Dumoulin planning Giro defence

28 December 2017 09:58:57 EST

Tom Dumoulin will return to the Giro d'Italia in 2018 to defend his title, Team Sunweb have confirmed.

The 27-year-old Dutchman claimed his maiden Grand Tour title by overhauling Movistar's Nairo Quintana with a stunning performance in the closing time-trial from Monza to Milan.

Dumoulin had been tipped to return to the Tour de France after skipping the race this year but it appears his priority for now remains the Giro.

Last week, a number of sources suggested that would be the case, however, a spokesman for Team Sunweb has now confirmed the news.

The team's plans for 2018 will be given more clarity at their official presentation in Berlin on Thursday 4th January but for now it appears he will be on the start line in Jerusalem on Saturday 4th May.

De Telegraaf quoted a team spokesperson as saying: "Tom is going to the Giro for the classification. After the Giro d'Italia we are going to analyse his performance and only then will we decide whether he will also ride the Tour."

Next year's race is expected to have some extra spice with Team Sky's Chris Froome billed to ride, in a bid to become only the third man to hold the Giro, Tour and Vuelta a Espana crowns simultaneously.

With an extra week between the two races, Froome is expected to target a Giro-Tour double in 2018, while Dumoulin may also ride both, although a final decision will not be made until June.

Meanwhile, BMC's Richie Porte is 8/11 to beat Nairo Quintana at the Tour, with the Colombian 1/1 in their personal dual.

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