FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) says he is “fresh” and ready to race for the yellow jersey at the Tour de France next month after finishing second to Sky’s Chris Froome in the Giro d’Italia.
Dumoulin is training this week in the Alps to prepare for the Tour, which starts July 7 in Vendée. The 2018 edition will be the first time he will race for the overall after winning a time trial and a mountain stage in 2016.
“I actually feel very fresh,” the Dutchman told De Telegraaf. “After the Giro d’Italia, I consciously took more rest than I would normally do. In the first nine days, I hardly even touched my bike. I’ve never been so fresh two weeks after a grand tour.”
Dumoulin won the Giro d’Italia in 2017 but skipped the other two grand tours and focused instead on winning the world championship time trial.
In 2018, he built his season again around the Giro with the possibility of racing the Tour de France as well. As with the Giro, his main rival will be Froome.
Froome has won the Tour the last three years and will race for a fifth title next month.
At the Giro, Dumoulin pushed race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) through the first two weeks until the final days of the race. Yates cracked. Dumoulin held his ground. Froome, though, took off on a solo attack during stage 19 that no one could answer.
Froome was officially crowned the Giro champion 48 hours later in Rome, while Dumoulin finished second at 46 seconds back. He told his team that night, I’ll be racing the Tour too.”
“I had in mind since the winter that I really wanted to race the double,” Dumoulin continued. “I always thought that I would really decide after that race.
“The Giro actually went very well from start to finish and I did not see anything crazy in those weeks.”
Many argued this winter that Dumoulin should race the Tour after successfully tackling the 2017 Giro — the first time he ever raced a grand tour for the win.
The 27-year-old went instead for the Giro, which featured more time trial kilometers. In comparison to other recent editions, this year’s Tour has a relatively small amount of time trial kilometers (66.5).
“I’ll give it all for the standings in the Tour. I know it’s going to be a physical and mental fight. It will once again become a tough fight,” Dumoulin added.
“It is not that I’m racing there with the idea that I have already had a good grand tour [in the Giro]. I am going to do everything to finish high up in the Tour too.”