• Tom Dumoulin at the start of the final stage at the 2018 Giro d'Italia in Rome (Luk Benies/Getty) (Getty)Source: Getty
Tom Dumoulin’s overall bid at the Tour de France will bank on the opening nine stages should he take to the start, according to Team Sunweb sports director Aike Visbeek.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
1 Jun 2018 - 1:52 PM  UPDATED 1 Jun 2018 - 1:54 PM

Visbeek believes the Dutchman will have to build a convincing advantage on defending Tour champion Chris Froome (Sky) before the mountains if he ultimately wants a shot at revenge.

Dumoulin in his Giro d’Italia title defence finished second to Froome last month amid circumstances the 27-year-old will surely wish to turnaround.

Froome joins the greats with Giro win
Chris Froome (Sky) has won the Giro d'Italia to join cycling greats Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault with his third consecutive Grand Tour victory.

Froome held on through the first two weeks of the Giro before supreme experience in the high mountains won he and Sky, drilled in that terrain, the maglia rosa for the first time.

Visbeek said Dumoulin chose the Giro this year as the course was more favourable than the varied route of the Tour, which he is yet to confirm but anticipated to commence.

“It’s not a favourable course but that’s the thing with this Tour de France, in the first week it could very well be a very favourable Tour for him,” Visbeek said. “On the cobblestones if he’s good at positioning, if you make the first group of 30 guys going through that cobblestone stage in Roubaix, or a crosswind stage, you might end up with two minutes ahead of most other GC rivals, and then suddenly you have a very good chance of winning the Tour de France.”

The opening week of the Tour features a combination of flat and ‘hilly’ stages, a team time trial as well as stage nine, which includes 15 pave sectors totaling 21.7km from Arras to Roubaix. Race organiser ASO has also included additional time bonuses from the Grand Depart on the rugged western coast up to the first rest day.

The collective combination could play more to the strengths of Sky’s rivals than that of the British outfit, which has won four Tour titles with Froome, still awaiting the outcome of a salbutamol case stemming from last year’s Vuelta a Espana he also claimed overall.

Listen to the Zwift Podcast review of the Giro:

Sunweb is not the only squad placing an emphasis on the first week of the Tour. Mitchelton-Scott sports director Matt White has previously said the yellow jersey could be won in that period. BMC Racing general manager Jim Ochowicz obviously sees the team time trial as advantageous to Richie Porte’s concerted title bid, but didn’t put stock in much else other than the mountains.

The respective outlooks provide an indication of how managers view the capacity of their climbers.

“If everybody is on the same time at the first mountain stage it’s not a real favourable course for him,” Visbeek continued. “But with the tricky first week he might end up with a time bonus through those stages and then it changes. He needs the first good week for sure.”

Dumoulin is due to show on home turf at the Hammer Series Limburg this weekend.

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