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ISERNIA, Italy (VN) – Thymen Arensman isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“It’s all for Romain,” Arensman told VeloNews. “I’m here just to help him, that’s what I’m doing here”
At 11th and 14th overall and in the center of a tightly coiled GC pack, DSM isn’t hedging its bets ahead of the Blockhaus summit Sunday or the transitional week that follows.
“I really believe in Romain for a good GC result, and I’m just here to help,” Arensman confirmed.
Despite being 22 years old, this year’s Giro is the long lean Dutchman’s third grand tour. But unlike his two breakout rides at the Vuelta a España and the two podium finishes they brought, Arensman shoulders the burden of playing “MVP” for pink jersey dark-horse Bardet this month.
“In previous years, the two Vueltas I did it was just attacking and enjoying it,” he said. “But now I can see what it takes to ride a good GC for Romain and that’s why I’m happy to help him.
“I learn from him, see what it takes to be three weeks really focussed and always there and always giving your best so I can really learn from it here so It’s been a really good experience.”
A step into the arduous life of classification racing is the logical next step for Arensman.
Long touted as the next big hope of Dutch cycling, the lean and lithe Lowlander is taking things as they come after riding to the final podium with Bardet at the Tour of the Alps last month.
“If I’m capable of doing GC and I’m making the steps I’m doing now, maybe it’s in my body. But I have to see if I can come close to Romain’s level, then we’ll see,” he said.
Should Arensman come to live up to Bardet’s GC fame, it won’t be in DSM’s black and blue livery.
VeloNews broke the story this week that Arensman will be wearing the black and red jersey of Ineos Grenadiers next season, a transfer that can’t be made official until the summer transfer season starts.
“The team confirmed I’m leaving and that was a really hard decision,” Arensman said. “We’ll see where I ride next year, but sadly it’s not with DSM.”
Arensman’s first taste of a true GC crunch could come Sunday. A summit finish to Blockhaus is certain to show who’s got the legs to take the maglia rosa to Verona.
“It was a pretty good week for the team, Romain did pretty well. I stayed with him and made sure he didn’t lose any time so far,” Arensman said. “The GC is going pretty well … but on Blockhaus some guys will lose a lot of time I think.”