Tom Dumoulin: the nearly man of 2018

In a year of Grand Tours ruled by dominant Brits, it’s easy to overlook those riders who shared the final podiums. One such rider is Dutch powerhouse Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) who featured not once, but twice. After an incredible 2017 season, a lot was expected of Dumoulin going into 2018. However, not everything went to plan…

In a year of Grand Tours ruled by dominant Brits, it’s easy to overlook those riders who shared the final podiums. One such rider is Dutch powerhouse Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) who featured not once, but twice. After an incredible 2017 season, a lot was expected of Dumoulin going into 2018. However, not everything went to plan…

Triple crown

With a pink jersey and rainbow bands to his name, Dumoulin had become a regular feature atop the favourites list of every 2018 race he entered, and with good reason. 2017 saw him winning two stages on route to GC victory at the Giro d’Italia, the Binckbank Tour overall, and both the Dutch National and World Championship individual time trial titles. Were we looking at the first rider who could mount a successful campaign against the indomitable Chris Froome?

Alas, a resurgent Froome made it three Grand Tours from three by snatching the Giro d’Italia in the eleventh hour as Tom Dumoulin fought his way into an exhausted second. Then in July, it turned out that the greatest threat to Froome’s fifth yellow jersey was sitting on his own team bus, putting a major spanner in the Sunweb rider’s efforts. Nevertheless, a dogged Dumoulin rode consistently on Geraint Thomas’s coattails, pipping Froome to second overall in Paris.

Once a world champion…

After last year’s excellent efforts in both the team and individual time trials, not to mention the ever-diminishing list of winning opportunities, Dumoulin headed for the 2018 World Championships in Innsbruck with high hopes. Unfortunately, the story is much the same as above. He and his Sunweb teammates failed to defend their 2017 title, losing eighteen seconds to Quick-Step Floors. A few days later, it was 1’21” which separated Dumoulin from new world champion Rohan Dennis.

The big Dutchman’s devastation was palpable following the individual time trial and he clearly carried some of that aggression into the road race. Though he just missed out on the podium, many would agree that his was one of the more heroic rides of the day, constantly yo-yoing back into the front group of contenders on the incredibly tough course, determined to go down fighting.

It’s not all doom and gloom

Ok, so it might not have been his most successful year on paper, but it would be remiss of anyone to suggest that 2018 has been a write-off. First things first, there are those two grand tour stage wins, one of them coming with the first pink jersey of the Giro d’Italia.

Granted, no one remembers who came second or third, as the saying goes, but cast your eye down Dumoulin’s list of 2018 results and you’ll see a very consistent and – for anyone else – a hugely successful season.

What’s more, he continues to be a charismatic and smiling presence at nearly all the races he participates in. Yes, he’s also got a familiar steely-eyed mask of disappointment, but that’s why we love him. Dumoulin is a rider who is relatable, generous with his time and popular throughout the peloton and the cycling world. Also, his sense of humour and self-mockery is unparalleled…

There are many people and equipment that this great champion could not have done without over the last few years, and none more so than the brilliantly versatile, all-round race machine, the Giant TCR. A bike designed for riding hard on the flat just as confidently as it flies uphill, this lightweight carbon frame has accompanied Dumoulin to some of his biggest victories, including the overall title at the 2017 Giro d’Italia.

For more information about the Giant TCR, click here, or visit one of our stores where our staff will be only too happy to answer your questions.

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