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Dutch star Dumoulin to race 2016 Giro d’Italia

MILAN (VN) — After his unexpected Vuelta a España general classification ride last September, Dutchman and Giant-Alpecin rider Tom Dumoulin will take aim at the Giro d’Italia in May. The race starts in Dumoulin’s home country with a short time trial and includes a longer one of 40.4 kilometers on the ninth day.

Giant-Alpecin made the rumors official Thursday during its team presentation at the Italian embassy in Berlin. In Madrid, after three weeks of racing the Vuelta, Dumoulin placed sixth overall behind winner Fabio Aru of Astana. He won a summit finish ahead of Sky’s Chris Froome in stage 9, won the stage 17 time trial, and led the race until the day before it ended in Madrid.

Thursday in Berlin, Dumoulin named both the Giro and the Olympic time trial in Rio de Janeiro as his goals for the season. It is unclear if he intends to race the entire Giro or pull out before or during the climb-heavy third week. After the stage 9 time trial in Chianti, the race stops for a rest day and continues with summit finishes to Brixen-Andalo and Risoul and a mountain time trial to Alpe di Siusi.

“My first task will be to start the Giro d’Italia in top form,” he told journalists in Berlin, reports De Telegraaf. “I’ll see day by day whether or not I’m going for the classification.”

Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo, whose seven grand tour wins include the 2008 and 2015 editions of the Giro, told VeloNews when the Giro was presented in October that the race (May 6-29) would be perfect for Dumoulin.

“In the Vuelta he was very strong, incredible, even if his team wasn’t ready,” Contador explained. “This Giro would be very good for him, there are two very good time trials, the first and also the second one. If he’s at the same level as the last Vuelta, then he has a big option to win.”

Dumoulin started the Vuelta last August as a noted time trialist who finished second behind Bradley Wiggins in the 2014 Ponferrada world championships. However, slimming down and dropping out of the Tour de France early due to a crash helped him fight for the overall.

“This Vuelta has shown that I’m really good on the climbs,” Dumoulin said toward the end of the Vuelta. “My climbing is getting better and better. It definitely means that grand tours are something I can do.”

He said, however, that he did not want to sacrifice his time trialling for grand tour riding, especially with the Olympic time trial around the corner on August 10 with a flat and technical parcours that suits him. Dumoulin could race part of the Giro and part of the Tour or fight for the Giro’s famous pink jersey and re-build for the Olympics. The second option would please Giro race director Mauro Vegni, who attended Giant’s team presentation in Berlin.

“In the past year, I showed that I respond very well to training and altitude training,” Dumoulin said. “In the Vuelta a España, I started with only seven weeks of training in the legs. That worked out very well.”

“We have several scenarios towards Rio 2016. It now seems that it is not going to the Tour de France.”