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Dumoulin, Simon Yates commit to racing Giro in 2019

The pair will target the general classification in the Italian grand tour, which kicks off May 11 in Bologna.

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) will target a second Giro d’Italia title in 2019 and “likely” the Tour de France later in the summer.

Brit Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), the reigning Vuelta a España champion, will also return to the Giro after losing the lead with two days remaining in this year’s race.

Dumoulin won the Italian grand tour in 2017 with improved climbing legs and time trial muscle. He placed second this year to Chris Froome (Sky). He rode in the Tour this summer and placed second again to Froome’s Sky teammate Geraint Thomas.

“After weeks of talking about it, we finally decided the main focus will be the Giro d’Italia in 2019,” Dumoulin said in a video message from his team’s training camp in Spain.

“We had the Tour de France for a long time in our head but the Giro d’Italia is such a nice course the coming year. I really love Italy, I love the course, and I love the race. So that’s going to be my main focus.”

The 2019 Corsa Rosa runs from May 11 in Bologna through June 2 in Verona.

Dumoulin rode consistently throughout the 2018 edition. He remained a threat for the pink jersey and spiral trophy when Yates cracked. Froome, however, launched a solo, 80.3-kilometer attack that earned him the lead, which he held onto for the following two days to take the overall title.

In 2017, Dumoulin won thanks to his time trial and improved climbing strength. He over-hauled Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and others on the last stage, jumping from fourth to first in the Milan time trial.

The 2019 Giro includes breathtaking stages through the Alps in the north of Italy and 58.5km of time trials over three stages. The race opens with a short uphill time trail, weaves it way 34.7km up to San Marino in stage 9, and ends at Verona’s Arena with a 15.6km race against the clock.

The amount of time trialing is music to the ears of Dumoulin, the 2017 world TT champion.

Froome is likely to give his full focus to the Tour de France in 2019. He has a chance of winning the Tour for a fifth time, which would equal the all-time record held by four men. Thomas should also race the Tour, with Team Sky sending Gianni Moscon and Egan Bernal to Italy.

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), winner of the Giro in 2013 and 2016, put the race on his program in 2019. Like Dumoulin, he said he should race the Tour in July.

“Afterwards it’s very likely that I’ll also do the Tour de France for GC, like last year, but it’s still undecided,” Dumoulin added.

“We’ll see after the Giro d’Italia what we’ll do, but normally I’ll also go to the Tour de France. But the main focus will be the Giro d’Italia. So ‘ciao’ and see you in May.”

Mikel Landa (Movistar), Miguel Angel López (Astana), and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) should also race in May.

Yates led this year’s Giro for 13 days and won three stages before slipping to 21st overall. He returned to action later in the summer to win the Vuelta.

“I’m looking forward to returning to the Giro d’Italia next year,” Yates said. “It’s a race I have great memories from but one which also left a bitter taste in my mouth, so I want to go back to try to finish the job off.

“The Giro is always an extremely difficult race and next year, with three time trials, it’s maybe not perfectly suited to me but we will still give it a real go and see what we can achieve.”