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Team Sunweb remain positive in wake of Dumoulin time loss

Josh Cunningham
24 May 2017

Team Sunweb taking the positives out of a difficult stage, and looking forward to opportunities in the final stages

Stage 16 of the 2017 Giro d'Italia was a road racing spectacle, full of drama, tension, unpredictability, and - courtesy of three major Dolomiti climbs - beauty. 

However, while it was an enthralling stage to watch, with a big early breakaway going clear and its last survivor - Team Sky's Mikel Landa - being joined by an attacking Vincenzo Nibali to contest the stage victory, for the race leader Tom Dumoulin it was a day to forget. 

The Dutchman was befallen by stomach issues at the foot of the final decisive climb, stopping at the side of the road to relieve himself while his GC competitors turned on the gas and started racing.

'At that moment I needed to stop to answer natures call,' said Dumoulin after the stage, as a thirty second gap turned into one minute, and then more. 'When I was chasing back I decided to fight and not give up and then see where we were at after the finish.'

Dumoulin completed most of the remaining 40km alone, and although at times it looked as if he might lose his pink jersey, by the end his 2:18 defecit to the winner was just enough for him to retain the maglia rosa.

'It was tough out there on my own and of course it's dissapointing,' he later said. 'The legs were good and I feel like I could have been up there with the GC group but that's not how it worked out, it's too bad.'

The Dutchman now sits 31 seconds ahead of Nairo Quintana as the race heads into the final five stages, which include mountain stages, medium mountain stages, and a final 30km time trial.

With the lead he had now cut by over 2 minutes as the race heads into its decisive finale, it would be easy for Dumoulin and his Sunweb team to be rueing the events of Stage 16, but they are aiming to stay positive. 

'Looking at everything apart from Tom's stop, everything was great,' says Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek.

'The team were strong, the tactical plan worked and everything was good. Tom was also strong on the climb, fast on the descent and going just as well as the other guys in front.

'We lost some of the lead but Tom is still in pink, which is the most important thing.

'Looking ahead we still have a time trial in Milan and over the coming days we have more good opportunities for Tom.'