The champagne is flowing, and rightly so, in the GIANT-Alpecin camp after victory from Tom Dumoulin in stage 1 of the Giro d’Italia. There can be few feelings more satisfying than taking a home win in one of the biggest races in the world; and when the pressure came on for Dumoulin he certainly delivered.
Speaking on the team website Dumoulin expressed his satisfaction at having won in front of his home crowd. “This is incredible,” he said. “Even better than I ever dreamed. To win by such a small gap before this incredible home crowd is a very special feeling. This is a huge success not only for me but also for the whole team.”
That small margin Dumoulin refers to with which he won the opening time trial was just 0.22 seconds in fact, with the Dutchman nearly being upstaged in front of his home crowd by Primož Roglič, a talented 26 year old from Slovenia racing for LottoNL-Jumbo. Roglič was a surprise challenger having only posted a best position of 24th in individual time trials this season so far – in the Tour of the Algarve in February – and in just his first year at World Tour level this surely bodes well for the 26 year old’s career.
In a post-race interview Dumoulin confirmed that victory today, his first Giro win in his first ever Giro d’Italia, will go down as one of the best in his young career. “It’s difficult [to say if it’s the best win of my career] but definitely one of my best days and maybe even my best. But I don’t want to compare days,” he said. “It wasn’t the best course for me, but I had luck on my side today which is what you need.”
The day was a great success for his teammates as well, as GIANT-Alpecin topped the team standings after day one; courtesy of Tobias Ludvigsson who took fourth, as well as Chad Haga and Georg Preidler, 12th and 13th respectively. Along with the rest of the team attention will now turn to trying to defend the lead. “We will try to defend this as long as possible with the team, and we have a good team for doing that,” Dumoulin said.
It’s interesting to note that Dumoulin has placed a very strong emphasis on trying to defend the jersey straight away, rather than approaching the next couple of flatter stages with a little more of a laid back approach and focussing on challenging in the mountains and latter time trials. If he simply tries to hold on to pink for as long as he can then he will likely burn his riders out around him a little early. But time will only tell for Dumoulin; who caused a major stir in the Vuelta a Espana by unexpectedly taking on the climbers and leading for six stages until the penultimate day of racing.