Dominant Dumoulin blows away the competition
If there were a few people wondering whether the Giro d’Italia was over following Nairo Quintana’s dominant display on the Blockhaus on stage nine, then Tom Dumoulin blew it back open with an astonishing time trial performance.
After concentrating on his time trialling with an eye on the Olympics last year, Dumoulin has now managed to switch his concentration back to GC ambitions, seemingly without losing any power against the clock.
The Dutch champion was at his fastest at the start and end of the stage, putting 20 seconds into Geraint Thomas in the first 9.8km, 14 seconds in the following 18.4km, and 13 seconds in the final 11.6km.
That effort was enough to move him into the pink jersey for the second time in his career, giving him a buffer of 2-23 over Nairo Quintana to take in to the second half of the race.
Nightmare for Nairo
When we looked at the stage 10, we expected Nairo Quintana to lose a bit of time to Tom Dumoulin, but not the massive 2-53 that he ended up giving up today.
From the first time check it was clear that Quintana was in trouble, already having lost 48 seconds to Dumoulin, which had turned in to 2-09 by the second time check after 28.2km.
And from there it only got worse, with the Colombian visibly struggling in the final 10km, capping off his ride with a little shake of his head as he misjudged the final corner, eventually crossing the line 2-53 behind Dumoulin.
Certainly bad news for Quintana then, but good news for the race, with the Movistar rider being forced to go on the attack when the race hits the Alps at the end of the week.
Thomas shows his form
After the disaster on the Blockhaus, Geraint gave a display of what might have been as he produced a superb time trial to post the second best time of the day, and more-than-creditable 49 seconds behind the peerless Dumoulin.
Despite always being tipped to perform well in this stage, Thomas’ ride was still highly impressive as he looked comfortable throughout and paced his ride to perfection.
But cycling’s a funny game, and Thomas actually ended the day in 11th place, 5-33 off the pink jersey, meaning that after a superb time trial he is actually 19 seconds further away from the race lead than he was at the start of the day.
From that position Thomas will certainly be eyeing a top 10 come Milan with the likes of Bob Jungels, Andrey Amador, and Ilnur Zakarin ahead of him.
Yates well and truly out of contention
Another man to have a bad day in the time trial was Adam Yates, who conceded 2-39 to Dumoulin, and now finds himself more than seven minutes of the top of the general classification.
This was never going to be a course for Yates, and he started to lose time straight off the start ramp, eventually crossing the line a long way in arrears, even if he still managed to gain a few seconds on Quintana.
Clearly disappointed with his performance, Yates didn’t want to talk to reporters at the finish, and will probably be chasing stage wins for the rest of the race.
Still, at least he’s still 44 seconds ahead of Tejay Van Garderen.
With dry roads and no technical descents, it was surprising to see quite a number of crashes on the relatively benign course among the early starters.
First we saw Marcin Bialoblocki go down after hitting a raised curb in the middle of the road, before Pavel Brutt had a more spectacular crash as he misjudged a left-hand bend, going over the bars and in to a building site.
Only a few minutes later and Vasil Kiryienka was on the deck after having his front wheel disappear from underneath him in the penultimate bend.
However that still wasn’t enough to stop the Belrussian getting back on his bike and setting what was then the fastest time, eventually placing him fifth.