Another strong team performance to set Tom Dumoulin up for an attacking finale on the penultimate stage of the BinckBank Tour paid off today as Tom raced to second on the stage, doing enough to take the overall race lead with a 4 second advantage.
Stage 6 was not only tough for the rolling parcours that presented itself, but also for the climatic conditions with wind and rain hampering the riders throughout the stage, making for a tough day in the saddle. The race took a while to settle with several failed attempts to form the day’s move before finally six riders established a gap. Behind, the team rallied around Tom to keep him out of trouble and gradually joined the chase at the front to keep the race under control.
As the final loomed closer, the team applied more and more pressure on the front, causing splits and forcing a select group on the penultimate climb. Søren Kragh Andersen was also present in the front to support Tom before he made his move with one other on the final climb of the stage. Immediately pulling clear, the two took all the bonus seconds at the Golden Kilometre sprints, Tom taking six, and they then set about holding off the chase group of five which sat at around 20 seconds for the final 10km.
Coming into the finish Tom dug deep on the drag to the line but couldn’t come around to take the stage. However, the big effort put in to stay clear of the chasers and to take the bonus seconds along the way sees Tom move into the race lead with 4″ over second place ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.
After the finish, new race leader Tom told us: “I had the choice out there – not riding, or giving it everything and hoping Tim didnt drop me, and luckily I could just hang on at the end. We have a strong team here and I’m really happy with that, for two days we’ve made the race. We have to play it well tactically and defend tomorrow, and hope that 4 seconds is enough. It will be a battle.”
Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers added: “We went all out just before the last two climbs and there it exploded and we had still two guys up front which was good. Then on the last real climb Tom and Tim got away with a really strong attack and together they could hold it until the finish, holding off a really strong chasing group.”