International Cycling

Dumoulin puts heat on Martin in world title tilt

2016-10-11 19:12
Tom Dumoulin (Gallo Images)

Doha - Tom Dumoulin goes in search of his first world championship time-trial title in Qatar on Wednesday, a result that would overturn cycling's established order.

The 2014 bronze medallist has excelled in time-trials this year, storming to stage wins in both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia.

He then came agonisingly close to gold in Rio, edged into second in the time-trial by Swiss specialist Fabian Cancellara, who has since retired.

In Rio, Dumoulin, 25, also beat time trial rival Chris Froome, another who will be absent from the race in Qatar.

The tall, lean rider with the upright cycling style posted on Twitter "That was a hot ride" after the team event earlier this week, his bike thermometer showing 42 degrees Celsius.

And his ambitions go further than this one off race.

"I want to win a Grand Tour in 2017, I don't know which one, possibly the one with the most time trials in it," he told Cycling News last week.

If he is to win the world title though he will have to beat Germany's Tony Martin, a three-time world champion in this discipline.

The 31-year-old won the time trial at the recent Tour of Britain pushing Dumoulin into third place, and has already claimed gold in Qatar as part of the Etixx-Quick Step team which triumphed in Sunday's team time-trial event.

And he has been in very special training for the Doha heat, with which he claims to have no great problem.

"It's all about percentages, I've been training on rollers in a heated room," he explained.

Last year's champion at Richmond, United States was the Belorussian Vasil Kiryienka of Sky, a surprise winner who has shown poor form of late. Even so, bookmakers odds show he is their tip to win.

Other potential winners include Jonathan Castroviejo, who won the European time-trial event last month in Plumelec, France.

And another challenge could come from the man who finished second in the Tour of Britain's time trial is Rohan Dennis.

The 26-year-old Australian is becoming a major force at time-trial events and last month won the Eneco Tour event.

That though was over a distance of just 9.6km and Wednesday's world title event will be raced over 40km, which shows off energy-rich Qatar's extravagant wealth.

It begins in Lusail - which an estimated $45 billion was spent to build from scratch, and is where the 2022 Soccer World Cup final will be played.

Then, just as in the woman's event, the race finishes on the Pearl Qatar, an artificial island in Doha, estimated to have cost $15 billion to build, and which is home to some 12 000 people. 

UCI organisers, under criticism for staging the event in Qatar because of the desert country's heat, could reduce the distance if temperatures get past 38 degrees Celsius.

The forecast at the moment is for temperatures to hit 38 on Wednesday, around the time the race begins.

Some cyclists have criticised the conditions and the women's team time-trial winners Boels Dolemans revealed they had prepared for the championships by visiting a sauna.

Read more on:    tom dumoulin  |  cycling
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