LA CAVERNE DU PONT-D’ARC, France (AP) 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 kilometers 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-kph (45-mph) winds, Dumoulin dominated the 37.5-kilometer (23-mile) 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 favorite 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.”
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