Team Sunweb has announced a strong support team for Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, as he aims for the general classification of the Giro d’Italia in May.
Dumoulin’s best Grand Tour result so far is sixth at the 2015 Vuelta a España, during which he held the race lead until losing it to eventual winner Fabio Aru on stage 20 – the race’s final mountain test.
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As well as winning him fans, his performance proved that Dumoulin had great potential as a Grand Tour rider. However, his GC plans were put on hold for 2016 as he focussed on the time trial in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where he finished second behind Fabian Cancellara. He started both the 2016 Giro and Tour de France, but finished neither despite winning stages in each.
This year’s Giro route appears to play to Dumoulin’s strengths, as it features two long time trials: a 39.8km test against the clock on stage 10 and a race-ending 29.3km TT to Milan.
The 26-year-old has made no secret that he has been working on his climbing this spring, but whether this will be to the detriment of his power against the clock remains to be seen.
Either way, Dumoulin will be very well supported in the mountains. Sunweb’s team includes strong climbers Wilco Kelderman and Laurens Ten Dam, as well as Simon Geschke, Chad Haga, Georg Preidler and Sindre Skjøstad Lunke.
Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek said: “After a good period of preparation and training, we are feeling super motivated for a great 100th anniversary edition of the race with the line-up that we have selected. We’ve just returned from the team’s high altitude camp in Tenerife and we’ve done video recons to prepare our riders and get familiar with the key sections of the course.”
“It will be a tough three weeks. For the difficult stages we have Simon, Georg, Sindre and Chad to support Tom, whereas Laurens and Wilco will be the last guys to go through deeper into the finale. Laurens brings a wealth of experience and Wilco has himself achieved a top 10 here in the past. Tom [Stamsnijder] is an engine that can help us out both on the hills and flat.
Dumoulin’s biggest rivals for the overall crown will be defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).
German Phil Bauhaus, 22, makes his Grand Tour debut in the race, where the team says he will have a free hand to contest the sprint stages.
“Phil makes his Grand Tour debut with us at the Giro and we will focus on the development of him getting a free role on the flat sprinter’s stages to go for a stage result. On these stages we will have a common goal to protect Tom and also bring Phil into the final in good shape,” said Visbeek.
The 2017 Giro d’Italia takes place over three weeks from May 5 to 28.
Team Sunweb for the 2017 Giro d’Italia
BAUHAUS Phil (GER)
DUMOULIN Tom (NED)
GESCHKE Simon (GER)
HAGA Chad (USA)
KELDERMAN Wilco (NED)
PREIDLER Georg (AUT)
SKØSTAD LUNKE Sindre (NOR)
STAMSNIJDER Tom (NED)
TEN DAM Laurens (NED)