He looks back one more time before he rides the last meters to the finish line in droplets that feel like daubs of paint so thick. Sticking his tongue out of his mouth, clenches his fist and celebrates with closed eyes and a cry from deep inside that he will win the toughest stage of the Tour de France. What he thought, the last 10 kilometers up through hail and rain? “I fucking did it.” And he wants to transcribe it into Dutch. “I’ve done it damn.”

Since Lars Boom in 2014 Tom Dumoulin (25) wins for the first time a stage for Holland in the Tour de France. A stage with four Pyrenees Giants and the arrival on the road to Andorra Arcalis, in the pouring rain. Since Michael Boogerd in 2002, no Dutchman has succeeded in winning on a mountain top in the Tour. Pieter Weening completed his mountain stage he won in 2005, but the finish line in Gerardmer that time lay down in the valley.

The last days a bad mood prevailed around the rider of Giant-Alpecin. It all did not work. Dumoulin did not feel well, and stressed before and during the Tour that he wants to do everything to win the Olympic time trial in Rio. In France he was “fluttering” as he called it. A little bit of everything; preparing the sprint for John Degenkolb, helping leader Warren Barguil in the mountains. Perhaps, he said last week, he had a chance at the yellow jersey, in the mountain stage to Le Lioran.

Tom Dumolin in rain and hail to the finish at Andorra Arcalis

After that stage this idea was not to achieve longer. Even not disappointed once, almost unmoved, he spoke to the journalists in the abandoned ski resort. “I had a very slim chance at the yellow jersey, but the legs were not good. So I have to throw the towel. “

That day Dumoulin finished over 23 minutes behind the winner. A day later, the fluttering taken the form of preparing the sprint. That is nothing for Dumoulin, says teammate Roy Curvers after the stage in Montauban: Dumoulin did not do it properly. “You have to dare to be an asshole!” Another day later he borrows the toilet of a motor home parked on the side of the road, because protesting intestines.

The native of Maastricht said in Le Lioran something else: that he might opt for an escape. “And I want to win when I’m in an escape.” Teammate Laurens ten Dam said Sunday morning before the race on the bus, “Tom goes with today’s escape”.

Barely five kilometers after the start in the Spanish Vielha Aran Tom Dumoulin is in a breakaway group of the day for such a escape. “I felt better this morning.” On the penultimate climb he proves his intelligence as a rider. He let fellow escapees George Bennett and Thibaut Pinot exhaust each other until they have no energy left. Rui Costa tries to attack in the descent. Dumoulin pretends he has difficulty in following and let’s himself slips down, while earlier that day he has ridden little in front of the group.

Then, at 13 kilometers from the finish, where it is still sunny and warm, he decides to go. “I did not look at my power meter, I just went. I am a time trial specialist, if I get a gap; it is not easy to close. “

Dumoulin passes at nine kilometers from the finish the hotel where he slept when he wore the red leader’s jersey in last year’s Vuelta. Earlier this year he won a stage in the Giro d’Italia, where he was six days leader of the general ranking.  So now there comes a stage in the Tour de France. “It’s nice to make history.”

For now, he remains, like Sunday, choosing his days. And think of the Olympics. “I’ve always said that I focus on winning a stage, whether in the mountains or a time trial. But I have the Olympics in my mind. A victory like today is not only preparation. It is a victory in the Tour de France. “He has done it goddammit”.

Tom Dumoulin wins in Andorra, You Tube



Supporter in bikini encourages Tom Dumoulin. Still 1.9 km to go.
Tom Dumoulin passes the finish line.