Dumoulin keeps his 2018 Grand Tour goals under wraps

Tom Dumoulin posed with the curling Infinito Giro d'Italia winner's trophy along with Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru and Alberto Contador after the presentation of the 2018 race route in Milan on Wednesday but he refused to reveal his Grand Tour goals for next season or confirm that he will be back at the Corsa Rosa next May to defend his 2017 victory.

"I know it already but I'm not going to tell you," he said teasingly before explaining why.

"We have the team presentation on the fifth of January and we will announce our programmes then. We've pretty much made the decision but it also gives us the opportunity to have another month of puzzling and overlooking. We have now seen the whole Giro parcours. We'll have a review and then announce it in January."

Dumoulin admitted the course of the 101st edition of the Giro was tempting because of the 44.2 kilometres of time trials. However, just as with the Tour de France route, Dumoulin wanted more.

"Any course in Italy is tempting for me; I love the country, so it's really hard to say no to the Giro," Dumoulin said, carefully picking his words out of respect for the race, but also careful to avoid revealing his eventual decision.

"The course is nice, it's a good mix of everything but it's not perfect for me. I would have liked more time trial kilometres but I can understand the race organiser, they want to have an exciting race where anybody can win.

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"They created that kind of course and so did the Tour. I can't really say that the Tour and Giro are perfect for me. The Giro is not perfect for me because it's lacking time trial kilometres, it's the same for the Tour. It's hard to say which suits me the best."

The best chance of winning

It would be logical for Dumoulin and Team Sunweb to step up in 2018 and target the Tour de France after his impressive victory at the Giro d'Italia ahead of Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali.

However, Dumoulin said he decides his season goals on pure logic.

"I go wherever I think I have the best chance of winning," he said, insisting Froome's decision to target the Giro d'Italia and then the Tour de France will push him to focus solely on the Tour in the hope the Briton is tired and legless come July.

"I don't necessarily feel that with Froome doing the Giro, that my chance in the Tour is higher. It's not necessarily the right moment for me to go onto the Tour after winning the Giro," he explained.

"I loved the Giro last year and I'm going to love if I do it again next year. I'm not going to say now that the Tour is the one for me next year.

"Froome showed he was in even better form in the Vuelta than in the Tour, so you never know with him. But I don't look to other riders for making a decision about any kind of race."

Dumoulin, like Nibali, Aru, and most people in the television studio that hosted the Giro d'Italia route presentation, seemed somewhat shocked when Froome confirmed he would target the Giro-Tour double next summer and so try to extend his run of Grand Tour victories into 2018.

"He could possibly win four Grand Tours in a row but we'll see if he'll be able to do it," Dumoulin said.

"It's challenging but he had some big challenges in the past and he showed that he's the best GC rider at the moment. If anyone can do it, I think it's Froome. Good luck to him."

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