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Tour de France

I’ll give the Tour de France my best shot next year, says Sunweb cycling star Tom Dumoulin

The 27-year-old Dutchman, who was runner-up in three major races in 2018, wants to put all his energy into winning the world’s most prestigious race next year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2018, 9:03pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2018, 10:56pm

Top Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin says he will focus all his energy on winning his first Tour de France title next year after being forced to settle for second behind Welshman Geraint Thomas in a year that saw him become the bridesmaid in three major races.

Dumoulin, who is in town with his team, Sunweb, for Sunday’s finale of the Hammer Series, said the Tour would be his main target for 2019 and that it will have priority over the other grand tours – the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España – so that he can concentrate on the world’s most prestigious three-week race.

The 27-year-old Dutchman said it was his dream to win the Tour and having come close this year (he finished one minute, 51 seconds behind Thomas) he was going to have another go in 2019, hopefully this time on top of the final general classification list.

“My focus will probably be on the Tour de France next year, just the Tour de France” said Dumoulin during the opening ceremony for the Series at the Hong Kong Velodrome in Tseung Kwan O on Saturday. “We are still figuring out [what the plan is]. The parcour [race route] has not been revealed yet so I cannot say I’m 100 per cent committed but it’s my wish and the wish of my team to compete in the Tour.”

Dumoulin, who turns 28 next month, came short in three major events this year. Apart from finishing runner-up in the Tour, he was also second overall in the Giro d’Italia and the individual time trial of the world championships held in Innsbruck, Austria. Last year, he had an extremely successful year, winning both the Giro and the world time trial title but 2018 did not pan out the way he wanted.

“I did my best the whole year and I’m really pleased with my results,” he said. “But unfortunately there was not a big win. Every time there was just one guy a bit stronger and you just have to accept that.”

The Dutch rider will also have the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to look forward to. And again, he will be out to go one better after finishing with a silver in Rio two years ago in the individual time trial behind Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara.

“The parcour has just been revealed for the individual time trial and it’s super nice,” he said.

“I will probably be focusing on that in 2020. It is going to be brutal race. The road race is really long and hard with a lot of climbing and the individual time trial also has a lot of climbs but that suits me. I like that.

Dumoulin and his team will compete in Hong Kong knowing they have only a slim chance of winning the Hammer Series as Sunweb are lying fifth after two previous rounds.

Mitchelton-Scott lead the table on 181 points going into the final leg while Sunweb have 100 points.

Mitchelton-Scott rider Matteo Trentin said the Hammer Series finale would give local fans a rare opportunity to watch 11 world tour teams in action in two races along Tsim Sha Tsui East.

“It’s a short race and it’s going to be super hard,” said the Italian. “You cannot use up too much energy in the beginning. It’s going to be nice to watch. We expect a lot of fans to watch the race as we are here to put on a good show.”

The grand finale of the Series will see top riders battling out in two races along the harbourfront in Kowloon – the 10-lap Hammer Sprint and the five-lap Hammer Chase which cover a distance of 64 kilometres, putting their endurance, tactics and speed to the test.