Ri­vals dream of an­other Du­moulin ‘bad legs’ day

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ASIAGO: Two-time cham­pion Vin­cenzo Nibali joined fel­low ri­vals in wish­ing an­other “bad legs” day on Giro d’Italia hope­ful Tom Du­moulin when the time­trial brings a dra­matic end to the 100th edi­tion.

A day after los­ing the pink jersey to Colom­bia’s 2014 cham­pion Nairo Quin­tana due to “bad legs” on an epic day of climb­ing through the Dolomites, Sun­web team leader Du­moulin was in far bet­ter form on Satur­day.

Re­pelling a se­ries of at­tacks by Nibali (Bahrain), race leader Nairo Quin­tana (Mo­vis­tar) and French­man Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) dur­ing a tense fi­nale to the 20th stage, Du­moulin came over the fin­ish of the 190 km ride from Por­de­none to Asiago only 15secs in ar­rears his vic­tory ri­vals.

Quin­tana, the 2014 cham­pion, now leads 2013 and 2016 win­ner Nibali by 39secs, with Giro debu­tant Pinot third over­all at 43 and Du­moulin fourth at 53.

Given his crush­ing time trial vic­tory on stage 10, Du­moulin re­mains firmly in con­tention to be­come the first Dutch win­ner of the three-week race.

But Nibali is hop­ing their col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts at drop­ping Du­moulin take their toll.

“For sure, Du­moulin also had to work hard to­day,” said Nibali. “It wasn’t easy by a long shot. On the climb over (the Monte) Grappa we re­ally gave it every­thing, try­ing to tire Du­moulin out.

“Then on the Foza (climb) I im­me­di­ately turned the screw, although I was afraid for how well Quin­tana was go­ing.”

Nibali’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Quin­tana and Pinot in the fi­nal kilo­me­tres of the Foza climb, and the 15 km rolling stretch to Asiago, ul­ti­mately handed the French­man his maiden Giro stage win.

But it kept Du­moulin on his toes, and Quin­tana – on pa­per a far weaker time tri­al­list than the Olympic sil­ver medal­list from Rio – isn’t ready to ca­pit­u­late.

“It might not be enough, but it might just be,” said the diminu­tive climber when asked about his cush­ion over Du­moulin.

“We all fin­ished the stage very tired. Now, we have to wait till to­mor­row to see how the legs are. AFP

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