-Visma was Tom's struggle when it came to his intrinsic motivation to be the leader in a grand tour and/or a well-known Dutchman."