Dumoulin: 'We trusted that we'd go fast without overthinking it'

Tom Dumoulin and his teammates were surprised but happy after Team Sunweb completed a women's and men's double victory in the team time trials at the World Championships in Bergen.

Team Sky, 2016 winners Quick-Step Floors and BMC were the big three favourites to win the world title and share the medals. However it was Team Sunweb that grabbed the gold – there are no rainbow jerseys awarded in the 42.5km TTT – beating BMC by eight seconds, with Team Sky at 22 seconds and Quick-Step Floors down in fourth place at 35 seconds.

Dumoulin, Michael Matthews, Lennard Kamna, Wilco Kelderman, Søren Kragh Andersen and Sam Oomen had to endure an emotional wait in the hot seat after their ride but when Team Sky failed to beat their time they started celebrating.

"I expected we'd fight for the podium because we had a strong team for this course but to get away with the win is crazy," Dumoulin said with his usual grin of happiness.

"It wasn't a surprise that we did well because it felt strong and it felt fast. We didn't overcomplicate things today. We raced hard and trusted that we'd go fast without overthinking it. We did it on feeling and apparently that worked."

Dumoulin was the powerhouse of Team Sunweb but he was careful not to derail the effort of the six-rider team. He paced his teammates on the key 1.5-kilometre climb after 30 kilometres and then did some long, high-speed turns on the front. All the other riders also played a huge part in racing at over 50 kilometres on the rolling road to Bergen.

"We kept the team together and we didn't kill ourselves," Dumoulin said, explaining exactly how they kept it simple at high speed.

"We didn't have guys who were really on a different level in a positive or negative way. That was the key, I guess, to be really homogeneous. It was an amazing day.

"The team time trials were never our favourite discipline but we can be very proud of today and look ahead to upcoming races and upcoming TTTs next season. We had the knowledge to do a really fast TTT but now some how it worked out."

No secret to success

Quick-Step Floors and BMC have prepared for the team time trial with special training camps and focused preparation. Rider strength and form were carefully calculated in an attempt to create the strongest possible team. However Team Sunweb came together in Bergen on Thursday, with Dumoulin and Matthews joining forces with Kelderman, Kragh Andersen, Ooman and Kamna who had ridden at least part of the Vuelta a España.

Dumoulin was asked what was Team Sunweb's secret of success. Keeping thing simple was important but so too was the ability of the six riders. Dumoulin described it as 'knowledge' but indicated that meant physical ability, mental strength, team time trial skills and the desire to take on such an intense effort.

Of course the team had done their homework earlier in the season. Matthews came to Bergen in the spring and his feedback convinced the team management that a mix of rouleurs and climbers who could time trial was vital.

"Everyone is all asking for the special things we do or did but sometimes it's simple," Dumoulin suggested.

"Of course we have that knowledge like other teams and also prepared in detail in the past. But in the few days leading up to event you can't change much about your ability for the TTT. That info needs to be in your head and legs from the winter. We trusted it would be okay and it worked out. Kemna and Oomen are super young but they have that feeling.

"We trained for the TTT a lot last winter and in training camps. It was impossible to do a camp before the race but I felt that we we're good in training yesterday. Sometimes things come naturally. Today it did."

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.