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Dumoulin Wins Giro in Thrilling Final Stage Time Trial!

Teams/Riders

Team Sunweb rider Tom Dumoulin pulled off a thrilling win at the 100th Giro d’Italia Sunday, coming from behind on the final day to earn the biggest win of his career in Milan. The 26-year-old Dutchman was dominant in the Giro’s two decisive time trials, determined on the grueling mountain stages, and courageous in his ability to fight through adversity over the course of the three-week grand tour.

In the end, the race came down to a dramatic Stage 21 time trial in Milan, which Dumoulin won on his Trinity Advanced Pro TT bike. The victory also marked the first-ever grand tour win for both Dumoulin and Team Sunweb. 

“It’s incredible,” Dumoulin said after finishing second in the final TT in Milan, jumping from fourth to first in the final general classification. “It was such a nerve-wracking day. I was super nervous from the beginning and I just needed to stay calm but I almost didn’t. I had good legs and just went for it.”

The 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia was full of drama for Dumoulin, his team, and cycling fans everywhere who watched the best stage racers in the world battle on Italy’s legendary roads and high mountain peaks. He wore the leader’s pink jersey longer than any other rider, from Stage 10 through Stage 19, surrendered it in the Dolomites a few days before the finish, then took it back on the final stage in Milan.

INTO THE LEAD

The team’s GC leader first took over the maglia rosa midway through the second week, when he won the Stage 10 time trial in decisive fashion on his Trinity Advanced Pro TT bike. Wearing the Giant Rivet TT helmet, Dumoulin clocked a time of 50:37 on the 39.8km course in Montefalco, giving him an overall lead of 2:23 over Colombian Nairo Quintana, one of cycling’s best pure climbers. Quintana would continue to challenge Dumoulin over the next 11 stages.  

“Now I have proven I can fight with the best and that’s a nice feeling,” Dumoulin said after his time trial win. “We’ll fight to the end now. We’ll see how much my gap is worth in the mountains but for now it’s nice to have the pink jersey.”

On Stage 14, Dumoulin scored another breakthrough victory, stunning his challengers with a summit stage win atop the Oropa climb. Riding his TCR Advanced SL to give him every advantage against the strongest climbers in the world, while also providing added control on the Giro’s challenging descents, Dumoulin was well protected by his Team Sunweb teammates on the approach to the first summit finish of this year’s Giro. Wearing the lightweight Giant Rev helmet, he rode Oropa at his own pace, and was able to reel in an attack from Quintana and win the 131km stage. 

“It was a really tough climb, and when I couldn’t follow Quintana I remained focused, relaxed, and rode at my own pace,” Dumoulin said. “At the end, I still had something left. It was incredible.”

BATTLING ADVERSITY

Three days later, Dumoulin was put on the defensive. On Stage 16, facing three massive climbs covering 222km in the mountains of northern Italy, Dumoulin fought through stomach issues and bravely chased back alone after having to stop and take a nature break before the final climb up the Umbrailpass.

Dumoulin lost 2:17 to stage winner Vincenzo Nibali that day but managed to hold onto the pink jersey with a lead of 31 seconds over second-place Quintana in the general classification.

“When I was chasing back I decided to fight and not give up and then see where we were after the finish,” Dumoulin said. “It was tough, and of course it’s disappointing. The legs were good and I feel like I could have been up there with the other GC guys but that’s not how it worked out.”

Despite the setback, Dumoulin and the team survived the Giro’s toughest stage—with its climbs over the iconic Mortirolo and Stelvio passes as well as the Umbrailpass—with their overall lead intact.

The challenges continued over the following three days, with Dumoulin and the team facing multiple attacks from GC hopefuls Nibali, Quintana and Thibaut Pinot among others. The team surrendered the pink jersey on Stage 19 to Quintana, and Dumoulin pinned his hopes on the final time trial two days later in Milan.

THE FINAL STAGE

Dumoulin started the 29.3km TT from the Monza motor racing circuit to the Piazza Duomo in the heart of Milan in fourth place overall, 53 seconds behind Quintana. Nibali was second, 39 seconds behind Quintana, and Thibaut was fourth at 43 seconds back. Riding his Trinity Advanced Pro TT again, and wearing the Rivet TT helmet, Dumoulin went all out on the time trial and hoped for the best. When he crossed the finish line in Milan, he was told he had won the overall, but he had to wait for the top GC riders to finish before it was confirmed.

“I was feeling good today but halfway through, in my earpiece, they said don’t take any risks anymore,” Dumoulin said. “And I thought OK, I must be winning.”

Dumoulin ended up finishing second on the day, behind fellow Dutchman Jan van Emden, but the Giro victory was his. “This is a dream come true,” he said. “I could not have imagined this, never. I was strong, I was lucky, everything fell into place.”

 

May 28, 2017

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