• Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) wears the maglia rosa again after Stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) was asked to clarify his intentions for the Giro d’Italia after he reclaimed the maglia rosa at the end of Stage 4.
By
Sophie Smith

Source:
Cycling Central
11 May 2016 - 7:36 AM  UPDATED 16 May 2016 - 7:37 AM

Since the beginning of the season the 25-year-old has stated he will put his budding Grand Tour title ambitions with Giant-Alpecin on hold for a year to prioritise a medal berth at the Rio Olympic Games time trial in August.

Dumoulin and Giant-Alpecin staff have both clearly outlined the former has not prepared for a general classification bid at the Giro, however, it hasn’t stopped speculation as to whether the Dutchman could still be in the mix when the race hits the high mountains.

Dumoulin, who won the prologue in Holland last week, finished five seconds adrift of stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) last night, with an in-form Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) third, to put himself back at the top of the general classification.

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The burgeoning all-rounder has outlined a plan to mark an extended stay in the maglia rosa in the lead-up to Sunday’s rolling 40.5km individual time trial in Chianti, which he has designs on. However, he reiterated his approach in terms of preparation for the race when asked of his scope beyond that.

“Eventually it’s going to be in the last week I think very hard for GC but that being said I’m now in the top of GC and the coming days are not very hard. On Thursday we have our first uphill finish but normally when I’m in good shape I won’t lose too much time. With the TT also on day nine I’m still hoping to be on GC after one-and-a-half weeks and then we’ll see,” he said in a post-race press conference.

“I prepared for the time trials. So, I didn’t go to altitude, I didn’t train in the mountains. I don’t think that my level in the high mountains is high enough to compete.”

Dumoulin reasoned that his standout performance at the Vuelta a Espana last season, which the media made comparison to, was on the back off different preparation that conversely did include altitude.

Giant-Alpecin sports director Marc Reef concurred time trials and stage wins were the focus for the team at the Giro after a general classification bid at the recent Tour of Romandie in which Dumoulin finished an impressive fifth overall.

The team animated the fourth stage of the Giro, putting end to what began as a controlled race with the peloton uncertain if overnight leader Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) would survive the surprisingly difficult finale of the 200km run to Praia a Mare, which featured an uncategorised kick that topped out at 18 per cent.

“We took the decision in the race to change the plan and to make it already a little bit harder, so it was less controlled afterwards, and that worked out on a good way,” Reef said.