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Jumbo-Visma rolled into the Vuelta a España with high hopes for a two-pronged GC assault, and while the squad is currently defending the race lead of Primoz Roglic, the other pre-race hope for the team is already out of GC contention. After losing 51 seconds on stage 1, Tom Dumoulin arrived over eight minutes back on stage 2.
“I am just empty and had no energy,” Dumoulin told NOS after the stage. “I had no power, even though I tried. There is just nothing in my legs.”
At the start of this Vuelta, Jumbo-Visma characterized the team’s approach as one of co-leadership between Dumoulin and Roglic. Dumoulin, who first broke through as a potential GC contender at the 2015 Vuelta, said that he was aiming for a podium spot this year, and hoping to be more of an overall contender than he was at this year’s Tour de France, where he rode to seventh.
Just as was the case at the Tour, however, Dumoulin’s own GC hopes at the Vuelta have faded even as his teammate’s are burning bright. Dumoulin lost touch with the lead group on Alto de Arrate on Tuesday’s opening stage, and on Wednesday, he was dropped in the early goings of the Alto de San Miguel de Aralar, quickly losing heaps of time. He finished 8:20 down on stage winner Marc Soler.
According to NOS, Dumoulin was not currently entertaining questions of leaving the race.
“I am not working on that at the moment and that is a question for later,” he said. “If I can do something else, I can be very valuable to the team. We just have to see how this goes in the coming days. We will recover slowly and we’ll see tomorrow.”
Indeed, Dumoulin’s potential contributions as a support were on display earlier this season at the Tour, when he found himself working for Roglic in the second and third week. With the Vuelta’s defending champion again sitting atop the GC after two days of racing, Jumbo-Visma has ample reason to want Dumoulin to continue in the race, even if he will have to settle into a role that isn’t quite what he was hoping for just 48 hours ago.