Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) had always insisted he did not have the form or preparation to be an overall contender at this year's Giro d'Italia and the efforts of his successful but intense opening week finally caught up on the hilly roads to Sestola. A worsening saddle sore problem only compounded his pain, with the Dutchman perhaps ready to quit the race so as not to comprise his build up for the Rio Olympics.
Dumoulin was dropped from the front group on the late Pian del Falco climb after first passing through Sestola. He quickly lost ground and time, finishing 70th, some 13 minutes down on stage winner Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF).
"It was a hard day and it was a little bit too much for me," Dumoulin admitted to journalists after stopping beyond the finish line to let the pain ease from his body and put on a jacket before descending to the Giant-Alpecin team bus lower down the climb.
"After six hours of racing everyone is tired. My saddle sore was not too good today. It was worse at the beginning and then better near the end. I'd hoped to have recovered more on the rest day…"
Dumoulin slipped to 29th in the overall classification, 11:42 on new race leader Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quickstep).
The Giro d'Italia will transfer to the north during the next two stages on Wednesday and Thursday, with flat runs to Asolo (with only a short climb in the finale) and then to Bibione. That could help Dumoulin recover but also make him realise it is better to quit the Giro d'Italia now to avoid compounding his problems.
Wisely he opted not to make any decisions in the heat of the moment but will talk to the Giant-Alpecin staff before deciding about his presence in the Giro d'Italia.
"That's a difficult question after a stage like this. Right now I don't feel very good," he replied when asked about his future plans in the race.
"I have to see. My saddle sore is not getting better and had a lot of problems; we'll see tomorrow how it goes."
Preidler shows Giant-Alpecin's pride
Giant-Alpecin tried to fight back in the Giro d'Italia despite Dumoulin's woes and Georg Preidler was part of the group that chased across to the break of the day. He attacked alone at one point on the Pian del Falco climb but paid for his effort and was eventually dropped as Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF) went onto win the stage.
"It was a big chance for me and I thought I could try like Simon (Geschke) when he won at the Tour de France last year. It was a really hard stage, it was constantly up and down," he explained.
"On the last part of the penultimate climb, I felt really good until 1.5km to go and then the chasers caught and I lost my moral. Then passed me with 10km to the finish line and maybe I thought I could come back on the descent but the gap was too big. But I am feeling in good shape at the moment so for sure I will try again to get myself in the breakaways in the upcoming stages."
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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.