Cycling news - Tom Dumoulin: ‘I confirmed my shape is good for spring’
Despite disappointment following a narrow queen stage loss to UAE Tour race leader Primoz Roglic, 2017 Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin finds added confidence heading into the ‘Race of the Two Seas’ and beyond…
After hitting the tarmac just five kilometres into the start of the 180-kilometre penultimate stage at the inaugural UAE Tour in Ajman on Friday, Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin found himself nursing an injured leg and contemplating retiring from the seven-stage UCI WorldTour road race.
However, those thoughts soon dissipated as the 28-year-old Dutchman was among the remaining 126 riders pushing onward in an attempt to reel in a five-man break that had stretched the gap to more than eight minutes toward the mountain top finish.
With the last rider, American Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team), being caught under 3km to go, it was the 2017 individual time trial world champion crushing the cranks in an effort to claim the stage ahead of race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma). Unfortunately, Dumoulin was unable to fend off the surging Roglic and was relegated to second behind the former Slovenian ski jumper on the queen stage finale at Jebel Jais.
Despite being disappointed with the early stage crash and eventual loss to Roglic, the Dumoulin is nonetheless bolstered by his performance over the 20km climb with gradients peaking around 7 per cent inside the final 2km.
“Condition was good,” explained the nine-time Grand Tour stage winner after the race. “Actually, I was in a crash after 5km, I was almost quitting the race because I had a lot of problems with my leg. I over-stretched it somehow in the crash.
“For about an hour I thought about quitting and I thought it didn’t make any sense to continue and I got second at the end of the day,” continued Dumoulin, who suffered multiple bike mechanicals at the Abu Dhabi Tour last year before that WorldTour race subsequently merged with the Dubai Tour (UCI 2.HC) to form the UAE race (2.UWT) this year.
“I knew the form was good. That’s why I was also so very disappointed when I crashed, that it wasn’t meant to be again like last time.
“Luckily, I had a good go for it, but Roglic was too strong.”
With Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and Liege-Bastogne-Liège all tentatively scheduled on the 2017 Giro d’Italia winner’s programme before he returns to Italy for another crack at the maglia rosa in May, Dumoulin is re-assured that his form is on the right track regardless of his earlier UAE results.
“At least I confirmed that my shape is good,” claimed Dumoulin, who failed to make the top 10 in the two previous uphill finishes, including Jebel Hafeet on Stage 3 in Abu Dhabi and the more sprinter friendly Hatta Dam outside Dubai a day later. “I knew that beforehand, [but] because of some reason, I was not very good at the other summit hill finish, but now is OK.”