Du­moulin ham­mers ri­vals to take Giro lead

New Straits Times - - Sport -

OROPA: Race leader Tom Du­moulin fur­ther un­der­lined his Giro d’Italia cre­den­tials as he won the 14th stage af­ter a dra­matic sum­mit fin­ish in Oropa on Satur­day.

When the Dutch Team Sun­web rider could not fol­low Nairo Quin­tana as the Colom­bian at­tacked with four kilo­me­tres left of the 131km stage from Castel­la­nia in the day’s only climb, he looked set to lose time to his near­est ri­val.

Yet, sus­tain­ing a high pace, he caught the Mo­vis­tar leader and at­tacked in the last 300 me­tres to beat Rus­sian Il­nur Zakarin (Ka­tusha) by three sec­onds and Spain’s Mikel Landa by nine while Quin­tana ended up fourth 14 sec­onds be­hind.

Over­all, Du­moulin now leads Quin­tana by two min­utes 47 sec­onds and France’s Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who was fifth 35 sec off the pace on Satur­day, by 3:25.

Du­moulin, a time trial spe­cial­ist with de­cent climb­ing abil­i­ties, was ex­pected to lose time on his big­gest ri­vals in the last as­cent but he man­aged his ef­fort per­fectly to in­crease his lead.

Quin­tana’s orig­i­nal at­tack split the group of favourites and Dutch­man Bauke Mollema (Trek Se­gafredo), who started the day in third place over­all, cracked, los­ing al­most two min­utes as he slipped to fifth.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Vin­cenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) fol­lowed closely with Zakarin, Landa and Du­moulin, but when the Dutch­man upped the tempo and even­tu­ally leapfrogged by Pinot in the fi­nal kilo­me­tre.

Nibali is fourth, 3:40 be­hind Du­moulin, who will face his big­gest test in Tues­day’s 16th stage fea­tur­ing a series of three daunt­ing as­cents which should favour the pure climbers.

Du­moulin has never reached the podium of a grand tour al­though he came close in the 2015 Tour of Spain, end­ing up sixth af­ter los­ing the leader’s jer­sey in the penul­ti­mate stage. Reuters

Tom Du­moulin

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