Merckx index said:
“In my eyes a lot of riders have made the mistake in the past by focusing on both the Giro and the Tour from the start of the season,” Dumoulin told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
“As a result, they were probably already in the Giro with the classification in the Tour in mind. That is a mindset that does not work. I think you should focus completely on the Giro and only then have to look further.”
I understand his point about not thinking about the Tour while riding the Giro, but surely the early season preparation for the double has to be different from that for the Giro alone? If he prepares as if only riding the Giro, I don’t see how he’s going to be at his best for the Tour.
And what if Froome doesn’t ride the Giro, and Dumoulin builds up a big lead late in the race. Isn’t there something to be said for not going all out to add to the lead, if he can still win comfortably? I guess the question is whether easing up a little at that point—which can be risky in terms of mindset, as he says—really can have a significant effect on riding the Tour later. Maybe the possible benefits aren’t enough to be worth changing one’s approach. But what we know is that Contador dominated the Giro in 2011, and he clearly didn't have enough left for the Tour.
I don't think there's too much difference between Giro-Tour prep and Giro only prep, except for probably less heavy racing beforehand. However, Dumoulin already had a pretty light schedule ahead of the Giro this year. My best guess that Quintana was too good in the Tirreno already and managing form before the Giro became akward. Nibali did win TA before winning the Giro in 2013, but he wasn't preparing a double and wasn't great apart from the a crazy, rainy and hilly stage. Contador didn't race very much in 2011 and probably decompressed a little after winning Catalunya before returning to racing in FW where he was notably worse than in 2010.
Dumoulin's inspiration to maybe go to the Tour after the Giro is Mikel Landa, and I think he's a bad example. Landa crashed heavily in the Giro and then spent a few stages doing little and recover, which I think delays the form curve a little bit. I think he came out of the Giro with less fatigue or at least less need to decompress.
Lastly, I dont think Dumoulin can be compared to the likes of Contador, Quintana or Froome in double potential. Dumoulin has showed inconsistency in the last week of his first target GT, and typically his performances in Suisse after his Giro were far worse than other Giro riders that go there to get some more results.
Lastly, Contador in 2011 isn't comparable to this situation. That Giro was off the charts hard, and Contador was wasting energy almost everywhere except for the stage over the Finestre. He then crashed multiple times in the Tour. I still think he could have won it without losing that time on day 1 and without those crashes.
The 2018 Giro will be a lot easier. There will be more time between the races so scheduling will be different. But of all the riders who can be considered a favorite for the Giro or Tour, I think Dumoulin is the least likely to accomplish the double unless both routes suit him crazily.