By Brecht Decaluwé in Caen
One of smallest riders in the peloton, Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R), loves the challenge. As he isn't fast enough to beat the big guys in a bunch sprint, he choose a different strategy yesterday: getting into a break.
He was already in an escape of eight, but the presence of Bram Tankink condemned the breakaway. Dumoulin didn't give in and tried again just as the group was brought back by the bunch. He was joined by Bjrörn Schröder for a long trip of 205 kilometres in the front, but their adventure ended two kilometres from the finish.
"This is a great moment for me today," he said proudly. "I'm riding around in my own region until Sunday. Once we were away, I was driven by the encouragements of the crowd. I went flat-out to get as much publicity as possible, for my sponsor and family, because they brought me where I am now. This day brought me nothing but happiness."
Does this mean that he didn't believe that the breakaway could make it to the finish? "No, we knew it would be difficult, and when we saw the advantage was dropping, we knew it was all for nothing. We know the script and so we got beaten, but there's nothing else we could do," the French rider explained.
Being with only one other rider for most of the day makes it important to get along: "We understood each other really well. We've been talking and supporting each other all day long. He was stronger in the final, but alright, he also went flat out. He was a good teammate for the day, " Dumoulin concluded.