Team Sunweb has confirmed the eight riders that will help support Tom Dumoulin in his general classification bid at next month's Giro d'Italia. Dumoulin will be backed by a strong contingent of climbers, which includes Wilco Kelderman and Laurens ten Dam, both of whom have top-10 Grand Tour finishes to their names.
Chad Haga and Georg Preidler will once again be in the team's Giro d'Italia line-up, while Simon Geschke returns after missing last year's edition. Norway's Sindre Skjostad Lunke is set to make his Giro debut after a solid start to this season. The German Phil Bauhaus, who is also making his debut, is the only fast-man in the line-up and is likely to be put to use on the flatter terrain, but will have a free role on the sprint stages. Like Bauhaus, Tom Stamsnijder will also be an important part of keeping things together in the earlier part of stages.
"After a good period of preparation and training, we are feeling super motivated for a great 100th anniversary edition of the race with the line-up that we have selected," said directeur sportif Aike Visbeek. "We've just returned from the team's high altitude camp in Tenerife and we've done video recons to prepare our riders and get familiar with the key sections of the course."
Dumoulin rode the Giro d'Italia for the first time last season. He won the opening time trial in Apeldoorn, earning him the pink jersey, but, with the Olympic Games his major focus in 2016, he refused to be taken into a general classification battle. His main target would be the time trials, but saddle sores would prevent him from taking another win and he would eventually be forced to abandon the race.
With the Olympics behind him, Dumoulin is returning to take aim at the Giro d'Italia, opting to skip the Tour de France altogether this season. The two long time trials will be an opportunity for him to put time into many of the major contenders, although he admitted in a recent interview with Cyclingnews that his time trialling has taken a small hit with the climbing work that he has been doing recently.
Dumoulin has had a good season so far, with third overall at the Abu Dhabi Tour and sixth at Tirreno-Adriatico, just over a minute behind the winner Nairo Quintana, who he will also be going up against at the Giro.
Team Sunweb for the Giro d'Italia: Wilco Kelderman, Sindre Skjostad Lunke, Tom Dumoulin, Chad Haga, Phil Bauhaus, Tom Stamsnijder, Simon Geschke, Georg Preidler, and Laurens ten Dam.
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