31 May 2017
Did we not all think that he was a specialist? A time trial specialist. That Dutch guy from Maastricht, he could not possibly climb the mountains with the best climbers of the peloton. At least, that is what I thought a couple of years ago. It was in the Vuelta a España that I was forced to change my mind. In a mountain stage Tom Dumoulin beat the most steady climber of the peloton: Chris Froome. You could still say that this was just a ‘one time thing’, but he came so close to winning the Vuelta. If it was not for that bad day in the last week, then he would have won the Vuelta in 2015.
The Vuelta in 2015 made Dumoulin more ambitious. He began to think about his goals. Could it be possible that he was not just a time trial specialist? Could he change his goals and focus on mountain stages? Or even the general classification? Wearing the pink jersey in 2016 made him think even more about it. He decided to come back a year later, with an ambitious goal: a place in the top-ten of the general classification.
We all know how that played out. He showed us, the other riders and himself that he was one of the strongest riders in the mountains. He made the 100st edition of the Giro d’Italia a special one. The rivalry with Quintana and Nibali, the ‘poo-accident’, and not to forget the time trial on the last day. The organisation could not have wished for a more nervous-wrecking finale. He made it through the finale and rode an excellent time trial. Enough to take back the pink jersey. A Dutch guy from Maastricht wins the Giro d’Italia. Now on to the next ambition.