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Dumoulin stuns Froome, Martin to win time-trial world title

Update: September, 21/2017 - 12:00
Netherlands’ Tom Dumoulin celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men elite individual time trial at the UCI Cycling Road World Championships on September 20. — AFP Photo
Viet Nam News

Cycling

BERGEN — Dutchman Tom Dumoulin took a stunning victory in the men’s time-trial at the the world championships in Bergen on Wednesday.

Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic finished second almost a minute back with Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Froome of Britain third.

Four-time world champion Tony Martin could finish only ninth as the punishing final 3.4km climb to the finish of the 31km course penalised the powerful German.

Having finished third behind Bradley Wiggins and Martin in 2014 and second to Fabian Cancellara at last year’s Rio Olympics, this was a first major global time-trial title for Dumoulin, whose Sunweb outfit claimed team time-trial gold on Sunday.

"I can’t believe it, wow! It’s really amazing, it’s such a good day," said Dumoulin, who finished in a time of 44min 41sec.

"I thought the power meter was off because it was so high! I felt really, really good. It started raining and I had to take the corners really slowly, especially in the climb.

"The back wheel was slipping. I had a TT (time-trial) bike because I thought it would be dry."

The 26-year-old is enjoying the best year of his career having also won May’s Giro d’Italia, his first Grand Tour success.

Having picked up two gold medals already at this championships, Dumoulin is even eying a third in this coming Sunday’s 276.5km road race.

"It was amazing last Sunday, it was very surprising that we won as a team," he told Norwegian television.

"It was an amazing day. Today was less surprising, I think I was one of the favourites but then it’s even more difficult to make it and stay calm.

"I still have the road race so I’m still focused. There will definitely be some celebrations tonight and tomorrow, and then I’ll focus on Sunday."

The finishing climb to the course in Bergen meant the race favoured good climbers and Dumoulin was expected to face stiff competition from Froome and Rohan Dennis of Australia.

Dennis was second behind Dumoulin at the second and third time-checks but a crash on the slippery, wet course cost him a significant amount of time and he had dropped to 21st by the fourth check.

He recovered to finish eighth but some 1min 37sec behind Dumoulin.

’He’s flying’

Froome, who 10 days ago completed a Tour-Vuelta double, seemed a little off the pace at the beginning. Whereas the roads had been dry half an hour earlier, he was amongst the final group that had to contend with rain.

The four-time Tour champion worked his way up from 19th at the first time check to seventh by the fifth and final one ahead of the climb.

From there he gobbled up time on all those ahead of him, except Dumoulin who came close to catching him despite starting 90 seconds afterwards.

"Coming into the last kilometre I was obviously going full gas but I could hear the crowd cheering behind me," said Froome, 32.

"At one point I glanced over my shoulder and could see the orange jersey coming and thought ’he’s flying!’"

Froome was magnanimous in defeat.

"Obviously he (Dumoulin) has had a fantastic season winning the Giro and then focusing on this world title.

"He was by far the strongest man out on road today, no question there."

The biggest surprise came from former champion ski-jumper Roglic, who was ninth at the final time-check but produced the fastest climb of anyone -- and half a minute quicker than Froome -- to surge up to second.

"For sure it’s really nice to finish in that company with such good riders," said Roglic, who admitted he may now have to set his goals higher and challenge for Grand Tours.

"I probably have to think about it and try to develop in that direction." — AFP

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