Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) will return to the Giro d’Italia in 2019, one year after the 2017 victor placed second to Chris Froome (Sky).
Dumoulin became the first Dutchman to win in 2017 by overhauling Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) in the time trials.
“After weeks of talking about it, we finally decided the main focus will be the Giro d’Italia in 2019,” Dumoulin said in a video message.
“We had the Tour de France for a long time in our head but the Giro d’Italia is such a nice course the coming year. I really love Italy, I love the course, and I love the race. So that’s going to be my main focus.”
He returned to Italy’s Grand Tour in 2018. A consistent ride starting in Jersaleum and going through Italy’s boot saw him to place second to Froome. He returned in the Tour de France for another amazing ride, placing second there too behind Geraint Thomas (Sky).
28-year-old Dumoulin is considering the same programme in 2019 saying after the Giro d’Italia he will “likely” race for the Tour again.
“Afterwards, it’s very likely that I’ll also do the Tour de France for GC, like last year, but it’s still undecided. We’ll see after the Giro d’Italia what we’ll do, but the normally I’ll also go to the Tour de France,” he added.
“The main focus will be the Giro d’Italia. So ‘ciao’ and see you in May.”
The 102nd Giro runs from May 11 to June 2 next year. The big selling point for Dumoulin, the 2017 time trial world champion, would have been the large number time trial kilometres.
The race opens in Bologna and ends in Verona with time trials and includes one of 34.7 kilometres to San Marino mid-race. The overall 58.5km count easily outnumbers the Tour’s, which only includes one 27km time trial and a team time trial of 27km.
“We have come to the conclusion that this Giro is better for Tom than the Tour,” said sports director Marc Reef of Team Sunweb’s decision.
“Because of the time trials, but also the last years have shown that. In the Giro, Tom is more likely to win the final overall.”
Dumoulin joins Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), who also put the Giro and Tour on his 2019 programme.
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) also announced that he will target the Giro again. He led for 13 days in 2018 before cracking but returned to win the Vuelta a España.
Sky will likely send both Froome and Thomas to the Tour and bank on young Colombian Egan Bernal and Italian Gianni Moscon in the Giro.