Report: Defending Giro champ Dumoulin will return in 2018

The 2017 Giro d'Italia champion will reportedly return to the Italian grand tour next May and try to win another pink jersey.

Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) will race the Giro d’Italia next year and try to defend his 2017 title, according to media reports in Italy and the Netherlands following Dumoulin’s acceptance of the Sportsman of the Year award.

The official announcement isn’t expected until Sunweb’s 2018 team presentation next month, but De Telegraaf cited sources that said team officials and Dumoulin himself have confirmed to race officials he will be at the planned start in Jerusalem on May 4.

[related title=”More Giro news” align=”left” tag=”Giro-d’Italia”]

Dumoulin’s decision to race the Giro is somewhat of a surprise, since many expected him to target the Tour de France following his breakout victory in the 2017 edition of the Italian grand tour.

Dumoulin’s apparent confirmation will come as a salve for Giro officials, who finally convinced Chris Froome to race the Italian grand tour — only to see the Sky rider test positive for elevated levels of Salbutamol.

Despite a threat of a possible ban, Froome vowed to keep racing as he fights to clear his name of the adverse analytical finding en route to winning the 2017 Vuelta a España.

Dumoulin’s presence will bolster the season’s first grand tour, as many top stars have committed to racing the Tour de France. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), who finished second and third behind Dumoulin in the 2017 Giro, are both targeting the 2018 Tour.

Other top names confirmed to race the Giro include Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Esteban Chavez and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing), and Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data).