Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) will be able to aim for the opening time trial and pink jersey – as Bradley Wiggins did in 2010 – ride for the overall, and still have time to back off and prepare for the Olympic time trial on August 10.
The time trialist-cum-classification rider is due to announce his plan today during Giant-Alpecin’s team presentation at the Italian embassy in Berlin. At the Vuelta last August/September, he took a stage victory ahead of Chris Froome (Sky) in an uphill finish and won the time time trial to take the overall lead. He only lost it, and slipped to sixth overall behind Fabio Aru (Astana), on the final mountain day.
The Giro, May 6 to 29, would enable him to test his classification legs again and allow him to pick up some stage wins. Making it even more ideal, the race starts with a 9.8-kilometre time trial at home in the Netherlands. Wiggins, of course, won the Giro’s first stage in Amsterdam in 2010 and went on to win the 2012 Tour de France and Olympic time trial in London.
The Chianti time trial over 40.4 kilometres on the ninth day would also suit Dumoulin, who won the 38.7-kilometre TT in Burgos at the Vuelta. Late last year, the reported plan was that Dumoulin would quit the Giro on the next day, the first rest day. If he does stay in the Bel Paese for the second and third week, he would be pleased.
Not only is there a mountain time trial to Alpe di Siusi, but Vuelta-like stages for Dumoulin. Several of the big mountain days – Corvara, Brixen-Andalo, Pinerolo, Sant’Anna di Vinadio – conclude with a high-altitude climb before a descent and short uphill finish.
It appears tailor-made for the 25-year-old, but then they said that about Wiggins and the 2013 Giro with its long time trial. Wiggins eventually abandoned what would be his last grand tour with a chest infection and knee pains in the cold third week.
Racing the Giro would allow Dumoulin to skip the Tour and the related media pressure. The other option is that he leaves the Giro early and races part of the Tour. Either way, the Rio time trial is the top target in 2016.
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“Rio is my main focus,” Dumoulin told Cycling Weekly in October. “It’s difficult to say how the approach in the rest of the season will be, but it’ll definitely be that I need to be 100 per cent in Rio and possibly being 100 per cent in the other parts of the year. And maybe it’s possible to be 100 per cent in a grand tour and 100 per cent in Rio.”
The Giro is also expected to include Sky’s Mikel Landa, 2013 winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo).