The Dutchman is defending his 2017 Giro title while Froome, Team Sky‘s star, is trying to add a Giro trophy to his four from the Tour de France and his other one from the 2017 Vuelta a España. However, he tested over the limit for asthma drug salbutamol at the Vuelta a España and the case is ongoing.
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“Good one to start with,” Dumoulin said when the press conference started off with a question about Froome’s presence.
“It’s his decision to be here. Like I said, my team is part of the MPCC [Movement for Credible Cycling], if I would be in same situation, I would not be here. That is his decision and it’s not up to me to have an opinion about it.”
Sunweb and some other teams, not Sky, are part of the MPCC that has stricter rules that prevents their riders from racing in certain situations.
Froome has continued to race since the test on September 7. The UCI anti-doping tribunal is due to hear the case sometime this year, perhaps this summer.
“That’s not good for cycling. Everybody would like it’s not like this, including Chris Froome, to be starting the Giro with doubts or uncertainty,” Dumoulin added.
“Maybe he is winning this Giro and a few weeks later, say he loses the title [in the ruling]? That’s not nice for him. It’s not good for anyone. The situation is like this and I cannot change it.”
Dumoulin’s spring season has been riddled with mechanicals and crashes. His 2017 lead-up to the Giro d’Italia, when he conquered the tough Italian three-week race and rivals Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali, included better results.
“It’s always important to believe in yourself,” Dumoulin said. “Last year I had nothing to lose. In the spring races, I felt like I had something to lose this time, that was not a good mindset. It didn’t make me very confident.
“Now I am much more relaxed and confident. I am confident in a different way, because I know I can handle it if I am in good shape.”
“It did not work out in the spring. Now, I am more relaxed, it gives me more confidence. Pretty much overnight it changed for me… I crashed hard in Tirreno-Adriatico and went home. In the end, you blame bike, mechanics – if you do four bad races in a row, it cannot be about other people. You also have to ask yourself, what we are doing wrong?
“I know what is coming to me this time, that is good, or maybe bad. This year, I know a lot more, and I have more experience. I know how to deal with some situations on how I went through some difficult situations that I handled well in 2017. That gives me confidence.”