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Dumoulin considering Giro-Tour double in 2018

The Dutchman said he will make a final decision after the Italian grand tour in May.

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) will consider racing for the overall titles at both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France this season.

The Dutchman and winner of the 2017 Giro is to contemplate a run at the Tour this July after attempting to earn another Giro victory in May.

Dumoulin, 27, and the 2018 men’s and women’s German Sunweb teams were presented last Thursday in Berlin.

“And yes, that is indeed an option for me next summer,” Dumoulin told De Telegraaf. “I think it is not impossible to combine those two grand tours.

“Certainly so because there is a week extra this year because of the World Cup, which offers more possibilities for recovery.”

To avoid overlapping too much with the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Tour organizer ASO moved its race back one week. It will run from July 7-29. The Giro is slated for May 4-27.

Team Sky’s Chris Froome will take aim at both the Giro and Tour after winning the last two grand tours in 2017, the Tour and the Vuelta a España.

Froome’s future, however, hinges on a salbutamol anti-doping case from the Vuelta. The outcome could see him cleared, or he could be stripped of his Vuelta title and suspended.

Dumoulin took note of Froome’s former Sky helper Mikel Landa for inspiration. In 2017, Landa raced the Giro for the overall. Despite crashing and losing time, he won the mountains classification and the Piancavallo summit stage.

Sky called the Basque rider to race the Giro to support Froome. At times he appeared the strongest and after three weeks he finished fourth, one second away from third overall. This season, he is racing for team Movistar and is focusing on the Tour.

“I indeed noticed [Landa’s] approach,” Dumoulin continued. “In my eyes, a lot of riders have made the mistake in the past by focusing on both the Giro and the Tour from the start of the season. As a result, they were probably already in the Giro with the classification in the Tour in mind. It is a mindset that does not work. I think you should focus completely on the Giro and only then have to look further.”

Dumoulin won the Giro d’Italia ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) in 2017. He blasted his opponents in the two time trials and rode equally strong in the mountains.

Dumoulin’s Giro decision stemmed from the greater amount of time trial kilometers in the Giro vs. the Tour, 44.2 versus 31. In late November, Dumoulin said he would only race one or the other grand tour.

Insiders considered the Maastricht native ready for a crack at the Tour’s overall. He nearly won the 2015 Vuelta, returned in 2016 to focus on stages in the Giro and Tour (taking three in total), and in his first concentrated attempt to win the pink jersey last year, he was victorious.

“In my eyes, I don’t understand the Giro decision. I think he’s ready for the Tour de France,” Dutch journalist Raymond Kerckhoffs told Velonews. “When you go for the general in the Tour, that’s a process, you need time and experience at doing so.”

Dumoulin, after considering Landa’s approach, could be compromising in 2018. It is music to the ears for those who consider him the man capable of dethroning Froome at the Tour.

“Then [after the Giro] there are four possibilities: the Tour for the standings, the Tour for stages, the Vuelta as a helper for Wilco Kelderman, or no other grand tour,” Dumoulin said. “Only after the Giro we will cross that bridge.”