• Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin before the start of the 2016 Tour of Oman (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Tom Dumoulin will postpone his burgeoning Grand Tour ambitions this year as he focuses on a berth at the Rio Olympic Games and comes to terms with newfound leadership at Giant-Alpecin.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
16 Feb 2016 - 5:03 PM  UPDATED 16 Feb 2016 - 5:06 PM

Giant-Alpecin popularly came to prominence as a sprint team with the departed Marcel Kittel but has adjusted its focus within major stage races that Dumoulin is to be a big part of.

The 25-year-old finished sixth overall at the Vuelta a Espana last year in which he also marked a stint in the leader’s jersey that demonstrated his adeptness to Grand Tour racing.

However, speaking to journalists on the eve of his season debut at the Tour of Oman, Dumoulin said a result in the time trial at the Rio Olympics will take precedence in 2016.

“I will be definitely be Tom the chrono man in 2016 and not Tom the GC man. We will postpone that for one more year,” he said.

“Maybe some people, or press, think it’s stupid after a Vuelta like that, that you not go for a GC in the Giro or wherever but for me personally the Olympics were the biggest thing in my childhood. That was the highest thing you could achieve in sports, to get a medal, or even a gold medal, in the Olympics. Now I have that chance to maybe get that medal I want to put everything else aside this year.

“Of course I want to be able to compete for the win in different races but the Olympics are the main target.”

SBS will make 30 minutes of daily highlights from the 2016 Tour of Oman available OnDemand at the Cycling Central website after the race starts on 16 February.

Dumoulin has aspirations to wear the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia through focusing on the time trials included but has not yet outlined goals in the race thereafter.

“If I put too much pressure on the Giro, in GC, and make myself really tired there it will affect me for the Olympics and that is not what I want,” he said.

Dumoulin believes the Rio time trial course suits his strengths, which is another driving factor behind the decision to delay his overall career game plan with Giant-Alpecin.

“It’s very hard and it suits me very well. Normally I do best on time trials which have some climbs and are more about watts per kilogram than about the big watts,” he said.

“The Olympics are one in four years and I maybe have three opportunities in my whole career. If the next two Olympics are with a flat TT then that’s it. This is my opportunity and I want to take it.”

Dumoulin will lead Giant-Alpecin at the six-stage Tour of Oman that begins on Tuesday.

“I hope my shape is good enough to really compete,” he said. “We don’t really have a GC goal that we really stress about, I think there will be a lot more stressful moments in the season.”

The Dutchman referenced a long-term outlook when talking about his touted future with the team that is set to turn its focus to backing him, along with Frenchman Warren Barguil, in Grand Tours moving forward.

“I just started being a leader of a team and being interesting for media and it’s a big step in a few months’ time,” Dumoulin said. “The step could also be too big. It could affect me more

than I would have imagined so then it’s better to step back a little bit again to make two steps the next year.”