Team Sunweb has confirmed that Tom Dumoulin will target overall success at the Tour de France next month after naming him in their long-list for the French Grand Tour. Michael Matthews and Wilco Kelderman have also been named in the 12-rider list with just eight riders set to make the cut for July.
Dumoulin finished second at the recent Giro d’Italia after winning the overall classification at the Italian race in 2017. The Dutchman had held off on making a decision about his participation at the Tour de France until after he completed the Giro, but hinted over the weekend that he would be racing in France this July. It is the first time that Dumoulin will target the general classification in two consecutive Grand Tours.
“I am very proud of what we’ve already achieved at the Giro and I consider any result that we can take at the Tour de France a bonus for this season," Dumoulin said when the long-list was revealed.
"My season so far has been focused on the Giro and the team purposely waited to the make the decision about the Tour until after the Giro had finished. After a good Giro we’ve chosen to go to the Tour with a GC focus, to learn without a specific result in mind. Doing two consecutive Grand Tours for a GC will be a new experience for me and the team, and will give us some valuable insights for the future.”
Kelderman, who is set to make his return to racing at the Tour de Suisse after fracturing his collarbone at Tirreno-Adriatico, has also been named on the long-list for the Tour de France. The 27-year-old finished fourth at last year’s Vuelta a Espana and is Team Sunweb’s second option for the general classification at the Tour de France.
A number of other riders from the team’s Giro d’Italia squad have also been put on the long list, including Chad Haga, Roy Curvers and Laurens ten Dam, who recently pulled out of the Criterium du Dauphine. Søren Kragh Andersen, Nikias Arndt, Phil Bauhaus, Simon Geschke, Mike Teunissen and Edward Theuns complete the 12-rider list.
Dumoulin is currently enjoying a break from racing and training but will head to La Plagne in France next week for an altitude training camp and key Tour de France mountain reconnaissance. He is only expected to ride the Dutch national championships before heading to the Vendee for the start of the Tour de France on Saturday July 7.
Matthews targets uphill sprints and back Dumoulin's GC bid
While Dumoulin will target the general classification, Matthews will be looking to add to his haul of three stage wins from the past two editions. The Australian took two victories in last year’s race along with the green jersey, though that was helped by the disqualification of Peter Sagan in the opening week.
Matthews has recently been training at altitude and will be on the start line at the Tour de Suisse this weekend. While he will be hoping for stage victories of his own, Matthews will also be at the Tour de France to support Dumoulin.
“Last year we had a perfect Tour de France with four stage wins and two jerseys. Taking the green jersey to Paris was a dream come true for me,” said Matthews.
“This year my primary focus will be to support the team’s GC objective and in the uphill sprint stages I will be the team’s designated rider for the finale. We had a very good training block in Livigno and we’ll head to the Tour de Suisse on Thursday to put in the last bit of intensity before July.”
Team Sunweb long list for the Tour de France: Tom Dumoulin, Michael Matthews, Wilco Kelderman, Søren Kragh Andersen, Nikias Arndt, Phil Bauhaus, Simon Geschke, Mike Teunissen, Edward Theuns, Roy Curvers, Laurens ten Dam and Chad Haga.
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