Team Sunweb rider Tom Dumoulin wrapped up a successful Tour de France effort Sunday in Paris, stepping onto the final podium at the Champs-Élysées with a second place overall finish at the end of the three-week grand tour.
The podium performance at the world’s biggest stage race was a historic moment for Dumoulin and his Team Sunweb squad. This year marked the first time that the team set its sights on the general classification at the Tour, putting all its efforts toward working for its team leader Dumoulin.
“The goal that we had coming here was the process of working towards a GC result and to see what we could learn from this race, without specific expectations on results,” said Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts. “We’ve definitely done that. With the amount of riders not making it to Paris this year we can see how tough it really was. And with that, we can be proud that we’ve arrived in Paris in second place.”
Dumoulin was strong from start to finish. He was aggressive during the first week, which knocked out some of the key overall contenders with tough days including Stage 9 to Roubaix on the punishing pavé. The Dutchman showed top climbing form through the Alps, finishing second on back-to-back days including Stage 12 to the iconic Alpe d’Huez mountaintop finish. And in the final week he achieved career-defining moments with strong finishes in the Pyrenees and a pivotal win the Stage 20 individual time trial.
“To finish second here is really special and I’m genuinely really happy with the result,” Dumoulin said. “We came into the race really open. Of course we were going for the GC, but not specifically the podium, so I’m super happy with the outcome and proud of what me and the team have achieved here.”
Seven of the team’s eight riders finished the race. Only Michael Matthews, winner of the points competition at last year’s Tour, was forced to abandon due to illness in the first week. Two riders, Søren Kragh Andersen (Denmark) and Chad Haga (USA) completed the Tour for the first time. Other riders on the squad included Germans Nikias Arndt and Simon Geschke, Dutchman Laurens ten Dam, and Belgian Edward Theuns, who made it to Paris after being forced to abandon the Tour two years ago following a crash.
Throughout the three-week race, Team Sunweb riders raced with four different Giant bikes built for specific terrain or racing conditions. As the GC leader, Dumoulin raced mostly on his favorite bike, the TCR Advanced SL all-rounder. Others chose the Propel Advanced SL Disc aero road bike for certain flatter stages. Dumoulin and his teammates also rode a special Defy Advanced SL classics bike for the critical Roubaix cobblestone stage, and had the Trinity Advanced Pro TT for both the team time trial and the individual time trial.
In addition to Giant bikes, Team Sunweb riders used a number of Giant helmets, including the Rev for mountain stages, the Pursuit for certain flat stages and the Rivet TT for time trials. And keen observers noted the prototype wheels and cockpit components on Team Sunweb bikes, labeled #overachieve. Giant is working with Team Sunweb to develop these components, along with new footwear models, which were also seen on Team Sunweb riders in France.
Team captain Nikias Arndt summed up the team’s performance after Sunday’s final stage in Paris. “We started really well, did a great TTT which gave us motivation and trust that we can go for a good GC,” he said. “We were all so disappointed when we lost Michael because of illness but we kept fighting and made the most out of it.
“We all gave 110 percent and it’s unbelievable what we’ve achieved here,” he continued. “The support from the whole staff was amazing. Our bikes were always on point, the soigneurs looked after us really well, the coaches, everyone. Now it’s really time to celebrate together as a team.”