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Tom Dumoulin to skip Vuelta a Espana to concentrate on World Championships

Jack Elton-Walters
21 Jul 2017

Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin has decided against riding the Vuelta a Espana as he looks to the World Championships in Norway

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) will not ride this year's Vuelta a Espana, concentrating instead on the World Championships Time Trial. The winner of the 2017 Giro d'Italia explained his decision in a Facebook post, telling fans that he'd changed his race programme after discussions with his team.

Dumoulin won the Giro d'Italia thanks to consistent performances in the mountains and then untouchable rides in the time trials. Fans of the popular Dutchman would have been looking forward to him taking on the Vuelta, and many would have backed him to do the Giro-Vuelta double.

However, Dumoulin's decision makes sense as his strength still clearly lies in riding against the clock. Although even the organiser of the World Championships in Bergen tips Chris Froome for victory, the TT course certainly plays to Dumoulin's strengths too.

Rolling and potentially windswept for much of its length, the ITT route shoots upwards in the final kilometres, ascending steep and narrow lanes.

Riders will likely need to rely on motorcycles or static team helpers for any wheel or bike change as the course will be tight for cars.

With Dumoulin's vastly improved climbing not coming at the expense of his power on the flat, he could get to the foot of this final climb with enough of a time advantage over stronger climbers like Froome.

Of his decision to miss the Vuelta, Dumoulin said: 'Surprising maybe. I'm in love with the race. I pretty much had my breakthrough Grand Tour there in 2015 and I love the tranquility of the race, yet the passionate fans at the same time.'

His role looked set to be that of domestiuqe, anyway, as he explained: 'It was also on my mind and the team's to go there to help Wilco fight for GC and to hunt for stages myself and prepare for the Worlds at the same time.'

Some riders find it hard to get their head back in the game after a huge win, something that has been speculated as being one of the reasons Froome chooses to ride the Vuelta after he wins the Tour de France as it keeps him in race mode, and the distractions and commitments of glory have played on Dumoulin too.

'Winning the Giro happened... Very cool, but crazy times followed and after my holiday in the beginning of July me and the team started to doubt if I physically and mentally had it in me to do a super busy programme and a second Grand Tour (altitude camp, San Sebastian, Eneco, Vuelta) and to be at my best shape at the Worlds after that.

'With doing the Vuelta there would be quite the chance that it would all prove to be too much for me and that I would not be good enough in the Vuelta, bad at the Worlds following and then to go into the winter with a bad feeling. What a shame that would be after such a year for me and the team!'

The sense of the decision becomes clearer as Dumoulin continued his explanation.

'We chose the 'safer' approach to the Worlds and the last part of the season by doing the Canadian one-day races. I did them in 2014 and ended up 2nd and 6th so I'm also really looking forward to those super cool races!

'In topsport nothing's certain and topshape doesn't always come when you want it, so also this programme unfortunately doesn't guarantee the legs of my life at the right moment, but I will do my very best to work hard and then we'll see at the Worlds!'