‘Ter­ri­ble’ toi­let stop wrecks Du­moulin’s hopes

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BORMIO: Giro d’Italia leader Tom Du­moulin suf­fered a “ter­ri­ble” day but re­fused to blame his ri­vals for cap­i­tal­is­ing on an un­sched­uled toi­let stop that badly hurt his over­all vic­tory hopes on Tues­day.

The Sun­web team rider started the “Queen” moun­tain stage of the 100th edi­tion with a lead of 2min 41sec on Colom­bian climb­ing spe­cial­ist and 2014 cham­pion Nairo Quin­tana (Mo­vis­tar), and with high hopes of be­com­ing the first Dutch­man to win the pink jer­sey.

But by the end of the 222km ride from Rovetta to Bormio — won by Italy’s Vin­cenzo Nibali (Bahrain team) — Du­moulin’s dream was shat­tered af­ter see­ing his lead over Quin­tana slashed to 31 sec­onds.

There were some sug­ges­tions his ri­vals had shown poor sports­man­ship, at­tack­ing while he made a des­per­ate toi­let stop fol­low­ing the first of two as­cen­sions of the Stelvio climb.

“I don’t know, it’s dif­fi­cult to say,” said Du­moulin, when asked if he was an­gry.

In pro­fes­sional cy­cling ri­vals of­ten wait for each other fol­low­ing un­ex­pected in­ci­dents to en­sure a fair bat­tle.

On Sun­day, Mo­vis­tar leader Quin­tana thanked Du­moulin for slow­ing the pace of the pelo­ton when he crashed so he could catch up.

In con­trast, no teams slowed when Du­moulin suf­fered his mishap, the Dutch­man forced to hur­riedly throw his bike into the grass and rip off his cy­cling shorts in des­per­a­tion as he suf­fered a bout of di­ar­rhoea.

“It was a race sit­u­a­tion, we were go­ing full gas and I didn’t ex­pect them to stop,” added Du­moulin.

In the end, he bat­tled on the sec­ond as­cen­sion of the Stelvio to crest the snow-hit sum­mit 2:06 be­hind Quin­tana and Nibali, and con­tin­ued his valiant ef­fort on the sinewy down­hill to come over the line 2:17 in ar­rears af­ter Nibali beat Span­ish ri­val Mikel Landa (Sky) in a two-up sprint to end the hosts’ long wait for a stage win on the 100th edi­tion.

With an­other four moun­tain stages still to come, time-trial spe­cial­ist Du­moulin was left de­spon­dent.

“I’m still in (the leader’s jer­sey) but not with the lead I had hoped for,” a de­jected-look­ing Du­moulin said at the fin­ish.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed with my­self. I lost two min­utes not be­cause I had bad legs, just be­cause I had other prob­lems.

“It was ter­ri­ble. I had to stop be­cause I couldn’t hold it any­more.

“I had to fight and fight and fight, and take con­clu­sions af­ter the fin­ish. That’s what I did. I’m very dis­ap­pointed with to­day.”

Nibali, who sug­gested Du­moulin had “not been feed­ing right” or per­haps suf­fered a chill due to the “cold tem­per­a­tures“, had lit­tle sym­pa­thy for the Dutch­man.

“It wasn’t a crash,” said Nibali when asked if he and the pelo­ton had thought to stop and wait.

“No one has ever stopped and waited for me when­ever I’ve ever had a prob­lem, and I’ve had plenty in the past whether it’s be­ing sick, a crash or a flat tire.

“Maybe I’ll be at­tacked for what I say but if you look at the his­tory of cy­cling, there are plenty of in­ci­dents of rid­ers at­tack­ing their ri­vals in such cir­cum­stances.”

Now in third place over­all at 1:12 be­hind Du­moulin, Nibali is back in with a fight­ing chance of win­ning his home race on its 100th edi­tion.

But af­ter the hosts waited 16 stages to cel­e­brate a home win, he said: “Climb­ing the Mor­tirolo and the Stelvio — the high­est peak on this year’s race — twice? This is a great stage win for me.

“The only re­gret I have is not putting my hands up at the fin­ish to cel­e­brate. But I was too busy sprint­ing.” AFP

I’m dis­ap­pointed with my­self. I lost two min­utes not be­cause I had bad legs, just be­cause I had other prob­lems.



Vin­cenzo Nibali cel­e­brates af­ter win­ning the 16th stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia on Tues­day.

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