Team Jumbo-Visma Head of Performance Mathieu Heijboer admits the loss of Tom Dumoulin from La Vuelta is a “big blow” but is still confident they can win the general classification.
Dumoulin withdrew ahead of Stage 8 citing fatigue.
The Dutchman, who won the 2017 Giro, had hoped to co-lead for Jumbo-Visma in Spain but was quickly demoted to second fiddle behind Primoz Roglic after struggling in the opening stages.
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Roglic moved into second on GC after an impressive victory on Stage 8, slashing the lead of Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) to 13 seconds.
“Of course it’s a big blow to lose one of the eight riders – and he’s a very good rider but he didn’t reach the level where he could be really helpful for the other guys,” Heijboer told Eurosport’s Orla Chennaoui on The Breakaway.
“When you’re aiming for the overall victory, you don’t want to lose anyone. On other hand nasty year lost [Steven] Kruijswijk very early in the race, and Tony Martin later, and we were still able to win the red jersey.
“So of course it’s a big blow but Primoz is a very experienced rider already and he doesn’t get nervous from backlashes so he’s still fully confident and we’re also very confident we can take the red jersey home.”

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Dumoulin has played catch-up throughout 2020 after battling back from a knee injury sustained at the 2019 Giro in May.
However, Heijboer believes the 29-year-old can recover to lead Jumbo-Visma at future Grand Tours.
“I think he has shown what he is capable of and shown at some stages what a great rider he is and a GC leader he can be,” said Heijboer.
“But we also have to be honest that there wasn’t enough regularity in his performances to fulfil this role of a GC leader. And that’s all to do with the difficult period he had before.
“Of course he had a long injury where he couldn’t train at all, but also during lockdown he had trouble with illness which took a lot of training away.”
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