Tom Dumoulin won the 100th Giro d’Italia in dramatic fashion Sunday, reclaiming the overall lead in a final-stage individual time trial.
It’s the first Grand Tour victory for Dumoulin, a Dutchman with Team Sunweb, and it sets him up as a potential rival for three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome.
Dumoulin entered the final stage in fourth position but finished far enough ahead of his rivals over the flat 29-kilometer (18-mile) route from Monza’s Formula One race track to Milan’s cathedral to move back into the lead.
“This is crazy. I could not have imagined this,” Dumoulin said. “I was strong. I was lucky. Just everything fell into place the whole Giro.”
In the overall standings, Dumoulin finished 31 seconds ahead of 2014 champion Nairo Quintana of Colombia and 40 seconds ahead of last year’s winner, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy.
Dumoulin’s fellow Dutchman Jos van Emden won the 21st stage in 33 minutes, 8 seconds.
“It couldn’t be better,” Van Emden said. “I’m really happy for Tom. He deserves it.”
Dumoulin came second in the stage, 15 seconds behind. Nibali came 13th, 1:09 behind Emden and Quintana was 27th, 1:39 back.
Dumoulin entered the final stage 53 seconds behind Quintana.
It was the third time the pink jersey changed hands on the last stage. Felice Gimondi replaced Johan De Muynck in 1976, Francesco Moser dethroned Laurent Fignon in 1984 and Ryder Hesjedal overcame Joaquim Rodriguez in 2012.
Dumoulin also won the race’s other time trial in Stage 10 and claimed Stage 14, which had an uphill finish. Dumoulin wore the leader’s pink jersey for eight days but then struggled in the serious mountain stages and lost the lead to Quintana two days ago.
Dumoulin came close to winning the 2015 Spanish Vuelta, which he led heading into the penultimate stage. But he faded fast on the final mountain ride, and finished sixth behind winner Fabio Aru. The final stage was the traditional leisurely arrival to Madrid, which offered no chance to come back.
This time, the concluding time trial was just what Dumoulin needed, enabling him to become the first Dutch rider to win the Giro.
“I’m not the first TT rider who can do well in the mountains,” Dumoulin said. “Miguel Indurain is five steps ahead of me. There are guys like Bradley Wiggins, but I don’t want to compare myself to anyone.”
Relief came via the team radio.
“I was feeling good. Halfway they said `Don’t take risks anymore,’ so I thought, `Maybe I’m winning now?”’ Dumoulin said. “They better never do that again, because it was close in the end.”