I think that the Dutch are (in)famous for a few things, and cycling definitely is one of those things! Tourist visiting Amsterdam are complaining about those crazy locals rushing their bikes through dense traffic. Those idiots riding with great determination not to stop for anything. It won’t come as a surprise that the Dutch went crazy last year, when the Tour the France arrived in our little country. And for the cycling enthusiasts it would even get better as the 99th edition of the Giro d’Italia would take off in The Netherlands the very next year!
And that very next year, was this year, 2016! The Giro d’Italia started on the 6th of May 2016 in a small city called Apeldoorn and would move on to Arnhem and Nijmegen for the next two days. The latter cities are well known for the battles that were fought in that area by our Allied liberators in the Second World War.
All cities lie in the province Gelderland, a province that turned pink for a week.
The stage that took place in Apeldoorn was a time trial. Over 200 cyclist would sprint for almost 10 kilometres to show their strength and speed. Although one of the world strongest runners, Alberto Contador, was missing, other big names were present: Steven Kruijswijk, Tim Wellens, Vincenzo Nibali (won Giro d’Italia 2013), Ryder Hesjedal (won the Giro in 2012), Alejandro Valverde, Mikel Landa, Rafal Majka, Fabian Cancellara, Marcel Kittel, André Greipel, and probably the biggest Dutch name: Tom Dumoulin!
The start of the Giro in my country was great news for me, as I had to miss the Tour de France due to a business trip. So togehter with my new Nikon 70-200 f2.8 G II, a couple of beers and one of my best mates, I headed to Apeldoorn to enjoy the spectacle.
While the month of April 2016 was a colder month than December 2015, for the days of the Giro, The Netherlands was the warmest country in Europe! What a blessing! Great weather, fantastic company, and a well organized event. Could it get any better?
The answer is yes… As more and more runners passed by, the big names left a good impression. Nibali, Kittel, and Roglic all set fast track times. The DJ, playing his songs next to the racing track, recognized the tension and played more up tempo songs. And as the time passed, the crowd got more excited. Next up was the big name: Tom Dumoulin!!
My my! The crowd went crazy! Almost 100 thousend people formed a line of 10KM, and all those people were applauding and screaming their longs out for their Dutch hero. And as he got closer, the announcer yelled out: “IT IS POSSIBLE, HE CAN CAPTURE THE FASTEST TIME!”. Tom was racing, he was so fast. And sure, as he passed the finish line, he set the fasted time.
The the race was not done however. Probably the favourite to win any tour, Fabian Cancellara, was still to come. If anyone could beat Dumoulin’s time, he could. Just before the race he told the media he felt a bit ill, but as some say: “Cancellara tends to look for excuses before any big event”. Does a sportsman of that calibre still have stage fright?
But it looked as if this time he spoke the truth! As he was half way his time trial, the words of the announcer sounded: “Halfway, and he is ten seconds slower than Tom!”. The crowed seemed relieved. Would their Dutch hero win a stage in his home country?
And he sure did. On the kick off of the Giro d’Italia, Tom Dumoulin captured the “Maglia Rosa”! And my lens did terrific! I am really starting to fall in love with the Nikon 70-200 more and more! 🙂
Thank you for reading! Are you a big cycling fan? Let us know by leaving a comment, that would be truly appreciated!