While Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) lost precious seconds on the hectic stage 4 finale at the Giro d’Italia in Caltagirone, Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) kept his second place just one second behind Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) with a strong ride on the steep uphill finish. Despite this, there was a sense of frustration for the defending champion as he lamented a lost opportunity for another stage victory.
Dumoulin finished four seconds behind the stage winner Tim Wellens in a group that contained Dennis, Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida), while Froome lost 17 seconds to their group. However, Dumoulin believed that had he been prepared to put himself closer to the front then he would have been able to contest the victory.
“I am to blame for that myself. I just had to show courage and be in the wind a bit more,” he told Dutch broadcaster NOS immediately after the stage.
He later elaborated in a team press release, saying that he’d had to fully apply his brakes in the final metres, putting him too far back in the group.
“Today was a really difficult day, the final was a full-on effort,” said Dumoulin. “I could have competed for the stage win but I knew that it would be really hard. I had to fully brake at 500 metres to go, I made a mistake and sat on the wrong side. 20 guys passed me and I knew I couldn’t go for the win anymore. It was super work from the team and I’m really thankful; through the whole day I was in a good position. Overall it was a tough stage, but a good one and I’m happy to be back here in Italy.”
Dumoulin sits comfortably near the top of the overall standings thanks to his victory on the opening time trial. Dennis took some bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint the following day to take the maglia rosa from Dumoulin, but the pair are separated by a single second. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) is the next best rider in the standings at 17 seconds with Wellens moving into fourth after his win at 19 seconds.
The Giro d’Italia continues on Wednesday with another rolling day through Sicily and another punchy finale in Santa Ninfa that could catch riders out. Dumoulin will hope to get his positioning right in this finish to put him into the best possible place ahead of the first major mountain stage to Mount Etna on Thursday.