Bittersweet finish for Dumoulin in Eneco Tour final stage
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bittersweet finish for Dumoulin in Eneco Tour final stage

by Kyle Moore at 4:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Eneco Tour
22-year-old comes up five kilometres short, unable to corral Stybar

Tom DumoulinTom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) began the final stage of the Eneco Tour with a lead of less than ten seconds on Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and the final stage offered up a parcours that would be more than capable of separating the two men in the final general classification.

Such was the case when both crossed the line on Sunday, as Stybar rode away to the stage victory and ten bonus seconds, rendering the 25-second gap he had pulled out on Dumoulin as beside the point. The win was Stybar’s first big overall victory, and had Dumoulin been able to hang on, it would have been a career best trophy for the young Dutchman as well.

So someone had to win, and someone had to experience the painful loss, so it was Stybar who put defeat in the hands of Dumoulin with a searing attack on the less heralded Denderoordberg climb, just prior to the finishing climb on the Muur van Geraardsbergen.

The leader’s group had just finished pulling back an attack by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Stybar played the increased power of his team to perfection, going on the move with Dumoulin isolated behind. The Dutchman gave it his best effort, but several drops of his head indicated that he wouldn’t be able to muster a chase.

Stybar was gone, bridging up to Ian Stannard (Sky Procycling) and riding away from him in sight of the line for the victory.

Having given it some thought after the stage, Dumoulin could be pleased with his best career finish, but dejection was evident as well.

"Even if I am happy with second place, of course I feel some disappointment,” Dumoulin elaborated. “Yesterday we fought hard for the lead and then to give it away on the last stage is quite hard. When Chavanel came back, everything looked pretty good. We did what we had to do and everything was going to plan. But I could really feel my legs, so an attack was difficult to cover, and when it came I just could not follow.

"I am really happy with my progression though - to be at this level now is the result of hard work and of course the work of the team. I hope to grow into a rider for these races and I will certainly be back again to battle for the victory.”

Argos-Shimano management was more effusive in their praise of their young rider. They credited his work, as well as their program used to develop young talent, which is starting to show through brightly.

"We are proud of Tom today. We can say that Stybar was just better," said team director Rudi Kemna. "It was a good breakaway for us from the beginning, so we controlled where necessary and knew Tom had to stay close to Stybar. When Stybar attacked in the final kilometers he just could not follow, and that’s racing.

"We are proud of this second place. We proved we have the ability, when it comes to the general classification in World Tour races, especially in races like this with time trials and small mountains. We are working on a dedicated training plan to bring our young talent to the next level and it is good to see that they are now proving that they can perform at this level and that there is still space for growth."


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