Why isn't Tom Dumoulin racing the Vuelta a España? Team Sunweb prioritise long-term Tour success

2018 race programme will depend on Grand Tour routes, says team general manager

Tom Dumoulin at the 2017 Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Team Sunweb are considering Tom Dumoulin's long-term development, and winning a future Tour de France, instead of racing him in the Vuelta a España.

Dumoulin became the first Dutchman to win the Giro d'Italia in May when he overhauled Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in the final day's time trial in Milan.

"Everything we try to do is with the next race in mind and the next year in mind," general manager Iwan Spekenbrink told Cycling Weekly.

"We try to think what need today, in three years and in five years. So for Tom, what he does now needs to be keeping in mind the next year and next three years."

>>> Vuelta a España 2017 start list

Instead of the Vuelta, Dumoulin is currently racing smaller stage races and one-day races, winning the recent BinckBank Tour before heading the the GP Québec and the GP Montreal.

"We believe that after the season that he has had that it would be better balanced if he does the programme like it is now and not doing Eneco [BinckBank], the Vuelta and the Worlds, which would be too much, where he could go on or over his limit. All the work that we are doing towards next season would be [jeopardised]," said Spekenbrink.

"If we stretch it a little bit longer but a little less intensity, it contributes to his 2018 season and future development. The goals are still high, the Eneco Tour was nice, the Worlds and the Classics are nice."

Watch: Vuelta a España 2017 essential guide

The 26-year-old Dutchman nearly won the 2015 Vuelta a España. In 2016, he dedicated himself to Grand Tour stage wins, taking one in the Giro and two in the Tour. In 2017, he and the team aimed for the Giro and succeeded.

His next logical step would be to challenge Chris Froome (Team Sky) for the Tour de France general classification. That could happen in 2018, but much will depend on the race routes announced later this year.

>>> Vuelta a España route 2017: key climbs and what to expect

"For sure, he will race [the Tour] one day. The objective is to race the Grand Tours for GC, but it's unsure if he will race the Tour next year," Spekenbrink continued.

"He could race a combination of the Giro and Vuelta, or he could do the Tour de France. We want to see what's on offer and where our opportunities are.

"And yes, we will race the Tour de France but we should not forget that the Giro is a fantastic race and we had an enormous boost from his win. We need to see what the races offer and make the best plan heading into the season."

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