Dumoulin disappoints home crowd
The Dutch crowd expected a lot from their home rider Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) at the Tour de France Grand Départ. The 24-year-old made a lot of progress this season, recently beating Fabian Cancellara twice against the clock at the Tour de Suisse. Dumoulin featured in every media outfit this week, and he was much requested at the team presentation and the press conference on Friday. Dumoulin is a friendly young man and he was even available for an interview on Dutch TV during the morning of the race.
On a very warm Saturday afternoon, Dumoulin then somewhat collapsed under the pressure and finished just off the podium. He was eight seconds slower than winner Rohan Dennis (BMC). The crowd certainly did all they could, screaming Dumoulin forward from start to finish.
“The crowd was the only thing I heard. I couldn’t hear my radio anymore. Unfortunately they didn’t shout me to the win,” Dumoulin said, shortly after his ride. "It’s too bad. I’ve beaten Dennis a couple of times. Today he was stronger than me. That’s a bummer."
A look at the statistics show that the two are each other’s match, with Dumoulin mostly having the upper hand during the last two seasons. It's clear Dumoulin lost the race in the second half. Halfway into the 13.8km ride Dumoulin trailed Dennis by a second. On the second half of the course he lost an additional seven seconds. Dumoulin didn't blame the heat, and said he thinks the wind became more of a factor.
"It seems that was the case," Dumoulin told Cyclingnews. “Dennis was really strong. Good job from him. ... I did everything right. I took the corners right. I just didn’t have the power to beat Dennis. For this year I’ll have to deal with it. I’d have loved to be on the top podium spot. I rode a good time trial and there’s nothing more to say about it.” (Brecht Decaluwé)
MTN-Qhubeka starts first Tour de France with a bang
Photo: Tim De Waele/TDW Sport
MTN-Qhubeka, the first African team to start the Tour de France in the modern era, kicked off the race with a bang when Steve Cummings claimed a top 10 spot in the opening time trial. The British rider exceeded expectations on the flat, fast 13.8km course in Utrecht.
Directeur sportif Jens Zemke was pleased with the performance, even if Cummings himself thought he could have done better.
"I think we can be really proud and really happy with the result we achieved," Zemke said. "A top 10 in the opening stage is what we wanted, it was what we were trying to achieve and Steve did. The crowd was also amazing being at the Tour de France for the first time, so Steve finishing 10th is beautiful."
Cummings admitted he made plenty of mistakes during the race.
"It was a super day. Physically the effort was good but I also never really felt composed," he said. "I don't know, I think it was possibly the occasion that got to me a bit and I messed up a lot of corners, well pretty much every corner actually. But having said that, to come to the biggest bike race in the world it is great for the team to see we can all make mistakes but are able to compete with the best in the world. It was my goal to really deliver something good today for that reason, to give the team a bit of a lift and some confidence. Unfortunately it wasn't as good as I hoped but I think it was still pretty good to be honest."
GC watch: Kelderman on top
The 13.8km flat, baking-hot test in Utrecht didn't seem to favour the climbers much, but the home riders came out on top in the list of pre-race GC contenders. Wilco Keilderman and Robert Gesink of the LottoNl-Jumbo team were quickest, only 30 and 33 seconds down on stage winner Rohan Dennis (BMC), respectively, while Trek's Bauke Molleman was next at 37 seconds.
Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quickstep) edged Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) by one second, with Tejay van Garderen, who bettered the Tour's "big four," sitting just ahead of defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) by one second, Chris Froome (Sky) by eight, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) by 16 seconds and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) by 19.
GC outsiders Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) fared the worst, coming down well over a minute behind Dennis.
Contenders and outsiders
|9||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo||0:15:26|
|11||Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo||0:00:33|
|14||Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing||0:00:37|
|17||Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step||0:00:40|
|18||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr||0:00:41|
|20||Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:00:42|
|22||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team||0:00:43|
|39||Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky||0:00:50|
|43||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:56|
|46||Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo||0:00:58|
|50||Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:00:59|
|56||Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing||0:01:01|
|57||Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team|
|65||Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky||0:01:06|
|90||Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||0:01:15|
|125||Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha||0:01:26|
|145||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:01:34|
|166||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||0:01:46|
Extra day for Tour de Yorkshire?
Sitting in a shady spot in the Tour’s Village Départ, Welcome to Yorkshire’s Gary Verity and Peter Dodds were under rather less pressure than at the same point last year, when they were making final preparations for the 2014 Tour’s Grand Départ in Yorkshire. Verity told Cyclingnews that initial plans for 2016’s second edition of the Tour de Yorkshire are well underway with 12 towns bidding to host stages in the ASO-backed race. Indeed, Verity admitted that interest has been so great that there is a strong possibility that the race could be extended to an extra day, running from Thursday to Sunday. (P. Cossins)