FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Tom Dumoulin’s status changed. The Dutchman of team Sunweb, winner of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, is now a favorite for any grand tour, says team Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué.
Dumoulin rode consistently throughout the Italian grand tour and overhauled Movistar’s star Nairo Quintana in the stage 21 time trial to Milan. In a sizzling Piazza del Duomo, the 26-year-old received the spiral trophy. To Unzué, that signaled the arrival of a new era.
“He progressed hugely. Probably his body is developing and he’s maturing,” Unzué said. “He’ll now be a favorite in any grand tour.”
Dumoulin placed second in the time trial but finished the Giro 31 ticks ahead of Quintana in the 3,609.1-kilometer race to win the pink jersey.
He became the first Dutchman to earn a grand tour victory since Joop Zoetemelk (1980 Tour de France), and the first to win the Giro in its 100-year history.
Unzué believes Dumoulin is opening a new grand tour chapter along with Quintana, Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors), Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), and Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale).
“More than improving, he needs to consolidate this consistency. The rest, he does well, he climbs and he time trials like no one else. At 26 years old, he is one of those cyclists,” Unzué said.
“Dumoulin won this one and he could’ve won the Vuelta a España two years ago, just losing it in the last 24 hours.
“In the Giro, he had luck in a couple of complicated moments, but for sure, he had a big Giro. He benefited from his time trial strength to make the differences and then in the climbs, you see he made big strides.”
Dumoulin stumbled into the role of grand tour leader in 2015, when midway through the Vuelta he and the team saw he had a chance of winning. In 2016, they focused only on stage wins — he won one in the Giro and two in the Tour — and the Olympic time trial — he placed second behind Fabian Cancellara.
He will race…