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Vuelta a Espana

Thymen Arensman delivers on promise with breakout stage win at Vuelta a España

Dutch rider fends off everyone to win 'queen stage' and punch into the top-10.

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Thymen Arensman thought he was suffering Sunday at the Vuelta a España, but it turned out the others were suffering more.

The 22-year-old Dutch rider delivered his biggest pro win yet during the “queen stage” at the Spanish grand tour for Team DSM.

“I can’t believe it on the ‘queen stage’ of the Vuelta,” Arensman said. “Everybody was talking about this stage. To be honest, I didn’t feel super good during the stage but apparently the others felt the legs even more.”

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Arensman rode into the big breakaway Sunday in what everyone knew would be a decisive battle not only for the stage victory but also for the GC.

The Team DSM rider timed his move just right, waiting a bit before making his surge to reel in other riders, and then having enough in the tank to fend off the hard-charging GC leaders.

“It looked like Marc Soler was waiting for me, and I thought he’s such a great rider, I don’t know if I can take him on,” he said. “But then I accelerated on a steeper part. He cracked and I was like, ‘OK, everybody is really on the limit and maybe I have something left.'”

Indeed he did. Arensman kept pushing the pedals and ignoring the pain in the interminable Sierra Nevada climb, one of the longest in Europe.

Forging alone, he could check below to see groups forming and putting in some time. He even ripped out his race radio because he could see everything he needed to know.

“When I was alone, I stopped listening the coach Matt Winston on the radio. I only kept thinking I gotta push, push above 400 watts,” he said.

There was a double bonus at the line. With the winner’s bonus seconds, Arensman crept back into the top-10, climbing from 11th to eighth, now at 7:05 back.

“It was nice to get the win today with Thymen,” said DSM’s Matt Winston. “When the rest of the break fell apart at the end, the time Thymen has spent with the team at altitude this year really paid off and he was able to solo to victory. It was a really, really good ride from Thymen.”

The tall all-rounder — he tops out at 6-foot-3 — is delivering during this Vuelta on the GC, but his team lost time in the opening TT. He kept hanging close, clawed back some time on the individual time trial last week, and then delivered the stunning victory Sunday.

“It’s hard to believe, it really has to sink in,” he said. “It was enough to win, and it’s unbelievable. Truly unbelievable.”