If you’d have told me on Saturday morning that come Sunday night after the conclusion of the long individual time-trial that Tom Dumoulin would be sitting almost one minute off the overall lead and behind the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde, I’d have thought you were nuts. Saturday didn’t look exceptionally tough on paper and Sunday’s TT was tailor made for the big Dutchman.
As it is in reality, Dumoulin has had a weekend to forgot. An implosion on Saturday clearly left his legs too tired to recover on time for Sunday and while he still bettered the time of his main rivals, he did only finish 15th and is left with his GC ambitions hanging by a thread with all the major climbing stages still to come.
Indeed it would appear that Dumoulin may now decide to lose time in a bid to later win a stage, especially now that the time-trial stage he had hoped to win for himself has come and gone. Perhaps he was right after all when he told us that he wasn’t in this GC race for the long haul but to try retain the jersey for as long as he could before accepting his fate, and that he hadn’t trained at altitude unlike the others. Maybe he wasn’t bluffing. Of course, he remains with a minute of the overall lead and closer still to the men expected to compete for the overall glory, but the mountains are their terrain and Dumoulin looked shaky on that climb on Saturday.
The weather was awful too for the TT, but not that it could be used as any excuse. Sure the surprise winning time of Primoz Roglic was set on dry roads, but others who faced the same conditions put time into Dumoulin while the climbing sort he must have hoped to bury today, did not lose anywhere near what we thought they might.
Actually, when the dust settles on this time-trial I think we’ll look back on it as not holding anywhere near the significance it might have. Look below at how riders like Nibali, Landa and Valverde fared against one another to see the small time splits.
|10. Andrey Amador
15. Tom Dumoulin
19. Vincenzo Nibali
20. Mikel Landa
21. Steven Kruijswijk
22. Alejandro Valverde
31. Rafal Majka
33. Ryder Hesjedal
51. Esteban Chaves”
64. Rigoberto Uran
in 53′ 04″
@ 1′ 01″
@ 1′ 04″
@ 1′ 05″
@ 1′ 38″
@ 1′ 39″
@ 2′ 29″
@ 2′ 53″
Andrey Amador had a fantastic day to gain solid time and now sits 3rd overall; likewise Mikel Landa will be delighted with the fact he did not lose major time to the likes of Nibali; but Hesjedal, Chaves and Uran will all be disappointed with their showings.
The general classification remains extremely compact. Gianluca Brambilla, riding in the pink jersey, done just enough to keep it on his shoulders, retaining it by a single second from his Etixx – Quick Step team-mate Bob Jungles who had a fantastic time-trial, finishing in 6th place in the wet, 45sec behind Roglic. The top 7 on GC remain within 1min of one another, with Kruijswijk, Nibali, Valverde, Landa and Majka in particular all separated by just 54sec.
There’s a rest day tomorrow before battle commences once more. Stage 10 is a hilly day with an uphill finish, before pan flat stages of 11 and 12, but then two days in the high mountains followed by an uphill 10.8km time-trial takes us into the final rest day with, surely, a much clearer picture of who remains in contention.
2016 Giro d’Italia, stage 9 (ITT) result:
|1. Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo)
2. Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling)
3. Vegard Stake Laengen (IAM Cycling)
4. Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo)
5. Anton Vorbyev (Katusha)
6. Bob Jungles (Etixx – Quick Step)
General classification after stage 9:
|1. Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick Step)
2. Bob Jungels (Etixx – Quick Step)
3. Andrey Amador (Movistar)
4. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo)
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
6. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
in 34h 33′ 04″