Dumoulin gained time on his rival in the stage one time trial in Jerusalem, but lost time on every other occasion. He is riding consistently, but not as well as Yates in the mountains.
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His hope is in the time trial to Rovereto, stage 16, where he could possibly gain over two minutes and recover from his 2-11-minute deficit and to take the race leader’s pink jersey.
“The Giro is not decided until Rome, anything can happen,” Dumoulin said on the last rest day. “It would be quite remarkable how the situation is now that I would take the pink jersey to Rome, but stranger things have happened in the past in the third week of a Grand Tour. I am keeping my hopes up.”
Dumoulin became the first Dutchman to win the Giro d’Italia in 2017 with dominant time trial rides and strong mountain performances. This year, a more mountainous Giro d’Italia route and a remarkable Yates leave Dumoulin looking for answers.
“Anyway to crack him? No!” Dumoulin said with a laugh. “So far I don’t see a way, he’s been riding really well, tactically and didn’t make any mistakes so far, he’s been in excellent shape.
“All kind of tactics stuff you can do, but I still have to drop him first, I don’t know where to do that in the moment. I am just waiting, waiting, waiting, just hoping the moment comes, if the moment arrives, I will certainly take it.”
Dumoulin’s problem is that even if he takes the stage win and the race lead in the time trial, he faces three more mountain days. And so far, Yates has taken seconds and minutes out of Dumoulin when the road goes upwards.
“The Pratonevoso summit finish on Thursday is a stage that suits me better, more so than a stage with five mountains. Instead, just one time with maximum output, but how Yates is riding now, I don’t have the advantage on him on the climbs.”
Dumoulin won the opening time trial in his rainbow jersey that he took at the time trial World Championship title in 2017. He trained on the stage 16 parcours on the rest day, noting everything that will be needed to win and take maximum time on Yates.
“Any TT I like. It’s super fast and flat, not 100 per cent how I like, but I am happy with any TT,” he continued.
“If you go in the TT position with tailwind like we had today in the recon, then there is a limit to how much faster you can go – time differences will not be big. But he would have to do a bad TT to lose his jersey to me.”