1. Tom Dumoulin
27, Netherlands, Team Sunweb
2017 wins: 5
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For a rider who’d never actually won a Grand Tour, or even finished on the podium, there was a lot of concern from the other 2017 Giro d’Italia contenders about Tom Dumoulin’s threat for the overall. And with good reason.
An exceptional time triallist, the only question mark over the Dutchman was whether he could really hack it in the high mountains with Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali three weeks into a Grand Tour.
A victory in the stage 10 time trial and to the summit finish on Santuario di Oropa on stage 14 added to what was an already impressive Grand Tour performance, as did holding the maglia rosa for nine of the 21 stages before losing it, only to clinch it at the final moment.
The 27-year-old’s year would have surely been made with his Giro victory alone, but a need to prove he was indeed the world’s best time triallist hung over him for the World Championships in Bergen, Norway in September.
A bronze medallist at the Worlds in 2014 and silver medallist at the Olympics in 2016, Dumoulin made no mistake on the tough, hilly course in Norway.
Not only did he win, he destroyed the competition. In a top-10 filled with superb riders against the clock, including former world champions Tony Martin and Vasil Kiryienka, as well as four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome, Dumoulin was able to distance his nearest rival Primoz Roglic by 57 seconds to take his first rainbow bands.
But while 2017 will be defined by Dumoulin’s two biggest wins, he also showed his versatility and talent as an all round bike rider. He battled with some of best of Classics riders in Strade Bianche to claim fifth place, before committing himself to supporting Michael Matthews at Milan-San Remo.
A further win followed in the Dutch national time trial championships before a strong fourth place amongst a stellar climbing field at the Clásica San Sebastian. He then headed back to the Low Countries to beat the likes of Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet to an impressive overall victory in the BinckBank Tour.
For Sunweb, who experienced their best ever season in the WorldTour with Warren Barguil and Michael Matthews’ success at the Tour de France as well as Dumoulin’s victories, an emphatic win in the World Championships team time trial was the crowning glory and gave Dumoulin his first of two gold medals at those Worlds.
An exciting and sometimes unpredictable rider to watch, Dumoulin has unquestionably come into his own this year, and remains a valuable team player as well as a winner. A truly deserving rider to sit atop the 100 best list for 2017.