Fast, not quite fast enough. That’s the five word summary of Tom Dumoulin’s time trial performance.
The reigning Giro champion (at least for five more days) had hoped to take back around two minutes on race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and perhaps throw on the maglia rosa. The Dutchman has an affinity for pink after winning last year’s edition of the Italian grand tour.
Dumoulin went fast, covering the 34.2 kilometers between Trento and Rovereto in 40:22, and pulling back 1:15 on Yates, but the bad-news math says he’s still remains 56 seconds down on Yates, who has already won three stages in this Giro d’Italia.
“A bit disappointed,” he told Dutch broadcaster NOS after the stage. “I wanted to either take a lot of time on Yates or win the time trial. And I didn’t do either. Yates rode a very good time trial. Mine was okay, but not one of my best. So this is the result. I gave everything. I can’t really be dissatisfied, though I wanted and hoped for more.”
Dumoulin’s close-but-no-jersey effort puts him firmly in second place on GC with Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) in third, 3:11 down, after an inspired ride by the diminutive Italian climber.
Chris Froome did his best, which didn’t qualify as his best performance in a grand tour time trial. He finished in 5th place in the TT, 35 seconds off the winning time of Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) who used his skill against the clock to jump up to sixth overall, 5:04 off Yates.
Yates looked nowhere near as smooth and aerodynamic as Dumoulin but what he lacked in style, he made up for in power and motivation. “I’m very satisfied. The first 25 kilometers were really good, I had a really good rhythm, I felt good, but then the final 10 were horrific, I was really dying a thousand deaths,” said Yates. “But I managed to hold it together, and I am still here in the jersey, so I’m extremely happy. On a course like that, it’s one pace, there was no area where you needed to squeeze or hold back. It was a drag race, really.”
It was a different kind of drag for Dumoulin who now finds himself with a prospect of trying to gain a minute on Yates in the the high mountains, a terrain where the Briton has shown himself to be unbeatable. “At the moment if I attack, he’ll attack me twice as hard, so I don’t know what the plan is going to be,” said Dumoulin. “I didn’t think about my tactics out during the TT. I’ll think about it maybe tomorrow. Right now Yates is just too strong for me.
He’s not giving up but he’s not expecting any miracles, either. Today, the World individual time trial champion didn’t have enough fast to get the job done.