• Tom Dumoulin in focus. (Getty)Source: Getty
Tom Dumoulin has spoken less reservedly about Chris Froome’s pending salbutamol case, saying the “worst scenario ever” would be allowing the Briton to compete in a Grand Tour with it still ongoing.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
21 Feb 2018 - 8:38 AM 

Dumoulin begins his season today at the Abu Dhabi Tour, the first race toward what he hopes will be a successful Giro d’Italia title defence the Dutchman may or may not face Froome at.

Sky publicly announced last year that Froome would target the Giro and a fifth Tour de France title this season, a double that many, after a resurgence of attempts, deemed too difficult in 2017.

The race announcement was made before Froome’s adverse analytical finding from the 2017 Vuelta a España went public, but reportedly after he was privately informed of it on September 20.

Some WordTour teams have ordered riders not to discuss the ongoing saga with media, but asked again to comment at a pre-race press conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday, Dumoulin said a hypothetical scenario in which Froome is suspended after competing in a Grand Tour would be unfavourable.

“I don’t think a lot of riders have a different opinion. I think all the riders agree it’s not good for cycling that this case is lingering on and that there is no solution yet,” said Dumoulin.

“It would be very, very bad if he starts the Giro without still knowing something, and that they, maybe after the Giro, or after the Tour, have to say he is suspended. That would be the worst scenario ever, so I hope they find a solution quick.

“I think Froome wants the same, I think also the public is asking for that, to at least know what is going on.”

Dumoulin himself remains undecided on a possible Giro-Tour double this year but hasn’t ruled it out. 

“It could definitely be an option. We have a few scenarios ready and will decide about a week or two weeks after the Giro how I feel. If I’m completely f--ked and I mentally don’t see myself riding the Tour anymore, we don’t do it. If I feel good about it, it may be possible to do.”

The time trial world champion will this week get a first look at some of his key Giro rivals also competing at the five-stage Abu Dhabi Tour.