Tom Dumoulin was a revelation at the 2015 Vuelta a Espana as he won two stages and held the race leader's red jersey until the penultimate day, eventually finishing sixth overall . It was the Giant-Alpecin rider's first attempt at riding for the general classification in a grand tour and power data files released after the Spanish race suggest Dumoulin has the ability to win a three week race according to his coach Adrian Helmantel.
Dumoulin was on hand for the unveiling of the 2016 Giro d'Italia in Milan on Monday that starts in his home country of the Netherlands and features 61km of time trialling suiting the characteristics of the 24-year-old. Asked by journalists, including Cyclingnews, of his initial reaction to the percoso, Dumoulin was quick to explain that he and his team would need to analyse the route much more carefully before deciding whether he would make his debut at the race.
"I see it now for the first time so it's difficult to have an opinion already but it looks like a good mix and a mix that favours also a time trialist so it's good," Dumoulin said of the percorso made "more special" by the Dutch grande partenza.
Asked then if the route is temping enough to ride next May, he added, "I don't know yet. We have to make a plan in the coming winter about it. It could definitely be an option."
The Giro will open with a 9.8km time trial in Apeldoorn but is the 40km stage nine time trial in the Chianti vineyards which is better suited to the chrono skills of the Dutchman. Dumoulin described the landscape of the Tuscan vineyards as some of his favourite riding conditions, adding the caveat that the rolling, twisty roads wouldn't be as advantageous as a flat test against the clock the Giro featured last year on stage 14.
"I don't know the course of Chianti but I only know what you told me," he said of whether the time trial would temp riders such as himself to the race. "Rolling is always good for me, twisty-turny, rolly …that's how I like it. Also completely flat like the Worlds time trial would maybe be better in terms of getting time on an opponent but how I like it the best is rolling, twisty.."
The third time trial of the Giro is the least suited to Dumoulin with riders facing a 10.8km mountain test against the clock that features gradients of 11%.
While the route may be suited to his characteristics, Dumoulin's primary objective next season is the Rio Olympic Games time trial which will be held on August 10. Riding the Giro would provide less complications than the Tour de France, which finishes on July 24, for his preparation but Dumoulin was adamant in stating 2016 is all about the quadrennial games and any GC aspirations need to be accommodated for that goal.
"I'm not sure yet [of his GC focus] but it has to be fitting into my programme for Rio," he said of grand tour ambitions for next season. "Rio is the main focus and you shouldn't have too many goals.
With the 2016 Tour de France route announced on October 20, Dumoulin has a few weeks before comparing the two three-week races and deciding on his grand tour racing schedule for next season.