We spoke with the Team Sunweb rider to get his thoughts on the matter

Sunweb rider Tom Dumoulin has admitted his training to convert himself to a general classification rider may have hurt his ability to perform at his best in time trials.

Dumoulin is targeting the general classification of the Giro d’Italia this year following a promising performance at both the Giro and Tour last year before he withdrew from both races with illness or injury.

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Speaking to Cycling Weekly ahead of his first race of the season at the Abu Dhabi Tour, the Dutchman said:

“I’ve been working towards those tiring [very hilly] stages of Grand Tours. Normally [in the winter] we do slower rides and some efforts in the beginning, some fresh efforts, but now I’ve been doing hard rides and efforts at the end.

“That’s not how a TT works, the demands are different and demand a different approach and a different kind of training.

“My focus in the early part of the year will be on GC rides more on exhausting uphill finishes and then in the second part I will focus again on being as fresh as possible and one all-out effort in the TT.”

When asked if the change to his training regime might blunt his usual time trialing performance he said:

“It could do. I’m expecting that. It won’t be a surprise if that happens but I hope it doesn’t happen.

“Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have both shown that they can be in top shape for a Grand Tour and also be good in a time trial.”

Dumoulin won time trials at both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France last year.

But he withdrew from the Giro with saddle sores, and the Tour after crash broke his arm.

Tom Dumoulin on stage five of the 2016 Giro d’Italia (Watson)

Favourable Giro parcours

This year’s Giro contains 67km of time trialling, which would seem to tip the tables slightly in favour of Dumoulin.

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The 26-year-old added that he changed his preparation for the season this year, spending two weeks at a training camp in South Africa.

“I’m feeling good,” he said ahead of the Abu Dhabi Tour.

“I’ve had two weeks training in South Africa in the same place as Chris Froome and Orica have been there for the past few years already.

“Bling [new signing Michael Matthews] used to go there with Orica so he bought it up. And before that I was already feeling great.”