Tom Dumoulin has announced the surprise decision to take a break from professional cycling, with the 2021 season on the horizon.
The Jumbo-Visma rider had announced on Friday that he would be starting his season at Strade Bianche in early March, only to have a dramatic change of heart.
He will now take unpaid leave for an as-yet undetermined period of time, casting doubt on whether he will support teammate Primoz Roglic at the Tour de France after last year's near-miss.
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In a video posted on the Jumbo-Visma website, the Dutchman said: "I took the decision yesterday. And the team supports me in it, and it feels really good.
It is really as if a backpack of a hundred kilos has slipped off my shoulders. I immediately woke up happy.
"It feels so good that I finally took the decision to take some time for myself. That says enough. I have been feeling for quite a while that it is very difficult for me to know how to find my way as Tom Dumoulin the cyclist.
"With the pressure that comes with it, with the expectations of different parties. I just want to do very well for very many people.
"I want the team to be happy with me. I want the sponsors to be happy. I want my wife and my family to be happy.
"And so I want to do well for everyone, but because of that I have forgotten myself a bit in the past year. What do I want? Do I still want to be a rider. And how?"
Dumoulin, who has struggled with injuries in recent years, will leave Jumbo-Visma's training camp in Spain.
He later took to social media to explain his decision further, adding: "I’m going to do a lot of thinking and talking to a lot of people and I’m very confident that I will find the answers the coming period."
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