Tour de France: Dumoulin thrilled with Sunweb's TTT performance

'We did an awesome job. The boys were amazing'

A happy and relaxed Tom Dumoulin spoke with journalists outside his Team Sunweb bus after the team time trial in Cholet at the Tour de France on Monday, saying that "there was nothing else I could have asked for".

Sunweb finished fifth on the stage, just 11 seconds down on stage winners BMC, and Dumoulin was thrilled with how his team had ridden.

"We did an awesome job," the 27-year-old time trial world champion said. "The boys were amazing. Last year, at the team time trial world championships, nobody stood up to say, 'I'm the strongest.' It was the same today: there wasn't much difference between everyone, and that's exactly what you want. That's what we did perfectly today, and I'm really happy with the result."

Dumoulin said that he was feeling "super-relaxed" about how things have gone for him and the team so far during the opening three days of the Tour.

"The next couple of days are about keeping out of trouble. It's about doing what we can to get some results and stay safe for the GC. So far, it's going really well.

"So far, so good," Dumoulin replied when asked how he was feeling having ridden to second place overall at the Giro d'Italia in May, "but you never know how it's going to go in the second half of the race. I've never done two Grand Tours [in a row], but so far I'm doing well."

The Dutchman also reached for his shoulder at one point, possibly feeling a twinge after spending 35.5km in an aero position on his time trial bike.

"I broke it in 2015," he reminded reporters, referring to his crash on stage 3 of the 2015 Tour de France that forced him to quit the race, before asking team staff, "Is it out of the joint? If I make a certain move, I can feel it."

With his shoulder not unduly troubling him, the Dutchman expanded upon the team's ride to Dutch journalists.

"I'm full of adrenaline after a time trial. Once I've taken a shower and sit down, I'll feel more tired," Dumoulin said.

"But I feel really good. We were rolling along like a train. We went really well," he continued. "We made quite a cautious start, but that was intentional, so that everybody would be able to get into a rhythm. That was our choice, but that's where we lost most time. That's also why we took time back in the second part, though."

Dumoulin repeated that he was extremely happy with how the team had ridden, but chastised himself for having been a little too enthusiastic as they came towards the finish.

"I did a pull that was slightly too long at one point, and in that respect I miscalculated things a bit," explained Dumoulin. "We were three kilometres from the finish on a section with a descent and then a climb. I figured: 'I'll continue my pull just a bit more until the top of the climb.' But I needed to recover from there until the finish line, and I was on the limit. Before that, I felt really good, but after that, I was happy that it was over.

"Our tactic was to start cautiously, but hard, with the goal of keeping eight riders for as long as possible," he added. "We had a super team here, but on paper it's one that's not as strong as BMC and Sky. But paper doesn't matter when you've got a plan, and that showed today.

"We're still only three stages into the race," Dumoulin pointed out, "so we're trying to find a balance between our plan and how we're actually feeling, and today we adapted our plan to the circumstances."

Did the team miss having time-trial specialist Wilco Kelderman, who crashed the week before the Tour and had to be replaced at the last minute?

"A few days before the race, after Wilco had crashed and we found out that we were going to have to come here without him, we were a little worried," said Dumoulin. "But you need to flick a switch: once you're at the start of the race, you have to forget about the past because you can't change anything. We did that pretty well."

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