It wasn’t that we didn’t know Tom Dumoulin had a huge engine. We just assumed that, at 6-foot-1, he was too tall to climb well.
Well, somebody forgot to tell the 24-year-old Dutchman what he couldn’t do, and so he rode deep into the final week of the Vuelta a España with the red jersey on his back.
Even more surprising was the fact that he did so without a dedicated general classification team, so he was frequently isolated on the steeps. His implosion on the penultimate stage felt inevitable, but it did nothing to take away from his performance.
“Now I know I can do it,” he said. “There are things I learned for the future. It made me a wiser man, that Vuelta.”