Tom Dumoulin was forced to stop and wait near the finish line of the time trial to hear if he had taken the race leader's pink jersey from Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). He stood in silence as the seconds counted down but clearly knew he had not done enough to dislodge Yates and give himself a real chance of overall victory at the Giro d'Italia.
When it was confirmed that Yates was still race leader, Dumoulin set off for the Team Sunweb finish vehicle to warm down. However, he was still fired up and vented his anger against the scrum of television cameras and tifosi after someone touched his back wheel and almost caused him to crash.
He had calmed down as he warmed down on the rollers at his team vehicle, speaking in Dutch and then English. He was satisfied with his ride but admitted it was not enough when told that he gained 1:15 on Yates but that he remains 56 down on the maglia rosa.
"I was hoping for more, of course. I did a solid TT but definitely not one of my best," he said. "I think Yates had a really good day again. He's just in absolute wonderful shape and there's nothing to do about it for me."
Dumoulin was hoping for a headwind so that he could use his power to gain more time on Yates. However, the rain showers meant the local Ora wind failed to rise in the afternoon.
"It was a fair TT, I think everyone had the same conditions and I think that's the most important thing," Dumoulin said sportingly.
"I started the TT like I always do, quiet conservative. Sometimes in one TT, you can really speed up at the end and in another TT it's not a day for that. It was the latter. I was only getting worse until the end and sometimes it's like that."
With Yates still in the pink jersey and with a 56 second advantage, Dumoulin will now have to attack in the final mountain stages if he wants to win a second consecutive Giro d'Italia. He has already admitted he faces an uphill task and accepted that Yates and Mitchelton-Scott have the upper hand.
"At the moment if I attack, he'll attack me twice as hard, so I don't know what the plan is going to be," Dumoulin said somewhat dejectedly.
"I didn't think about my tactics out during the TT. I'll think about it maybe tomorrow. Right now Yates is just too strong for me.
However, he promised to fight all the way to Rome. He lost the 2015 Vuelta a Espana to Fabio Aru on stage 20 after cracking on the final mountain stage to Cercedilla and so knows Grand Tour can turn dramatically in the third week.
"Of course, I have no other option. I'm not giving up, of course not," Dumoulin said.
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1