No Tour de France for Tom Dumoulin

While the Classics stars are navigating the cobbles of Northern Europe this weekend and next, Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin is firmly focused on altitude training ahead of a return to the Giro d'Italia.

The 26-year-old Dutchman won the opening stage of the 2016 Giro and spent several days as the race leader before abandoning the race due to a nagging saddle sore issue. He recovered quickly enough to claim two stage victories at the Tour de France two months later, but Dumoulin confirmed to that he would skip the Tour this season and direct his efforts entirely toward the Giro.

"The focus this year on the standings in the Giro," said Dumoulin, who noted he'd be "on holiday" during the Tour de France.

In the coming weeks, Dumoulin will aim to improve his climbing legs ahead of his impending contest with the likes of Movistar's Nairo Quintana and Bahrain-Merida's Vincenzo Nibali.

"Last year I did not go to altitude training, but now that I'm really going for the championship I train differently so that my season is better than ever," he said.

Another challenge will be finding the right balance of time trialing and climbing legs ahead of his Grand Tour bid.

The silver medalist in the Rio Olympics time trial, Dumoulin has aways been strong against the clock, but he found himself wanting in the stage 7 time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this month after delivering strong performances in the mountains. Rather than climbing up the general classification standings on the final day of the race in a discipline he has bossed in the past, he finished a disappointing 13th on the stage and dropped a spot on GC, closing out the race in sixth overall.

"I was too careless," he said. "I have to keep working on my time trial."

Dumoulin will make his next race appearance at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in his build-up to the Giro, and then he'll race the Tour de Suisse before his July holiday.

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