It was great to see Dumoulin win the giro. Primarily because it’s always good to see someone new win a grand tour, but also because he seems like a decent human being, the sort who was always a nice person at school despite being some kind of superhuman being. Unlike Nibali, who has always struck me as but of a nasty schoolboy, unafraid of the snide comment and willing to blame everything on the race. Just because there isn’t a single question in competitive cycling that can’t be answered with the phrase “that’s bike racing”, it doesn’t mean it has to be like that. Class and emotional souplesse means knowing when to deploy the phrase and when to defer to etiquette.
The human element of this race, the Dutchman shitting in the woods, playground squabbles, the breaking of unwritten rules, all made for a fantastic race, with the narrative alive from the first minute to almost the last; pretty much the perfect grand tour.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Dumoulin develops from here. He’s a monstrous tester, with echoes of Wiggins, but more significantly, Miguel Indurain. Big Mig would ride a relentless tempo in the mountains, then blow the race to pieces in the time trial. With refinement, and a parcours that suits, it’s entirely possible dumoulin could dominate. In which case, everyone will turn against him and I’ll be writing about how boring it all is and longing for someone other than dumoulin to be the dumoulin.