Prudhomme calls on Dumoulin to take on Froome at the Tour de France

'The Tour of France is the biggest race in the world,' says race director

Tom Dumoulin was absent from the Tour de France presentation on Tuesday, but many in Paris felt he should set the Grand Boucle as his major goal for 2018, including race director Christian Prudhomme.

Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) is currently enjoying an end-of-season holiday in the US after winning the Giro d’Italia in May and then taking the world time trial title in Bergen, where he beat Chris Froome by more than a minute. He has so far pushed back on confirming he will target the Tour de France in 2018, insisting that the routes of the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia will be the decisive factor when he sits down with Team Sunweb management post-vacation to plan his 2018 season.

"If I go to the Tour I want to fight for victory, but there's a lot of guys and you have to beat them all to win. It's not a clash of the titans between me and Froome,” Dumoulin told Cyclingnews recently in a special podcast interview.

“I’d rather win the Giro than be on the podium of the Tour. So it pretty much depends on the routes.”

Prudhomme seems keen to have Dumoulin at the 2018 Tour de France. Like many, he sees him as a real rival to Froome and called on him to ride the Tour. The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf asked, “Will this be Tom's Tour?”, while L’Equipe newspaper specifically compared Froome’s and Dumoulin’s chances.

"Come to the Tour, Tom. You’ve got a great chance to compete against a rider with the same qualities as you: Chris Froome," Prudhomme said an interview with Dutch national television channel NOS.

"Another reason is that the Tour of France is the biggest race in the world. You also have a French name, you are a Dutchman. The first rider I saw win the Tour de France was Jan Janssen. Come to the Tour from July 7-29."

Waiting for Giro d'Italia route 

Dumoulin has yet to share his ideas on the route of the 2018 Tour de France, but the testing first week, the cobble stage to Roubaix and the final time trial could all tempt him. However, the steep climbs and lack of a flat time trial could also be a turn off and convince him to target a second Giro d’Italia victory and only focus on the overall classification at the Tour de France in 2019.

Dumoulin rode the 2016 Tour de France as preparation for the Rio Olympics, winning a road stage to Andorra and the time trial ahead of Froome, but quit the race after stage 18.   

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek was in Paris for the Tour de France presentation but warned that the team and Dumoulin would only decide their goal for 2018 after the presentation of the Giro d’Italia on November 29.

"We had hoped for more time-trial kilometres. It could be good for Dumoulin but is not perfect," Visbeek told NOS.

"The first week suits the all-rounders, and that is an advantage for Tom. He can position himself well and that is important in Brittany and on the cobbles. It is not yet certain whether the Tour will be on Tom’s programme. We’ll wait for the Giro presentation before deciding.” 

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