Team Sunweb has a number of talented Dutchmen on contract. The big names are quite well known, but perhaps you’ve not yet heard of Sam Oomen. It’s definitely time to change that!

Anyone who watches bike racing these days can enjoy a very talented new generation, which is already starting to compete at the highest level and get close to taking some big prizes. This makes watching the races even more interesting, and may also help encourage even younger people to start riding more seriously themselves. Tom Dumoulin and Wilco Kelderman are two of the best contenders for winning the GCs (general classification) in major stage races. But right behind them, Sam Oomen is knocking at the door.

At 22 years of age, Oomen is still very young in bike racing terms. After riding in the development team from 2014 to 2016, he was given the opportunity to ride with the elite team in 2017. And we have to say: so far, so good. Despite his years, he has ridden in the top 20 at major time trials during the Paris-Nice, the Dauphiné, and the Tour of the Basque Country.

Time trialing is definitely one of his strengths and it’s therefore unsurprising that he is also a member of the six-man team alongside Kelderman, Matthews, and Dumoulin—Dumoulin won the UCI Road World Championships time trial in 2017. More recently, Oomen was 12th in the 2018 Liège-Bastogne-Liège, finishing 36 seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin who crossed the finish in 15th place.

Another of Oomen’s qualities is that, despite his age, he can keep stay with the leaders when the climbing starts. During one of the first mountain stages of the 2017 Tour of Spain he finished 8th—just 12 seconds behind stage winner Chris Froome. He finished in the same group with names such as Contador and De La Cruz, and in front of men like Nibali, Aru, Van Garderen, Kruiswijk, Bardet, and Yates—riders who have already achieved high GC rankings in major stage races.

His best result in a stage race so far was in the Tour of Poland 2017. He finished a very respectable 7th, clocking in at just 36 seconds behind the winner BMC rider Dylan Teuns. During that race he also left a list of big name riders behind him: Nibali, Costa, Zakarin, and Jungels. He certainly is an important rider to support Tom Dumoulin this Giro, along with veteran climber Laurens te Dam.