Who is Samuel Dumoulin?
In today's stage, the finale played out among four riders, Paolo Longo, Romain Feillu, Samuel Dumoulin, and Will Frischkorn. Dumoulin jumped first from the four, a move which Frischkorn quickly covered. Feillu bluffed, sitting on Longo's wheel. Upon the realization that Longo lacked the legs to cross the gap, Feillu went across, pausing only a moment before riding over the top of the front duo, Dumoulin and Frischkorn. For a few moments, it looked as though Feillu's move had succeeded, and he would not only wear the Yellow Jersey of race leader, but also win the stage. As the final meters counted down, Dumoulin clawed his way back across to Feillu, with Frischkorn on his wheel. Frischkorn could not come around, and Dumoulin took the win on the line.
Who is Samuel Dumoulin? Professional since 2002, Samuel Dumoulin joined Cofidis this season, signing a one year contract (with option to renew) after four years with AG2R. Dumoulin counts among his results numerous successes in French races, including a stage win at the Dauphiné Libéré, and is a twice national champion on the track. Though Dumoulin has a nice turn of speed, he is not a bunch sprinter. He finishes best from a small group after a hard day of racing. Today certainly stands as his greatest victory to date, as he has never before won a Tour stage. A dream come true.
Last year was a season of crashes for Dumoulin, including a fall at the May Tour de Catalogne on an 80 km/hr descent. In August, he crashed again at the Tour de l'Ain. Little wonder he had few results of note last season. At the beginning of this year, he told velo101.com that he hoped that he had "eaten his black bread," or paid his dues, in that regard, and would have better luck this season.
Despite poor weather in his home region of Savoie, Dumoulin did a good winter and came to the season on form. Earlier this season, he won a stage at Circuit du Sarthe, signalling a turn toward good form, and raising his hopes for the French national championship. Unfortunately, a crash and a slow bike change in the finale left him too far behind to contest the finish at nationals. Dumoulin was furious at this disappointment, since he had good legs on the day. No doubt today's stage win goes far toward erasing that disappointment. Dumoulin has dedicated today's victory to Hervé Duclos-LaSalle, his team mate at Cofidis who abandoned the Tour on the first stage.
When not racing his bike, Dumoulin likes to play video games, and he says his biggest fault is impatience. Or so claims his official website. In an interview with veloclub.net, Dumoulin commented that he is nervous on the bike, and would race better if he could be more "serene" on the road. Today, he was first to jump from the break, which may have been a result of his impatience. But in the end, it worked out, as he forced the faster sprinter in the group, Feillu, to go early. It was a close run thing, for sure, but Dumoulin had the legs to finish the game.
At the time of his transfer to Cofidis, Dumoulin said that he aimed this year to justify the confidence Eric Boyer, his DS, had shown in hiring him. In this, he must surely have succeeded today. Chapeau Dumoulin!
For a brief profile of the new Yellow Jersey, Romain Feillu, see my previous post on young riders.