Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) has yet to taste victory in 2019 but the former Giro d'Italia winner believes that he has the best condition he's ever had at this point in the year. The Dutchman was sixth overall at the UAE Tour in February and followed that with fourth in Tirreno Adriatico and 11th in Milan-San Remo.
"The form's not too great, but it's not too good and not too bad either. I think I'm where I need to be at this point in the season, and if I'm honest this is probably the best that I've ever been, with fourth in Tirreno, so I can't complain," he told Cyclingnews on the start line of Milan-San Remo.
By the end of the race, Dumoulin could be content with another consistent performance but he admitted that he lacked the kick and needed speed to match the very best on the Poggio. The Dutchman was on Julian Alaphilippe's wheel when the eventual winner accelerated on the climb but was unable to follow. Dumoulin made a rapid descent and would also bring himself back into contention before the sprint to the line.
"I tried to follow Alaphilippe when he went. I knew that he was going and I was perfectly placed on his wheel but I was just as perfectly dropped. I just don't have that overdrive, that kick, anymore. I've had too many altitude camps and stuff like that. That real kick is somewhat difficult," he told Cyclingnews outside the team bus.
"I came back to the group but it was just all the way on the limit. I had nothing left, I couldn't sprint, and I couldn't do anything. I love the race but it's not entirely for me."
With San Remo over Dumoulin closes one chapter of his season before the next begins at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. His main aim, as in 2017 and 2018, is the Giro d'Italia. Although he has not won this year the 28-year-old is relaxed and well aware that his major objectives lie further down the road.
"I go home for two weeks and then it's altitude and Liege. I'll have a bit of rest and then it's the final bit of preparation ahead of the Giro. I've had a start to the season without any problems, and it's just been solid base work. It's not paying off with great results at the moment but it's fine for now."
"It's going to be a golden line-up at the Giro but it's the same as the Tour, and it's just up to me to try and be the best."