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Dumoulin: I'll race my heart out at the Giro d'Italia

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Tom Dumoulin in the pre-race press conference

Tom Dumoulin in the pre-race press conference
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Dumoulin takes questions ahead of the Giro

Tom Dumoulin takes questions ahead of the Giro
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Dumoulin in Bologna

Tom Dumoulin in Bologna
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Dumoulin and Vincenzo Nibali embrace ahead of the Giro

Tom Dumoulin and Vincenzo Nibali embrace ahead of the Giro
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Dumoulin and Vincenzo Nibali ahead of the Giro

Tom Dumoulin and Vincenzo Nibali ahead of the Giro
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Dumoulin in Bologna

Tom Dumoulin in Bologna
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) is never one to beat about the bush, and the Dutch star made it very clear at Thursday's pre-race press conference at the Giro d'Italia that there is only one result that counts for him in Verona on June 2.

When asked if he thought a Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double was still possible, Dumoulin stated categorically: "I don't know… I'm here to win the Giro." Beyond that, it seems, there is little more to add on the subject.

Dumoulin showed no sign of doubt, either, when asked if he was worried that another top favourite, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), had won no fewer than three major races already this season.

"Any race you win is beautiful and is good for confidence… I was not able to win so far, so, good for him," Dumoulin said.

It's worth recalling at this point that Dumoulin came into the Giro d'Italia without a win in 2018 and in 2017, when he finished second and first overall respectively. However, perhaps the most notable difference is Liège-Bastogne-Liège, in which he finished 15th in 2018 and 22nd in 2017, but this time was much further down in 50th.

"I have a feeling I'm in good condition," Dumoulin insisted. "Last weekend I was feeling good, Liège was a downer, but that was hopefully due to the weather or something. Everything else is feeling fine, I'm feeling good for the Giro."

Dumoulin's spring was also notably more trouble-free than in 2018 but, as he insisted to Cyclingnews just before Liège, "There really is a whole bunch of favourites. I could name five riders that could win it – who definitely have a big chance of winning it. I'm one of them, I hope. But it's not like I'm going there as the big guy – it's not going to be like that."

Fast forward 12 days and Dumoulin was seemingly more affected by the last-minute elimination of Dutch soccer team Ajax in the Champions League the previous night than he was by the lack of wins so far this season, with the Dutchman saying: "I don't want to answer any questions. I was watching it and I couldn't sleep afterwards, it was terrible."

So what is he hoping to do in the Giro d'Italia? "I'm just here to race my heart out, and that's what I'll do on the coming Saturday in Bologna," he said. "I will go from there. It's not in my mind to think about what I do if I win [the opening time trial]."

The Tour is at the back of his mind, but only to the point that he has limited his racing in the spring to a comparatively scant 16 days, although that's actually four more than in 2018 when he abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico mid-race.

"We opted for a very limited first part of the year," Dumoulin pointed out, "because I'm probably going to do the Tour."

No surprises there, then, nor when he was asked which stages he was happiest about in the Giro this year. "The time trials," he said, which draw a brief laugh from journalists.

But his rivals may have been a little more worried when he was asked, given his victory in last year's opening time trial in Jerusalem, what he thought of Sunday's opening TT course.

"I like it," Dumoulin said pointedly, and, after his win on a longer, less steep summit finish in the World Championships two years ago, his intentions seem clear indeed.