Samuel Dumoulin had an extremely successful Volta a Catalunya, winning two stages thanks to his fast sprint finish. The Cofidis rider won on Friday in Tarragona, besting Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and then continued in the same vein on the final stage on Sunday, beating Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky) and Kenny De Haes (Omega Pharma).
Dumoulin, one of the smallest riders in the bunch, was overjoyed to have taken his fourth victory of the season, as well as scoring the first, precious UCI WorldTour points for his Cofidis team.
"It's a great personal satisfaction," the Frenchman told L'Equipe. "When you win in front of Contador, Basso, Evans or Menchov, you take a certain pride in it. So if you win twice, you're on cloud nine..."
Dumoulin admitted his second win in Barcelona was unexpected. "Contrary to the stage to Tarragona, which ended in a false flat uphill which suited me well, I thought that this large and perfectly flat finish wouldn't be for me. I start the stage without any pressure and didn't think I'd ask my teammates to work, as they had already done a remarkable job for me during the previous few days. So I just stayed out of the wind and then I saw that Rojas and Cardoso (who finished fourth and fifth) were watching each other. I took the wheel of an Omega rider (Kenny de Haes) and I was able to pass him on the line. I'm happy with my how I did it!"
It could be argued that the big-name sprinters did not ride the Volta a Catalunya. but Dumoulin pointed out that "every race needs to be won. The race line-up is not important. Besides, it's precisely when the big ones aren't there that you have to win. If you're not able to win when there's nobody else around, it's annoying."
The Frenchman, winner of a Tour de France stage in 2008, has gained precious experience and now feels ready to target more important victories.
"What I'd really like now is to win a big Classic," he said. "Honestly, with the experience I've got now, I'm convinced that I'm able to win Amstel Gold Race one day, and that's not a hollow boast. It suits me really well. Why not this year?"