There were no miracles for Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) on the Giro d'Italia's 40-kilometre time trial through the rolling hills of Chianti. No wine, only for water for the Dutchman, who must already have had a sinking feeling as he sat in the start house and watched leaden drops of rain fall from the skies above.
The earlier starters had enjoyed pleasant sunshine and dry roads during the test, but the heavens opened as Dumoulin and the general classification contenders set out later in the afternoon. Even before Dumoulin started, he realised the stage win was out of reach. By the midway point, it was clear that a rapid return to the maglia rosa was also beyond him.
Dumoulin had dropped from first to 11th on Saturday after losing ground on the Alpe di Poti, and there would be no immediate comeback here. He could only manage 15th place on the stage, some 1:58 behind Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), the man he denied by hundredths of a second in the opening time trial in Apeldoorn more than a week ago. Several lifetimes in Giro terms.
"It was shit, I had no chance and I didn't take any risks," Dumoulin said of his day on crossing the line in Greve in Chianti, where a scrum of television reporters surrounded him and took turns to ask him variations on the same question.
Polite to a fault, Dumoulin answered with as much coherence as he could manage in the seconds after finishing his effort. His responses, too, barely deviated from the same theme. "I had a lot of luck in the first days of the Giro and now I don't," he said. "My legs were a little bit better than yesterday but I didn't want to take any risks in this weather and the win was already gone."
Dumoulin could even muster some dry humour when a local reporter thrust a microphone in his face and asked: "What will you do tomorrow and in the coming days?"
"Tomorrow I'm going to lay in my bed because it's a rest day," Dumoulin said softly. "The next day we'll see."
Dumoulin began the day just 1:05 off Gianluca Brambilla's overall, but despite the pink jersey being theoretically within reach before the start, he was already sceptical of his prospects of defending further.
"Even with the rain, you hope the pink jersey is still a possibility because all the GC riders had to ride in the same conditions, but it was hard mentally to give everything and dare to take full risks, especially after having already had six days in pink," he said. "The time trial win here had been my goal."
Dumoulin's performance was enough to nudge him back up to 7th overall, 58 seconds off the maglia rosa of Brambilla, and within five seconds of both Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), but he insisted that he was no longer harbouring general classification ambitions.
"I've put the GC out of my mind," he said. "It would have been nice to win back the pink jersey today, but I knew I would lose it again on one of the mountain stages."
More in this story:
- Giro d'Italia stage 9 - Finish line quotes
- Giro d'Italia stage 9 - Video highlights
- Cancellara abandons Giro d'Italia
- Roglic gets sporting revenge at Giro with Chianti time trial win
- Brambilla holds Giro d'Italia lead by one second