Tom Dumoulin can count on the support of a young and talented Team Sunweb squad for the Giro d'Italia but will only have Sam Oomen to help him in the decisive high mountains of the Italian Grand Tour.
Team Sunweb have selected Jan Bakelants, the USA's Chad Haga, Australia's Chris Hamilton, Jai Hindley and Robert Power, Sam Oomen and Louis Vervaeke for the first Grand Tour of the season that begins in Bologna on Saturday, May 11.
Wilco Kelderman was expected to provide important support in the mountains but he crashed out of the Volta a Catalunya in late March, fracturing his left collarbone and a neck vertebrae. The 23-year-old Oomen was scheduled to ride the Tour de France this season after impressing and finishing ninth on his Grand Tour debut at last year's Giro d'Italia. After Kelderman's crash, Dumoulin pushed to have Oomen with him in Italy and so he pulled out of the Itzulia Basque Country to change his plans for May and prepare for the Giro d'Italia.
Dumoulin will again try to target both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France this year. Last year he finished he finished second behind Chris Froome in Italy and then was second behind Geraint Thomas at the Tour de France. Dumoulin won the 2017 Giro d'Italia, ahead of Nairo Quintana and Nibali.
The route of the 2019 Giro d'Italia includes three time trials, convincing him to ride yet again but he faces serious opposition from Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Egan Bernal (Team Ineos).
Dumoulin was happy with his early-season form but struggled in the cold and rain at Liège-Bastogne-Liège after recently returning from an altitude training camp, finishing 50th.
"This year we look to replicate our successes of the previous years, heading to Italy with the same ambitions and focus for the overall classification," Team Sunweb's Giro d'Italia coach Marc Reef said when the eight-rider team was announced.
"Everybody has an important and specific role in our plan and we have selected what we believe is the strongest configuration of riders to support our primary season goal; to ultimately get Tom into the best possible position to achieve a solid GC result for the team.
"We bring Chad and Louis to guide Tom through the stage’s early difficulties and our young Australian guns for the tougher days. We'll benefit from Jan's experience and quality in the hectic and explosive finals and we have Sam, who we expect to grow into the race to bring support on the key stages that come in week two and three.
"The guys have had a good few blocks at altitude and some more racing in their legs. Now we’re all really looking forward to heading to Bologna to kick off our Grand Tour season on what we hope will be a great note."
Team Sunweb for the Giro d’Italia: Tom Dumoulin, Jan Bakelants, Chad Haga, Chris Hamilton, Jai Hindley, Robert Power, Sam Oomen and Louis Vervaeke.
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