Du­moulin dom­i­nates time trial

Af­ter win­ning Fri­day’s Tour stage by more than a minute, Dutch­man look­ing for­ward to Rio

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - AN­DREW DAMPF LA CAV­ERNE DU PONT-D’ARC, FRANCE —

Tom Du­moulin had this day cir­cled on his calendar for months.

The Dutch cy­clist knew that the open­ing time trial of the Tour de France per­fectly suited his strengths.

But when he awoke on Fri­day to the news of the truck at­tack in nearby Nice that left at least 84 peo­ple dead, many of them chil­dren, his plans went out the win­dow.

“I went out of fo­cus this morn­ing, which is nor­mal I guess, when you hear about these ter­ri­ble things hap­pen­ing just a few hun­dred kilo­me­tres away from you,” Du­moulin said. “But I just went for it and it was a very good time trial. To win with more than a minute on (Chris) Froome and ev­ery­one else is some­thing I didn’t ex­pect, and it gives me a lot of con­fi­dence.”

Start­ing well be­fore the race’s over­all lead­ers on a day fea­tur­ing 70-km/h (45-mph) winds, Du­moulin dom­i­nated the 37.5-kilo­me­tre race against the clock from Bourg-Saint-An­deol to La Cav­erne du Pont-D’arc, the dec­o­rated cave that con­tains hu­man draw­ings from about 30,000 years ago.

Du­moulin won the 13th stage with a mas­sive ad­van­tage of 63 sec­onds on Froome, with Por­tu­gal time trial cham­pion Nel­son Oliveira plac­ing third, 1:31 back.

It was Du­moulin’s sec­ond stage vic­tory of this Tour af­ter he also claimed Stage 9 with a solo break­away through a hail­storm on a moun­tain-top fin­ish in An­dorra.

Few rid­ers be­sides the top over­all con­tenders can win both a big moun­tain stage and a time trial in the same Grand Tour. In ad­di­tion to two stages in last year’s Span­ish Vuelta, Du­moulin also won the open­ing time trial in this year’s Giro d’Italia, and wore the pink jer­sey for six stages be­fore with­draw­ing mid­way through the race with sad­dle sores.

So when might the Team Gi­ant-Alpecin rider at­tempt to win a Grand Tour?

“I’ve been asked that a lot of times,” Du­moulin said. “But also win­ning by a minute in a time trial is not pos­si­ble when you go full gas ev­ery day. So there’s a bit of per­spec­tive. I will def­i­nitely be fo­cus­ing on the GC (gen­eral clas­si­fi­ca­tion) in a Grand Tour in the fu­ture but I can­not say when that will be.”

Du­moulin is 40th over­all, nearly an hour be­hind race leader Froome.

More im­por­tantly, he con­sid­ers him­self the favourite for the time trial at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. “I am. I can­not deny that af­ter to­day,” Du­moulin said. “I have to main­tain my con­di­tion to main­tain that. I will not go full out ev­ery day. I’ll keep pick­ing my days and hope­fully it will pay off in Rio.”

PETER DEJONG, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tour de France cy­clists paid trib­ute Fri­day to vic­tims of the pre­vi­ous night’s ter­ror at­tacks in Nice, France. Bri­tain’s Chris Froome, front left, re­tained the yel­low jer­sey af­ter Fri­day’s time trial, which was won by Dutch­man Tom Du­moulin, front right.

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