Tom Dumoulin of Sunweb fulfilled the high expectations for him on the Giro d’Italia’s 10th stage, the wine country time trial... and more. The Dutch crono ace smashed all competition with a dominant stage victory over Sky’s Geraint Thomas and Quick Step’s Bob Jungels, grabbing the maglia rosa by a comfortable 2.23 from overnight leader Nairo Quintana of Movistar. Dumoulin came out fast from the first drop down the starthouse ramp and never really let up, while the Colombian struggled badly at first and moderately over the rest of the course to limit his losses.
Luis Leon Sanchez was the early leader, but once the Bigs got going he and the other hopeful early starters were swept away. Two days after his disappointing crash added five minutes to his GC position, Thomas got things started, storming the road and coming through quickest at the second split after trailing Jungels at the first split by a mere 2 seconds. Adam Yates, also wounded (competitively) on the Blockhaus crash, dropped an additional minute to Thomas. Thomas came in a full 51 seconds ahead of the then-leader Sanchez and took the stage lead at the end, with Jungels second at seven seconds back.
2016 Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali of Bahrain-Merida was slow at the first split, 18th place at the first split and going backwards, seeing his hopes of a repeat fading fast. But he had a plan, picking up speed as the race went on, in keeping with his competent history in the discipline, and was a very respectable sixth at the finish, 2.07 behind the Dutchman.
Quintana, meanwhile, struggled to maintain his status as the overall favorite for victory. While being OK at the discipline for a small-bodied climbing specialist, he dropped 48 seconds at the first time check, a doubly-dramatic moment when he had to bunny-hop the concrete strip in the road as he passed through to avert complete disaster (for now). Second-placed Thibaut Pinot of FDJ was shipping precious time as well, 1.42 back of Thomas at the second check, which was still 27 seconds better than Quintana. Bauke Mollema of Trek had a bit more in him as he finished tenth on the stage, nine spots and 25 seconds better than Pinot, enough to move him into third overall by two seconds.
Quintana did decently in the final stretch, keeping his stage deficit under three minutes and holding on to second place, 15 seconds ahead of Mollema (17” on Pinot, 24” on Nibali). This result should make for a thrilling conclusion to the race, as these four climbers make for a mini-peloton, rowing along the roads of Italy in the same small boat. Their quarry is a crono ace who has the tendency to climb well for a while, but possibly not forever, as Fabio Aru found out in the 2015 Vuelta a Espana when he finally broke Dumoulin’s grip on the race in the final stage. Whether they can work over the Dutchman — and each other — in the final stages of the race will determine the winner of the Giro d’Italia.
It’s still a tall task for Dumoulin, frankly. There is perhaps another 90 seconds waiting for him on the final day of the race, but whether he can hang on in the mountains and prevent from losing some four minutes will be a source of increasing drama as the race progresses. Stage 14 on Saturday kicks off the climbing portion, followed by a final week that includes the Stelvio triple-mountain day, a Dolomite delight, and the last mountaintop finish to Piancavallo where Dumoulin and his depleted Sunweb team will be hanging on for dear life.
- Tom Dumoulin, Sunweb
- Geraint Thomas, Sky, at 0.49
- Bob Jungels, Quick Step, at 0.56
- Luis Leon Sanchez, Astana, at 1.40
- Vasil Kiryienka, Sky, at 2.00
- Vincenzo Nibali, Bahrain Merida, at 2.07
- Maxime Monfort, Lotto-Soudal, at 2.13
- Jos van Emden, LottoNL-Jumbo, at 2.15
- Andrey Amador, Movistar, at 2.16
- Bauke Mollema, Trek, at 2.17
- Nairo Quintana, Movistar, at 2.23
- Mollema, at 2.38
- Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, at 2.40
- Nibali, at 2.47
- Jungels, at 3.56
- Domenico Pozzovivo, AG2R, at 4.05
- Ilnur Zakarin, Katusha, at 4.17
- Amador, at 4.39
- Steven Kruijswijk, LottoNL-Jumbo, at 5.19
For full classifications go here.