2021 Tour de Suisse

Tom Dumoulin Among Top Underdogs For 2021 Tour de Suisse

Tom Dumoulin Among Top Underdogs For 2021 Tour de Suisse

There are big question marks surrounding three of the sport's biggest stars, and they are all going to the Tour de Suisse.

May 19, 2021 by Gregor Brown
Reaction: Tom Dumoulin's Return

The 2021 Tour de Suisse, June 6 to 13, will reveal quite a lot about those riders who could shine big in future stage races including the Tour de France the following month.

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The race covers eight days with mountains every day. Even the time trial in stage seven climbs up to 2000 meters. Some riders could upset the overall favorites like Michael Woods, and we take a look at those underdogs below.

Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma)

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) would normally be considered a race favorite considering he already won the Giro d'Italia in 2017 and placed second in 2018 in both the Giro and the Tour de France. However, Dumoulin is coming off of a break and has not raced since the Vuelta a España on October 27, 2020. Remember that this winter he said he wanted to take a break to refresh his mind. He did so, and he will now be making a race return in Suisse four months after that decision while others like Tadej Pogacar his teammate Primoz Roglic has been winning race overall titles.

Dumoulin plans to race three more years. The Tour de Suisse will be his build up race towards his new 2021 goal – not the Tour de France – but winning the time trial gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. After this race, he will tackle the Dutch Championships and continue preparations for Tokyo. However, do not be surprised if Dumoulin pulls off a big GC ride in Switzerland considering his caliber and having just last year placed second in the final Tour time trial and seventh overall.

Thomas Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers)

Tom Pidcock is not slated for the Tour de France and is not one of the big Suisse overall favorites, but we know that he can do big things based on his cyclocross career and what he did this spring in the one-day races from Milano-Sanremo to the Amstel Gold Race. He capped his early spring season with second place in the Amstel Gold Race behind Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), one of those riders developing into a classification rider.

Pidcock is yet unproven in WorldTour stage races and on 2000-meter mountain passes, however the young rider from Yorkshire has exceeded expectations in seemingly every race he has entered since joining Ineos. 

Pidcock will enter the Tour de Suisse after once again smashing people's expectations in the opening two rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Pidcock himself admitted that he is in great shape after beating Mathieu van der Poel and the rest of the field by over a minute in the cross country race at Nové Město. 

Having seemingly accomplished what he set out to do on the mountain bike (for now), Pidcock will return to the road at Tour de Suisse. A top five would be a success, and a win would be a true upset of favorites like Michael Woods, Max Schachmann, and Jakob Fuglsang.

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)

It seems unlikely that Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) would compete for the overall, but like Pidcock, nothing is off the table with him. The Dutchman shocked everyone in 2019 with his transition from cyclocross to road, capping it off with the Amstel Gold Race win. Then in 2020, he won the BinckBank overall title and the Tour of Flanders.

Like Pidcock, Van der Poel will use the Tour de Suisse to build miles and fitness after a successful two rounds of mountain bike world cups. Unlike Pidcock however, Van der Poel is racing the Tour de France prior to targeting the mountain bike race at the Tokyo Olympics.

As a result, Van der Poel is engaged in a delicate balancing act this summer as he prepares for his two major and very different objectives. The Tour de Suisse is integral to Van der Poel's preparation. Conventional wisdom would suggest that Van der Poel should not be in top form at the Tour de Suisse, but the Dutchman is not one to enter a race without making a splash. Will he race for stage wins, or will we see something even more impressive?