Dumoulin clinches Netherlands' second Elite TT gold in 2017 UCI Road World Championships
Tom Dumoulin has captured the Netherlands' second Elite Time Trial gold medal in the 2017 UCI Road World Championships, clinching the victory just 24 hours after compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten triumphed in the women’s event.
Already victorious with his Team Sunweb squad in the men’s team time trial on Sunday, Dumoulin’s triumph in the individual race against the clock saw him complete the course a convincing 57 seconds faster than Slovenian Primoz Roglic, whilst Great Britain’s Chris Froome took home the bronze, 1:21 back.
Bronze medallist in the 2014 UCI World Championships tIme trial, fifth in 2015 and seventh last year, Dumoulin has been close to the Elite Men’s victory for several years. But in a season where the 26-year-old rider from Maastricht has already captured his country’s first ever Giro d’Italia, Dumoulin has now raised the bar even higher by becoming the Netherlands’ first ever UCI World Champion in the Elite Men's time trial.
“I can’t believe it, I had such a good day, I thought my power meter was off because it was so high,” Dumoulin said afterwards after he had completed the 31 kilometre course.
“Doing the double [with team time trial gold] is amazing, Sunday was amazing but today [Wednesday] maybe less surprising. I was still one of the favourites, which made it even more difficult to stay calm. But I did that and I was on a good day.”
Dumoulin is also the first rider in history to take a UCI Road World Championships time trial with a summit finish, at the top of the ultra-steep three kilometre Mount Floyen. Egged on by thousands of Norwegian fans, and despite the rain which fell heavily in the final hour, Dumoulin said he had been cautious, but not overly so on the narrow, well-surfaced climb.
“I took the corners really slowly, particularly on the lower slopes where my tyres on my time trial bike kept slipping - I’d thought it was going to be dr.” Dumoulin said.
Asked about the decision not to change bikes, Dumoulin added, "I’m one of the guys who can do a good climb on a TT bike, I have no problems handling it, so it was the right decision I think.”
"There are no excuses. The conditions were the same for Tom Dumoulin who won behind me,” said bronze medallist Froome, together with Dumoulin a key pre-race favourite.
“A massive congratulations to Tom.. I’m just glad I’ve got no regrets. I gave it everything I had and I’d much rather be here and get a bronze then be at home wondering 'what if?'. The question has been answered and now it’s time to put my feet up.”
However, a large proportion of Dumoulin’s winning margin was taken before the climb itself on the fast, rolling double circuit through Bergen, despite the late rainfall. Third fastest at the first checkpoint, once he had settled into a steady pace, Dumoulin began clocking the top interemediate times and opened up a gap of 40 seconds ahead of closest pursuer Tony Martin at the foot of the climb. On the ascent itself, of the top finishers only Roglic managed to regain time on Dumoulin, snipping five seconds off the Dutchman’s advantage to close to a deficit of 57 seconds by the summit.
Whilst Roglic and Dumoulin marked times that seemed all but inassailable, the battle for bronze was - once again - a much tougher one. Former National TT Champion Nelson Oliveira of Portugal, sixth last year in Qatar, made a very slow start, but then gave it everything on the climb. Oliveira even managed to fend off a much steadier performance by former World TT Champion Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus) by less than three tenths of a second, and finally only Froome was able to oust Oliveira from the podium.
Two other potential medallists, France’s Alexis Gougeard and Australia’s Rohan Dennis were unlucky. Gougeard had a mechanical on the climb itself, slumping from fourth best at its foot to 13th whilst Dennis stayed within 10 seconds of Dumoulin on the flatter sections before crashing, hurting his right knee. Dennis still courageously made it into the top ten, though, in eighth place.
Meanwhile Dumoulin, having conquered the team time trial with Sunweb and the individual time trial, is now looking ahead to Sunday and the Elite Men’s Road Race.
“I’m still focused,” Dumoulin said. “There’ll be some celebrations tonight and tomorrow and then it’s all about Sunday.”
After Thursday’s break from racing, Friday sees the first road races take place: first, the Junior Women and then the Under-23 Men.