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FLORENCE (VN) — Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) prefers to stay second overall and not win the 2018 Giro d’Italia months later after a court decision against victor Chris Froome.
Froome will face a judge at some point in the future — a court date has yet to be scheduled — for an anti-doping case stemming from last year’s Vuelta a España. An eventual ruling could see him banned and stripped of his Vuelta and Giro titles.
“I hope not,” Dumoulin told La Gazzetta dello Sport when asked if the 2018 Giro d’Italia could be decided in the courts.
“That’s certainly not the way I’d want to win.” [related title=”More Giro d’Italia news” align=”left” tag=”Giro-d’Italia”]
A recent case saw Michele Scarponi earn the 2011 title when Alberto Contador lost the win due to an anti-doping case. Scarponi, who died last year, took the trophy one year later in an official ceremony.
“If Chris lost the title? It’d be very negative for cycling,” Dumoulin added. “But normally, it won’t happen. Even if he is suspended for that non-negative at the Vuelta a España, it should not affect the Giro d’Italia.”
Contador had tested positive for clenbuterol. Froome’s case is different because he showed elevated levels of the asthma drug salbutamol. The allowed limit is 1,000 nanograms per milliliter, but Froome originally showed twice that amount in his sample. That figure has since been recalibrated to 1,429 nl/ml, according to a report earlier this month.
Froome is allowed to race while his case continues. UCI president David Lappartient said a decision may not come until later this summer, after the Tour de France.
Dumoulin, who became the first Dutchman to win the Giro d’Italia in 2017, spoke out ahead of the Giro against Froome racing while his case plays out behind closed doors.
When the 2018 Giro reached the Cervinia ski resort for the stage 20 finish, Froome sealed his overall win by 46 seconds over Dumoulin. Dumoulin had attacked Froome roughly five times in the final kilometers but was unable to dislodge him.
After the stage, Froome rode past Dumoulin in a media scrum and tried to congratulate his rival on the hard fight. Dumoulin would not turn toward Froome and said to Belgium’s Sporza, “Start the interview now.”
“I read this gossip, but that’s not the way it was,” Dumoulin responded. “I just didn’t see him. I was giving an interview. He passed, but was out of sight. It wasn’t on purpose, and after, I went to congratulate him.”
Dumoulin dominated the Giro d’Italia’s time trials in 2017 and rode against Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali — the eventual second- and third-place finishers — in the mountains. The 2018 Giro, however, had just 43.9km of time trials instead of the 69.1km that were included in 2017.
Dumoulin, the reigning world time trial champion, won the stage 1 race against the clock in Jerusalem to take the pink jersey at this year’s Giro. In the second time trial that began the race’s third week, he admitted to not having his best day. He remained second overall at that point, consistent and a threat, but could not crack then-race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) or Froome.
“I think so,” he said when asked if his runner-up result means as much as last year’s win.
“My form is the same, the team is even stronger this year, but the course was better suited to me last year. For this reason, I’m happy with the second place.”
Dumoulin will take a break and then rebuild for the Tour de France that starts July 7.
“This year, there is an extra week between the two tours,” he said. “At 27, I want to see how I go racing one after another. I’ve never done it. Any result will be a bonus for me.”