Tom Dumoulin and Primoz Roglic will go full for the overall victory in the Vuelta a España from Tuesday, although the rider from Jumbo-Visma has not been able to prepare optimally for his first Tour of Spain since 2015 due to the busy cycling season.
"We have had little time after the Tour," said Dumoulin, who arrived with the peloton in Paris on September 20, at a digital press conference on Monday.
"First I drove the World Cup, then came the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège and then I was home for two weeks to recover a bit."
"It is not an ideal preparation for the Vuelta, but that is the same for all riders. It is a crazy situation in a crazy cycling year. It is a special feeling to start a grand tour in this way, but we are here now. There will be a winner at the end and it better be someone from our team. "
Dumoulin starts the Tour of Spain as a joint leader with Roglic, who won his first big round with the Vuelta last year.
"Tom and I together are the leaders of our team," said Roglic.
"During the race we will see we are the strongest, just like in the Tour."
In the Tour de France, the Slovenian was clearly better than Dumoulin.
Roglic seemed on his way to the overall victory, but on the penultimate day he lost the yellow jersey to his fellow countryman Tadej Pogacar.
"After the Tour we were very disappointed that we did not bring the yellow to Paris, but that is also part of cycling", Dumoulin said.
"Pogacar turned out to be stronger in the Tour, we can only accept that. In the coming weeks there is a new opportunity for us in the Vuelta."
Tom Dumoulin came very close to winning the Vuelta five years ago. (Photo: ANP)
Tom Dumoulin came very close to winning the Vuelta five years ago.
Dumoulin has good memories of Vuelta
Dumoulin only started in Spain twice before, but he was already successful in the Vuelta.
In 2015, he had his breakthrough as a classification rider at his second participation.
The 2017 Giro winner won two stages, rode in the red leader's jersey for six days and only lost the overall victory in the penultimate stage.
"I am very proud of that Vuelta and happy to be back in Spain", said the 29-year-old Limburger.
"I have some very good memories of this race."
In the 75th edition of the Vuelta, Dumoulin will already know how his form is now, because in the first three days there is a lot of climbing to do.
"I like that," said Roglic.
"We can just start racing from the first stage."
The Vuelta team of Jumbo-Visma consists of Dumoulin and Roglic of Robert Gesink, George Bennett, Sepp Kuss, Lennard Hofstede, Paul Martens and Jonas Vingegaard.
The three-week round starts on Tuesday with a stage from Irún to Arrate, finishing on a first category climb.
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For the app users: tap here.