Team Sunweb rider Tom Dumoulin put in another brilliant climbing performance Wednesday and jumped from third to second place overall in the Tour de France on a dramatic day of racing in the Pyrenees.
Stage 17 tested the contenders with a short and brutal course that packed three major climbs into just 65 kilometers. Dumoulin waited until just the right moment, on the final hors categorie ascent to the summit of the Col du Portet, then launched an attack against Chris Froome. The four-time Tour de France winner from Team Sky started the day 11 seconds ahead of Dumoulin in second place overall.
“I saw Froome was in difficulty, but I didn’t know if it was a bluff,” said Dumoulin, who rode his TCR Advanced SL team bike fitted with prototype wheels and cockpit components being developed by Giant (labeled #overachieve.). “So I waited a bit with my attack.”
Wearing his Giant Rev helmet, the Dutchman was able to distance himself from Froome. He finished fifth on the stage, which was won by Colombian climbing specialist Nairo Quintana. Overall leader Geraint Thomas finished third, five seconds ahead of Dumoulin, to retain the yellow jersey.
Dumoulin now sits second overall, 1:59 behind Thomas, with four stages left in the three-week grand tour.
“Taking time back was a good thing, but that’s all I had,” Dumoulin said. “I’m focused on myself and I will always keep a bit of faith and hope. But so far Thomas has proven the strongest.”
Stage 18 is a mostly flat 205km race to Pau, followed by another big mountain stage the following day.