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The Giro d’Italia squad is currently in Tenerife and putting the finishing touches to its Giro preparation with the race kicking off on May 6 with a road stage in Budapest, Hungary.
Dumoulin heads to the race for the first time since a DNF in 2019. He finished second in 2018, and he won the race in Sunweb colors the year before, but his overall ambitions in grand tours have tailed off in recent years. He took a break from racing at the start of 2021 before returning later in the year to claim a silver medal in the time trial at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Giro d’Italia represents a huge challenge for the Dutch rider, who has not completed a grand-tour-length race since supporting Primož Roglič at the 2020 Tour de France.
“Together with Foss and Oomen, he will be one of the GC guys for the team. He’s in Tenerife with the team and he’s going well. I’m actually pretty confident that he will go well at the Giro,” team director Merijn Zeeman told VeloNews at the Tour de Romandie.
While Zeeman is quietly confident that Dumoulin can put in a decent showing over three weeks the team director is unwilling to put too much pressure on the rider he helped bring to the team after working with him previously at Sunweb.
“It’s always better to leave expectations at home. In Holland, everyone expects great things from him but it’s his first grand tour again and to go for GC. There are some guys who have proved now that they are one level higher for the GC, like a guy like João Almeida. He’s one step ahead of Tom but I’m excited and curious to see what he can do. It’s also an unknown to us how he will do over three weeks. We did it with him once last year at the BinckBank Tour but then he had his wrist injury. He’s a special one, that’s clear of course. And that makes it all exciting to see.”
Oomen was part of the team that helped Dumoulin to second overall in 2018 and Foss finished inside the top ten at the Giro d’Italia last year. The pair are potential contenders for GC standings this time around but Dumoulin is the obvious standout — even if the start to his 2022 season was somewhat disappointing.
“It wasn’t a good start. Actually, it started well with the TT but then he got some back injuries and after that he got COVID. He wished for another start to the year but he’s not always a spring rider,” Zeeman said.
“We have the underdog role there but it means that we can gamble a bit and see how things are after the first rest day. If one of the three is really good we’ll pick them but they will all start as GC riders and then we’ll see how they perform.”