Tom Dumoulin won the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia in sensational style on Sunday to make history as the first Dutch winner of the three-week Italian race.
Sunweb team leader Dumoulin went into the final stage, a 29.3 km time trial from Monza race track to Milan’s landmark Duomo cathedral, 53secs behind overnight leader Nairo Quintana of Colombia.
But the 26-year-old Dutchman, who led the race for nine stage before losing the pink jersey to Quintana on stage 19, secured his maiden grand tour victory after a second-place finish behind stage winner, compatriot and close friend Jos van Emden.
Quintana, the 2014 champion who rides for the Movistar team, finished second overall at 31secs behind with Italy’s two-time champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain) finishing third at 40.
It means Quintana, a former two-time runner-up at the Tour de France, has failed in his bid — stated before the race start in Alghero, Sardinia — to challenge for a rare Giro-Tour de France double.
Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who remained in contention for overall victory with a gutsy stage win on Saturday, disappointed in the race against the clock to finish fourth overall at 1min 17sec.
Dumoulin, who finished 17secs behind Van Emden, had to watch nervously as Quintana, wearing the pink jersey and the last to start, completed the final kilometres of his effort into Milan.
But when the calculations showed the Colombian was set to fall short, he jumped for joy.
“It’s crazy, I don’t know what to say,” said Dumoulin, who was initially given a taste for the pink jersey when he wore it for the first time in Apeldoorn last year after victory in the opening stage time trial.
“It’s a dream! When I crossed the line people were telling me I’d won, but as I sat here, I was freaking out.
“It’s incredible. I couldn’t have imagined this, ever. I was strong, I was lucky and everything fell into the place on this Giro.
“Nairo did an amazing race today.”
After the compliment to Quintana, the Colombian’s Movistar team replied in kind on Twitter, saying: “Best man on the course won. On to the next adventure. #VamosNairo.”
Thanks to a Dutch one-two on the stage finish, Van Emden gave the Netherlands a double reason for celebration when he claimed his maiden grand tour stage win with a sensational ride into the Lombardy capital.
“I’m so happy, so emotional,” said Van Emden, who described Dumoulin as a “close friend”.
“I was too many times second and this is a great day for Dutch cycling.
“Tom wins, I win, finally. There are two really happy people inside this tent.” – Agence France-Presse