The early pace was set by Tinkoff-Saxo rider Maciej Bodnar. The Pole, an excellent time-triallist in his own right, took the hotseat early in the stage, and ended up sitting there for almost the duration of the stage. He was never expected to win the stage however, and by the time the GC leaders were starting, there must have been more than a hint of resignation in his eyes.
Dumoulin, starting the day in fourth place, and in his ordinary Giant skinsuit, started quickly, looking fluid - unlike his foes Aru and Rodríguez. The word "brick" has been used more than once today. - The Dutchman led through all the time checks, taking a big lead at the first check, and extending his lead all stage. Rafal Majka was less lucky, trailing by several minutes, and Rodríguez was worse still.
Alejandro Valverde was the second best of the GC contenders, finishing third at the end of the stage, only seconds down on Bodnar, gradually gaining through all the splits.
But it was Dumoulin who was the true str of the day. He constantly kept his speed over 50 kilometres an hour, shooting through the corners, and winning by over a minute.
"I had quite a lot of confidence, it was a course that suited me really well," the new red jersey said. "It's only three seconds, so I'm a little bit worried, but I'm going to celebrate this tonight with the guys. It's very possible I can [win]. We can control when the other teams attack us. It is only three seconds, it's very stressful, but it's the same for everyone. I'm only starting to believe it. The future looks pretty bright."
Despite his ride, his lead is not secure, even with no summit finishes left. Fabio Aru rode fantastically to limit his losses to 1'53", and is only three seconds behind Dumoulin. Katusha must go on the attack, but will Astana gamble everything on the chance of bonus seconds. Could this be the closest Grand Tour ever? We're set to find out over the coming few days.