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Meet the New Tongue

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I won't sully my nice family blog with pictures of such things, but there's a new tongue in town, and it's attached to this week's sensation Thomas Dekker. As further evidence that Rabobank are having an astounding comeback season, Dekker, no longer the Younger vis-a-vis Erik but still a mere 22 years old, showed for the first time this season why he's considered Dutch Cycling's -- and Rabobank's -- next big thing. He clawed his way to the line in yesterday's winning break, just losing in a sprint on the Queen Stage of the Tour de Romandie, after four grueling cat-1 climbs. Today he flashed his other forte, time trialing, and beat an illustrious field for the stage and the overall victory.

Whenever someone wins a major race this early on in their career, it sets fans to wondering where this is headed. Dekker has shown his ability to both climb and time trial, the two main ingredients found in every Grand Tour winner. But it's a long way from Lausanne to Paris: today's time trial was a mere 24 km, and however punishing yesterday's stage was, it was the only such test in a five-day format. So while Dekker flashed his talent, he's got a lot of work to do before he can think about winning three-week races over far more difficult courses.

But he's given Rabobank, and Dutch fans, something to think about.