• Dumoulin had to fight through some of the worst conditions during the Stage 9 TT at the Giro d'Italia (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Tom Dumoulin does not believe an impressive stay in the maglia rosa negatively affected his performance in the first time trial of the Giro d’Italia yesterday.
By
Sophie Smith

16 May 2016 - 8:32 AM  UPDATED 16 May 2016 - 5:53 PM

The 40.5km ninth stage had initially been a pre-race objective for Dumoulin, who settled for 15th after a captivating six-day stint in pink last week had people asking if he was foxing in regard to race title aims.

“With this weather, the one who takes the most risks and doesn’t crash takes a lot of time,” he said of the wet and technical run in Chianti. “Then you also have to have some really good legs on the parts that you can pedal. (Today) wasn’t my day."

Dumoulin started the time trial a day after losing the maglia rosa to current leader Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) but said his previous position in the race had no real influence over Sunday’s result.

“I wouldn’t say so, I also got a lot of energy out of it (the maglia rosa), some good spirits. Of course after the stage you’re always busy with press and doping control and podium. It has its advantages and definitely also disadvantages but I wouldn’t have missed that. I really enjoyed the first week of the Giro."

Dumoulin initially entered the Giro with the aim of stage wins, especially in the time trials that he has placed a strong emphasis on this season with his eye on a medal in the Rio Olympic Games.

Giant-Alpecin had also verified that its leader was not chasing a GC result at the Giro, despite his performance at the preceding Tour of Romandie where Dumoulin finished fifth overall.

Still, his dalliance in the leader’s jersey during the first period of the Giro led to speculation that the Dutchman was a genuine contender and even he seemed to flirt with the idea as the days progressed.

Dumoulin now sits 58 seconds in arrears of Brambilla at seventh overall before the second rest day. He is still recovering from a bad day where he lost the maglia rosa, as well as a saddle sore, but the 25-year-old has unequivocally returned his focus to stage wins.

“I’m happy there is a rest day tomorrow and I hope to recover well,” he said.

“Somewhere I’m going to lose time in the coming week so that I can hopefully get in the break in the last week.

“I think it’s very difficult for me for the GC. You saw yesterday that I had quite some bad days. I didn’t really prepare for the high mountains so I better lose some time now and really go for a stage result again than fight and be 12th or 14th on GC, that’s nothing to me.”

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And the pink jersey fairytale continues for Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-Quickstep) who held on to the race lead by one second.

After coming so close to the overall victory at the Vuelta Espana last season, many had expected the big Dutchman to become a powerhouse contender for the Grand Tours.  However, the focus on Rio this season has seen Dumoulin more or less put his general classification ambitions on hold for the moment.

“It’s a learning curve and last year in the Vuelta it took a lot more energy out of me than this year. It’s already a big improvement,” he said.

After taking an early lead in the race, and seeing all the work that has forced upon his team-mates Dumoulin had take a different tack in the future.

“I don’t think I will try to take the lead already in the first week because it takes energy not only for me but definitely also for the team.”