Tom Dumoulin to target Tour de France in 2019

Dutchman looking to return to Amstel Gold Race next season

Tom Dumoulin has said that he would like to focus on the Tour de France next season. He told Dutch broadcaster NOS that he and his Sunweb team have pencilled in the Tour for 2019, but they are reserving a final decision until the routes of both races have been revealed later this year.

"I would like to go to the Tour and the team would like me to go to the Tour, so basically we are on the same line,” Dumoulin told NOS, but added that the idea is not yet set in stone. "I don't want to slam the door yet, I always find it dangerous to say, when the course is not even known, that I will go to this Grand Tour or that Grand Tour next year. Maybe there will be a route where I think: I really do not have a chance to ride for the podium."

Dumoulin rode both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France this season, targeting the general classification in both for the first time in his career. The Dutchman won the Giro's opening day time trial before finishing second overall to Chris Froome by 46 seconds. He beat Froome at the Tour two months later but still finished second, with Froome’s teammate Geraint Thomas taking the yellow jersey in Paris. Dumoulin continued his consistent season recently with silver medals in the team and individual time trials at the World Championships and fourth in the road race.

The heavy racing schedule took its toll on Dumoulin and he admitted after the individual time trial that it could have played a factor in his performance. He told NOS that the 2018 season had taught him a lot and that two three-week races in a season would likely not be a regular feature in his calendar.

"We chose this year to do those two Grand Tours and I didn’t win them, so be it,” said Dumoulin. "But it has also made me wiser. It's not something that I will do every year in my career, because it is a huge attack on your body, I have noticed that. It takes a lot out of you. I'm only 27. If I go now every year until I’m 35, then I think I will not get better at a given moment."

In addition to focusing on the Tour de France, Dumoulin indicated that he could return to his home event, the Amstel Gold Race. Dumoulin has ridden Liege-Bastogne-Liege in recent seasons but has not started the Amstel Gold Race, which starts in his hometown of Maastricht, since 2016.

"If I go to the Tour with a focus, I can peak in the month of April and then the Amstel is back in," Dumoulin said.

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