Tom Dumoulin has won the 2017 Giro d’Italia on the final day of racing. The Dutchman took the overall crown from Nairo Quintana, with Vincenzo Nibali third overall. The final stage though belonged to Jos van Emden of LottoNL-Jumbo who took the win in the final time trial.
29.3km from Monza to Milan would bring down the curtain on the 100th Giro d’Italia. The race had been memorable for its unpredictability, with Tom Dumoulin leading the race for the majority of the second half of the Giro, but not always convincingly; largely due to controversy during stage 16 where Dumoulin’s rivals attacked him while he was stopping for a nature break. Dumoulin lost 2.18mins to Nibali that day and 2.06mins to Quintana; and a minor war of words ensued. One had to wonder if that nature break could have cost Dumoulin the Giro as another bad day in stage 19 saw his lead wrestled from him and set back on the shoulders of Nairo Quintana with two days remaining.
Things looked better for Quintana as he put further distance between himself and Dumoulin in stage 20. Going into the time trial the Colombian had 39 seconds in hand over Vincenzo Nibali of Bahrain Merida, 43 seconds over Thibaut Pinot of FDJ, 53 seconds over Tom Dumoulin and 1.15mins over Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha-Alpecin.
But it is well known that against the clock, Dumoulin is far superior and it showed on the slightly downhill course. Jos van Emden started the day 121st overall and had a long wait in the hot seat to find out that he’d taken the win. Van Emden stopped the clock in 33.08mins and from there waited as Manuel Quinziato of BMC Racing, Vasil Kiryienka of Team Sky, Joey Rosskopf of BMC Racing slotted behind him on the standings.
But the battle was hottest at the top of the leaderboard with much to fight for. Would Quintana be able to come out and produce the time trial of his life? Was the course long enough for Dumoulin to make the significant gains necessary to not just get back on the podium; but back into pink? What of Nibali, a rider who was probably the most likely to come close to Dumoulin of the top five overall.
The answer came emphatically. At the first time check Dumoulin was just 2 seconds down on van Emden, with Nibali 19 seconds in arrears and Quintana 31 seconds back; slower even than Thibaut Pinot. Already then Dumoulin had gone from 4th place to second place overall and closed the gap to Quintana to 22 seconds.
It was at the second time check that the Dutch national time trial champion provisionally sat in the maglia rosa once again as he continued to stretch his lead over his GC rivals to 43 seconds to Nibali, and crucially 1.08mins to Quintana. That gap simply continued to stretch as Dumoulin looked every bit the picture of power, crossing the line 15 seconds down on Jos van Emden; but virtually assured of the overall win. He sat nervously at the finish line as the others crossed the line; but finally with just metres left of Quintana’s ride he was able to begin celebrating the fact that he’d just taken his first grand tour victory.
Quintana would eventually finish the stage 27th, holding on to second place overall by 9 seconds from Vincenzo Nibali who finished 40 seconds down on Dumoulin overall. Thibaut Pinot dropped down to fourth place, while Zakarin maintained his fifth place.