When Tom Dumoulin came out of leftfield and finished sixth in the 2015 Vuelta a España, and actually came within two mountains of winning the thing, the first question the cycling world asked was: ‘Can he win the Tour de France?’ Dumoulin has the classic morphology of the modern Tour winner - the rouleur/time triallist who can also climb with the very best - though he’s taller than the average. Most Tour winners in the last 40 years - Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, Greg LeMond, Stephen Roche, Miguel Indurain, Jan Ullrich, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Geraint Thomas and even Chris Froome - have been this rider type, and you can romanticise the climbers as much as you like, but in cycling these days you can’t argue with the numbers.

Five years after Dumoulin’s breakthrough in the Vuelta, we’re still asking the same question, kind of. We’ve got a partial answer: second place in the Grande Boucle in 2018 has been as good an indicator of his potential as his other big grand tour results - first and second in the Giro d’Italia in 2017 and 2018 - but there’s a perception that we have not yet seen the best of Tom Dumoulin in the French race.

And that may be a problem. The Dutchman turns 30 at the end of 2020 - he’s not old for a professional cyclist, and in fact

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