“I knew the attacks would come” but Tom Dumoulin was ready. On a stage that Nairo Quintana was supposed to take precious seconds back from his Dutch rival, Dumoulin did more than just defend the maglia rosa. He went on the offensive and took a spectacular win on Oropa, extending his lead over all his rivals, including Quintana who is now 2.47 down.
Rider of the Race
There’s nothing more fun than seeing a rider rip up the script written for a stage. And Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) really let it rip today. On the shortest stage of the Giro (131km), it was always going to be fast and furious through the Po Valley before they started the climb to the summit finish – that didn’t change. But the prediction that Dumoulin would ride to minimise his losses if Quintana (Movistar) went up the road – well, that, my friends, was just underestimating how badly Dumoulin wants to win this Giro. With Movistar in the driving seat, it was attacks a go-go when they hit the climb and there were a few times when Dumoulin couldn’t follow Q and his attack-mate Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha). But he used his exceptional time-trial skills to keep riding steady and his no-drama demeanour to keep his cool and next thing Quintana knew, he saw the maglia rosa blow right past him in the last 1500m.
Dragging Zak, Q and a revitalised Mikel Landa (Sky) with him, they went under the flamme rouge. Zakarin put in an attack with 200m to go – a move that dropped Quintana – but Dumoulin was having none of it. Gathering all his strength, he powered past Zak in the last 25m and came over the line triumphant. This was one of those performances that I love – Dumoulin wasn’t going to ride to maintain or ride to minimise damage. He was riding to put more time into his rivals and to show them he’s intimidated by no one and they’ll have to do a lot more to get that maglia rosa off his shoulders. It’s a gigantic week of climbing starting on Tuesday and we’ve seen Dumoulin lose the top step of the Vuelta in the last throes, but this time, we have an ITT on the final day, so this Giro could go right into the last seconds. Yeah baby!
Un jour sans
Nairo Quintana wasn’t the only rider to be played by Dumoulin today. The mountainside was dotted with riders who couldn’t keep up with the attacks and the pace of this climb. Riders like Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who came in 35secs down and sprinted with everything to the line; Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), who looked on a good day until he cracked, coming in 41secs down; Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida), who got spit out the back of the select group early on but limited his losses to 43secs and Trek-Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema, who had a hellish day and came in 1.44 down.
The ferocity of the racing on the mountain was spectacular and, other than 1st, 2nd and 8th (Domenico Pozzovivo, Ag2r), it scrambled the top 10. Pinot moved from 4th to 3rd, Mollema dropped from 3rd to 6th, Nibali moved from 5th to 4th, Andrey Amador dropped from 6th to 10th, Bob Jungels dropped from 7th to 9th, Tanel Kangert jumped from 9th to 7th and Zakarin (the biggest winner out of that lot) leapt from 10th to 5th, losing only 7secs in total today.
1 Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 3:02:34
2 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) +0:03
3 Mikel Landa (Sky) +0:09
4 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:14
5 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) +0:35
GC Top 5
1 Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) 59:31:17
2 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +2:23
3 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) +3.25
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +3:40
5 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) +4:24
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb)
Points jersey: Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)
KOM jersey: Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb)
Best young rider: Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors)
For full review of the stage, go to Cycling News
Header Image: Tom and Wolfie ©GETTY / AFP/ Luk Benies