Velonews: Tom Dumoulin At Crossroads With Time On His Side


Jan 3, 2005
<figure ><img title="2015 Vuelta a Espana, stage 5: Dumoulin leads GC" src=""/><p>Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) claimed the Vuelta leader's jersey on Wednesday. Photo: Tim De Waele | <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p></figure><p>Tom Dumoulin had to be hauled out of the Giant-Alpecin bus after Wednesday’s stage to go to the podium ceremony as the new leader of the Vuelta a España.</p>
<p>The 6-foot-1 Dutch rider was as surprised as anyone that he gapped overnight leader Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) in the grinding sprint finale to snag the red leader’s jersey by one second.</p>
<p>“I didn’t realize I had the lead until I was on the bus,” Dumoulin said. “I was angry at the line because I couldn’t help John [Degenkolb] like I wanted to in the sprint, and then I heard on the radio I was the leader. That was a pleasant surprise.”</p>
<p>The 24-year-old time trial specialist came to the Vuelta looking to make up for the disappointment that came with <a href=""target="_blank">crashing out of the Tour de France in stage 3</a>. His first leader’s jersey in a grand tour has already cured the regrets of missed chances in July.</p>
<p>The question begs as Dumoulin promises to defend red in Thursday’s hilltop finale — just what kind of rider is the promising Dutchman?</p>
<p>“That’s a question that I ask myself as well,” he said. “Right now, I am focused on time trialing because I am good at it, but I am also climbing better than I ever have. Could I become a grand tour rider? I just don’t know.”</p>
<p>His rising time trial pedigree is without question. <a href=""target="_blank">Third in last year’s world championships </a>behind Bradley Wiggins and Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step), Dumoulin confirmed his status as a new strongman against the clock.</p>
<p>This season, he delivered on that promise, winning the time trial stage at the Vuelta al País Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) in April, and then taking home both <a href=""target="_blank">the prologue and time trial stage</a> at the Tour de Suisse in June en route to third overall.</p>
<p>His dream of winning the yellow jersey on home roads in Utrecht was derailed by Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing). Dumoulin was fourth, eight seconds slower than the Aussie winner. Two days later, he crashed out on the road to Huy with a serious shoulder injury.</p>
<p>The Vuelta became his platform for a comeback, with his goals set on the individual time trial in Burgos in stage 17, and another run at the world TT title in Richmond, Virginia, next month.</p>
<p>“I was disappointed after missing out on the yellow at the Tour, so to now have the lead in the Vuelta, that makes up for it,” Dumoulin said. “After the crash in the Tour, I was not a happy person. I was really ****** off for two weeks, and then I finally turned the switch, and decided to work hard for the Vuelta.”</p>
<p>Dumoulin is proving, however, he is no one-trick pony. His third-place overall at the Swiss tour also served as confirmation that Dumoulin can defend well in the mountains.</p>
<p>Could he develop into a rider similar to Wiggins, a strong time trialist who could challenge for grand tours? Or will he be more in the mold of Martin, who can win weeklong stage races featuring time trials, but who simply doesn’t have the climbing chops to stay close during three weeks?</p>
<p>“I honestly don’t know,” Dumoulin said. “I haven’t truly challenged in a grand tour yet. Perhaps I can do it in the future. I am still young, and right now, the weeklong stage races are what I can do really well at, but the grand tours are something else. I didn’t come here with the GC in mind.”</p>
<p>Going into Thursday’s hilltop finale, Dumoulin promises to go down swinging to defend the leader’s jersey. The Cazorla finale is similar to Caminito del Rey on Sunday, when Dumoulin surprised everyone by finishing second behind Chaves, and ahead of the GC favorites.</p>
<p>If he can defend Thursday, he will carry the lead into the Vuelta’s first major mountaintop finale at the category 1 Alto de Capilleira in Spain’s Sierra Nevada on Friday.</p>
<p>“I’m not going to give up this jersey without a fight. If you look to the first stage where Chaves beat me on the line in an uphill, I’m in a good place for the climbs, so I’m looking forward to see how it goes,” he said. “I’m going to use my legs now, and I hope to still have them at the worlds.”</p>
<p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">TomDumoulin at crossroads with time on his side</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a>.</p>

View the full article

Similar threads