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Dumoulin happy to wait until 2018 to challenge for Tour yellow

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), winner of the Giro d’Italia in May, says he is happy to wait until 2018 to try for the Tour de France.

The 26-year-old Dutchman from Maastricht won his first grand tour last month, toppling Movistar’s Nairo Quintana on the last day in Milan.

“I’m happy I’m not going to the Tour now,” he told De Telegraaf newspaper.

Dumoulin narrowly lost the 2015 Vuelta a España on the final mountain day to Fabio Aru. That ride was unplanned. This year was the first time he trained to race for the overall — and he succeeded.

The 2017 Tour de France starts in Düsseldorf, Germany, on July 1 with a time trial. Dumoulin would have had his chance to race for the yellow jersey and try for the Tour de France overall for the first time.

“In recent weeks, I have had no time more to think about [racing the Tour],” Dumoulin added.

“But in the Giro, it crossed my mind a few times. I thought it was a pity to not to go to the Tour de France, especially with that time trial on the first day. I thought, whether you win or not, you will be good in the rankings and you might get the yellow in the first stages.

“It sometimes haunted my thoughts while racing for the Giro overall classification, starting the Tour for another approach.

“The team saw it another way. And then I also considered that it might not be such a very good idea.”

After his 2015 breakthrough, Dumoulin focused on stages in 2016. He won the opening time trial of the Giro d’Italia and in the Tour de France, he won the summit finish stage in Andorra and the time trial ahead of Chris Froome (Sky).

The German WorldTour team dedicated 2017 to grand tours. He won the Giro thanks to his time trial gains and improvements in the mountains. The team wants to take him to the Vuelta later this season.

“This Giro was the best starting field in the last 10 years,” Sunweb coach and sport director Aike Visbeek told VeloNews.

“He beat guys like Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana, who were working together at moments. If Tom can still bring it home like that, then it’s impressive.”

Visbeek said he hopes more grand tour wins will come for his rider.

“This is the first real challenge for us. We prepared for it for months, the first real run in to a grand tour and trying to win it. We can still improve a lot.”

This year’s Tour de France cuts south of Germany through the Jura Mountains. It skips over France’s Pyrénées in the southwest and ends with climbs through the Alps.

The combined distance of two time trials — 37km, between the 14km TT in Düsseldorf and the 23km TT in Marseille — is a relatively low number compared to other years.

Dumoulin, who has been compared to Bradley Wiggins and Miguel Indurain, could do well on a Tour de France course like 2012. That year, Wiggins won partly thanks to the 100km of time trials.

“It depends on what the parcours looks like next year,” Visbeek added. “Of course, we will challenge for the Tour one day.”

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