Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) has confirmed that he will target the general classification at the Tour de France. The Dutchman was initially coy about his July objectives after placing second overall at last month’s Giro d’Italia, but he told De Telegraaf that he has recovered well from his efforts in Italy.
“After the Giro d'Italia, I consciously took more rest than I would normally do,” Dumoulin told De Telegraaf. “For the first nine days, I hardly even touched the bike. I have never been so fresh two weeks after a Grand Tour.”
Throughout the early part of the season, Dumoulin stressed that a decision on his Tour participation would only be taken after the Giro, but his reconnaissance of the cobbled stage of the Grande Boucle in April was a firm indication of his plans.
"I had in mind since the winter that I really wanted to ride the double,” Dumoulin said. “But you never know what will happen in the Giro. For that reason, I always thought that I would really make the decision after that race.”
By the time he finished the Giro in second place behind Chris Froome, Dumoulin was already certain of his participation in the Tour. On the night the Giro concluded in Rome, he informed the Sunweb team of his intention to line out in France, with the news made public the following week.
“The Giro actually went very well from start to finish and I did not see anything crazy in those weeks,” Dumoulin said. “The choice to ride the Tour was actually quite simple for me.”
At the Tour, Dumoulin will lead a strong Sunweb team that also includes Wilco Kelderman, who placed fourth at last year’s Vuelta a España, and Michael Matthews, who won the green jersey at last year’s Tour.
With Chris Froome’s salbutamol case unlikely to be resolved before July 7, Dumoulin’s opponents look set to include the man who beat him to the Giro. It will be Dumoulin’s first Tour appearance since he won two stages in 2016, and his first time to target the general classification in the race.
No Dutch rider has won the Tour since Joop Zoetemelk in 1980, and no Dutch rider has so much as worn the yellow jersey since Erik Breukink in 1989. 2018, meanwhile, marks the 50th anniversary of Jan Janssen becoming the first Dutch Tour champion.
“If things go badly in the Tour, it's nice that I know that I have shown myself well in the Giro. I am very happy and proud of my performance in that race,” Dumoulin said. “That feeling, nobody can take from me. Whatever happens in the Tour, I will stay happy with that.”
Not that Dumoulin is viewing the Tour simply as a bonus. He was speaking with De Telegraaf during a pre-Tour training camp in the high Alps.
“I'll be full-on for the overall at the Tour,” Dumoulin said. “I know it's going to be a physical and mental fight. It will once again become a tough fight. I’m not going to be riding there [satisfied] with the idea that I have already done a good Tour. I am going to do everything to finish high up at the Tour too."