Dutchman Tom Dumoulin is number 10 in our countdown of the 100 Best Road Riders of 2016
10. Tom Dumoulin
25, Netherlands, Giant-Alpecin
2016 wins: 4
Tom Dumoulin’s year was characterised by him performing well in the events he said he wasn’t targeting and not winning the races he was targeting.
His season-long goal was to perform at his best at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games time trial, but a broken arm suffered at the Tour de France hampered his training and on the day he could only finish second to an inspired Fabian Cancellara.
Before crashing at the Tour, Giant-Alpecin’s Dumoulin took two impressive stage wins. The first came in horrendous conditions in Andorra, where the Dutchman rode away from breakaway companions Rui Costa and Rafal Majka to claim the win in the hail atop Andorra Arcalis.
Then, four stages later, he showed why he was the favourite for the Olympics time trial by dominating the rolling 37km stage through the Ardèche, beating Tour winner Chris Froome in second by over a minute.
Earlier, in May, Dumoulin caused a bit of concern among the general classification contenders at the Giro d’Italia by dominating the early stages while at the same time insisting he wasn’t there for the pink jersey.
Winning the opening time trial in front of his home fans in Apeldoorn, Dumoulin loaned his leader’s jersey to former teammate Marcel Kittel for stage four but took it back in style by launching an attack on the rolling stage to Praia a Mare to finish second on the day.
It wasn’t to be the same fairytale as his Vuelta a España run six months previously, though, as a troublesome saddle sore saw him struggle through stages eight, nine and 10 before he abandoned on stage 11.
Next season Dumoulin is likely to return to focusing as a GC rider in a Grand Tour, but with the Tour de France containing few time trial kilometres, we could see the 26-year-old back at the Giro d’Italia.
My favourite rider…
By Chris Marshall-Bell, freelance news writer
Tom Dumoulin is frighteningly good. His near-upset at the 2015 Vuelta a España when he was a total underdog earned him an array of new admirers and 2016 has only heightened his popularity.
Six days in the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia enhanced his Grand Tour credentials, and then the manner in which he won a mountain stage and a time trial stage at the Tour de France showed just how strong, how diverse and how prolific he is.
He’s not just his team’s leader: he’s one of the biggest voices in the peloton, slamming the Wiggins-TUE case, the decision to host the Worlds in Qatar and flat “boring” stages in the Tour de France. He rides and acts like a champion and a leader.