Opinion & Community

Mocha embroiled in another fake news controversy



Former “sex guru”-turned-political blogger Mocha Uson, now a presidential assistant communications secretary, has stirred another controversy on social media, this time for using a picture of men in uniform allegedly passed off as Filipinos but who turned out to be Central American policemen.

Uson was called out on social media for a Facebook post on Sunday that called for prayers for Filipino soldiers, but which netizens pointed out accompanied a photo of praying Honduran forces.

Uson’s post shared the photo from the Facebook page of CinEmotion Digital Films. The post from CinEmotion Digital Films did not identify the photo as that of Honduran policemen. The post also carried the hashtags copypaste_from_the_owner and mystique_warrior.

“Let’s pray for our army. Panalangin din po natin ang mga pamilyang naiwan at nababahala sa kalagayan ng kanilang asawa at tatay (Let us also pray for the families left behind who are worried about the situation of their husbands and fathers),” read Uson’s post accompanying the photo.

In a new Facebook post on Tuesday, Uson contended that she never claimed that the photo was that of members of the Philippine Army, and that the photo was just a “symbolism.”

“I did not say that was Philippine army. I did not say that picture was taken from Marawi. It’s a symbol of army praying,” she said in her post.

Uson said that if she posted a picture of Jose Rizal and said the fight for freedom should continue, it did not mean that Rizal would literally be the one leading the fight.

Journalists, she said, should use “common sense.”

‘Media of Tatay Digong’

After being appointed to the Presidential Communications Operations Office earlier this month, Uson said she would fight fake news.

“It’s time for us to stop relying on the wrong reports from some mainstream media and to strengthen social media with the help of true members of the DDS (Die-hard Duterte Supporters). Because we are the media of Tatay Digong,” she said on her Facebook page.

PNA blooper

President Duterte described Uson as “bright” and “articulate.” Mr. Duterte said her appointment was payback after she and her Mocha Girls group campaigned for him in the 2016 presidential election for free.

A government news agency also took flak on social media for distributing alleged fake news.

After being called out for two erroneous posts, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) said it regretted the error and assured the public that it had reviewed its procedures to ensure that similar mistakes would not happen again.

In a statement, PNA said it was never its policy to propagate fake news.

“While there have been lapses in our judgment, it has never been the policy of PNA to tolerate erroneous report, and it has certainly never been our intention to sow misinformation, much less share what is termed nowadays as ‘fake news,’” it said.

The agency said it regretted that the mistakes had cast doubt on its integrity. “Rest assured, we have dealt with our erring personnel and that we are reviewing our procedures on reportage as we continue to uphold our commitment to deliver accurate and balanced news reports to the Filipino people and the world.”

One of the errors was the photo posted to accompany a story about the terror attacks in Marawi. The photo of soldiers used turned out to have been taken during the Vietnam War.

PNA said it had taken down the photo upon learning of the mistake, but by then, the story had been shared by its readers.

Another erroneous story was its article, “95 states convinced there are no EJKs in PHL,” which quoted Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Densing earlier denied some of the details reported in the story. PNA said that when it learned of this, it interviewed him to get an accurate report.


AFP chief: Marawi City siege was start of extremist plan

MARAWI, Lanao del Sur — Militants who  occupied much of Marawi City over the past week were planning violent attacks during the holy month of Ramadan to earn recognition as a regional branch of the Islamic State group, Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said Tuesday.

Soldiers have taken control of about 70 percent of Marawi, where the gunmen have been fending off the army for a week, Año said. About 100 militants, troops and civilians have been killed.

“They wanted to show the world that there is an ISIS branch here which can inflict the kind of violence that has been seen in Syria and Iraq,” Año told The Associated Press, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

The siege in Marawi followed an unsuccessful Army raid that attempted to capture militant commander Isnilon Hapilon, who has been designated by the Islamic State group as its leader in the Philippines.

Hapilon escaped and gunmen loyal to him besieged this mostly Muslim city of 200,000 people, torching buildings and taking hostages. Año said the gunmen were prepared to fight because of their Ramadan attack plot.

The unrest has boosted fears that the Islamic State group’s violent ideology is gaining a foothold in the Philippines’ restive southern islands, where a Muslim separatist rebellion has raged for decades.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao through mid-July, but lawmakers on Tuesday asked for a public session of Congress to determine whether martial law would still be necessary.

Duterte’s declaration unnerved Filipinos who had lived through the rule of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who declared martial law in 1972 and used it to hold power for more than a decade.

The AFP insists the drawn-out fight in Marawi is not a true sign of the militants’ strength, and that the military has held back to spare civilians’ lives.

As of Tuesday morning, Año said the military, working house-by-house, had cleared 70 percent of the city and the remaining militants were isolated.

Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.

In recent years, small militant groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of the Islamic State group. Solicitor General Jose Calida said last week that the violence on Mindanao “is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens.”

Three Malaysians, an Indonesian and possibly Arab extremists have been killed in the Marawi fighting, Año said, citing the latest intelligence on the matter. He said Hapilon was still hiding somewhere in the city and that authorities were working to confirm another top militant had been killed.

At least 65 militants have been killed and 15 Philippine troops, Año said. The bodies of 19 civilians have been recovered and local authorities have reported more civilian deaths still to be tallied.

Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert at Singapore’s S. Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in Mindanao, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be “a huge success for the terrorists.”

Last week, two suicide bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia, killed three police officers, an attack claimed by IS. While Indonesia has been fighting local militants since 2002, the rise of the Islamic State group has breathed new life into those militant networks and raised concern about the risk of Indonesian fighters returning home from the Middle East.

Experts have warned that as IS is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters.

Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East “could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home,” said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence. Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island.

Año told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the extremists had plotted to set Marawi ablaze entirely to project the influence of the Islamic State. The extremists wanted to kill Christians in nearby Iligan City on Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq, Año said.

The fighters’ support network in Marawi remains unclear, though the power of one militant group – the Mautes – has grown in recent years. Led by members of the city’s Maute clan, the group has become increasingly active in a number of towns across Lanao del Sur province, where Marawi is located, and has been instrumental in the fighting this past week.

Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed a Muslim autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued.

Hapilon is an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller militant groups, including the Maute./rga


Gallery: Enduro World Series Round 4 in Wicklow, Ireland


Women's Cycling Editor/Bike Radar.


The Enduro World Series has been nothing if not dramatic thus far, and it looks like Round 4 in Wicklow, Ireland is continuing the trend.

After several days of sunny weather, the promise of the first dry round of the year was broken on Saturday when the heavens opened. While the skies are dry for race day, the trails most definitely are not, so expect some loose moves and dramatic crashes.

Meanwhile, down in the pits, BikeRadar has been scoping out the shiny bikes and tech ridden by the world’s best enduro riders. Have a look and a drool, we certainly have been!

The battle for number one

Photo: Greg Callaghan starts the race number 1 in the overall rankings, but Sam Hill isn't far behind

Greg Callaghan comes into the fourth round of the EWS fresh from a win at Madeira and with two previous wins in Ireland, and it being the home race for him it's fair to say there's a wee bit of pressure.

It's something that Callaghan certainly seems to be taking in his stride, however. "Pressure makes diamonds," he commented on-stage before setting off to rapturous applause.

Photo: A closer look at that amazing green, white and gold paint job on Greg Callaghan's Cube

Lauded in Ireland, Callaghan has had plenty of mainstream media attention with segments on RTE news, the national news network, and articles in broadsheets such as the Irish Independent.

The country is clearly very proud of its mountain biking son, so can he pull another win out of the bag here or is he chasing the overall title? After all, he ranks number one overall going into round four.

E-mountain bikes galore!

Photo: Notice anything unusual about this e-MTB?

E-MTBs are a common sight at EWS rounds, as they're pretty darn useful for media and organisers for getting in and around the different stages.

This plush looking beast is owned by Claus Wachsmann, the Cube team manager. Take a closer look and you might notice a few unusual features... not least the different size wheels: 29 up front, 27.5 at the back.

Photo: While it's most certainly not being ridden by the racers, Lapierre was showing off it's new e-MTB

Cube wasn't the only brand showing off an e-bike. The new Lapierre Overvault AM600 was attracting a fair bit of attention too.

Photo: While the battery is currently supplied by Bosch, we wonder what that interesting shaped down tube has been designed to accommodate?

It's got a carbon frame, and while it's currently powered by a Bosch motor and battery, there's an interesting looking space on the down tube — what might be in store for filling that?

Plenty of new bikes too

Photo: Santa Cruz rider Mark Scott... and is there something different about that Hightower?

Mark Scott and the Santa Cruz team have some of the brightest bikes on the hill, but there seems to be something interesting going on with the Hightower.

Photo: Moto foam should help stop mud clogging up the works

Apart form the moto foam, which will hopefully keep the mud at bay, there seems to be no sign of the usual dual geometry options on the rocker link. New longer travel Hightower perhaps?

Photo: Anita Gehrig and Caroline Gehrig on shiny new Ibis HD4s

Also spotted was the the new Ibis HD4 enduro bike, ridden by Anita and Caroline Gehrig, and team.

Longer, slacker, more aggressive and with a lower bottom bracket and standover; it's clearly appreciated by the riders.

Memorial Day: Popsicle tweet from Ivanka Trump's lifestyle brand gets icy reception

By Saba Hamedy, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's daughter faced backlash after her lifestyle brand's Twitter account -- "IvankaTrumpHQ" -- gave what some considered an insensitive Memorial Day holiday tip. 

"Make champagne popsicles this #MemorialDay," the tweet read, linking to a section on IvankaTrump.com which features a list of ideas for the holiday, described as the "Kickoff to Summer."
Trump, who also serves as one of her father's top White house advisers, posted a more typical Memorial Day message on her personal Twitter account.
"Today we honor the men & women in our armed forces who have lost their lives to protect our freedom," she wrote. "Thank you for your service #MemorialDay."
Still, many mocked Trump for the popsicle tweet.
One meme, which many circulated on Twitter, featured text that reads: "Remember our sacrifice by making champagne popsicles."
"You'd think that no one could be that utterly callous, right?" wrote one Twitter user. "But we're dealing with a Trump brat here."
"Who can't relate to 'champagne popsicles' on #MemorialDay ?" wrote another. "Except maybe all the people honoring those who served and sacrificed all."
Others shared photos of their family members who served the US.
"My dad was a gunner in Vietnam and had to clean the blood of his dead friends out of the chopper. #NoChampagnePopsicles," wrote one Twitter user.
The negative Twitter reactions come as Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, senior adviser to Trump, attempt to "keep their heads down," as CNN reported Monday, following news that the FBI is looking into the role Kushner held during the campaign and transition, including his contacts with Russian officials.

Filipino Olympian Ian Lariba diagnosed with leukemia


The De La Salle University table tennis star will undergo treatment this week, according to a statement from De La Salle University.

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Olympian Ian Lariba has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, according to an official statement from the De La Salle University Office of Sports Development on Tuesday morning, May 30.

The announcement, released via the office's official Twitter account, came just a couple of days after calls for blood donations for the UAAP table tennis star came pouring in on social media. Lariba is expected to undergo treatment this week, the statement added.

Anyone wishing to extend financial assistance to Lariba may do so by following instructions detailed on the above statement.

Blood donations may also be made by Type O positive donors through the St. Luke's Medical Center Quezon City blood bank. Full details below.

The 22-year-old Lariba competed for the Philippines in the 2016 Rio Olympics and has dominated the UAAP in table tennis, finishing her collegiate career undefeated. She was one of the 4 co-winners for the UAAP Season 78 Athlete of the Year award and was a 3-time UAAP Most Valuable Player as well.


Read Rappler's profile of Lariba prior to the Rio Games here– Rappler.com


15 senators: ‘No compelling reason’ to revoke martial law declaration in Mindanao

By:  -


(Updated, 10:34 a.m.) Fifteen of 23 senators have filed a resolution supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao, saying it was “constitutional” and in accordance with the law, and that there was “no compelling reason” to revoke it.

The 15 senators who filed Senate Resolution No. 388 Monday were Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Manny Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva , Cynthia Villar and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

The signatories are all part of the Senate majority bloc. Only two members from the majority group — Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero — did not sign the resolution.

The resolution expresses “the sense of the Senate, supporting Proclamation No. 216 dated May 23, 2017 entitled ‘Declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao’ and finding no cause to revoke the same.”

It noted that on May 25, 2017, the Office of the President submitted to the Senate its report on the “factual and legal basis of the proclamation of martial law for Mindanao.”

“Part of the reason for the declaration was the series of violent acts committed by the Maute terrorist group, such as the attack on the military outpost in Butig, Lanao Del Sur in February 2016,” the resolution said.

“The said attack resulted in the killing and wounding of several soldiers and the mass jailbreak in Marawi City in August 2016 which freed and arrested comrades of the terrorist group and other detainees.”

The measure also cited Maute group’s takeover of a hospital in Marawi City, burning of certain government and private facilities and wounding of government troops last May 23.

“They started flying the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in several areas,’ it pointed out.

Citing Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code, the resolution said, the acts committed by the Maute group were an “open attempt to remove from the allegiance to the Philippine government the part of Mindanao and deprive the Chief Executive of its powers and prerogatives to enforce laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety in Mindanao, hence constitutes the crime of rebellion.”

“Now, therefore, be it resolved, as it is hereby resolved, by way of the sense of the Senate that the Senate finds the issuance of Proclamation No, 216 to be satisfactory, constitutional and in accordance with the law,” it said.

“The Senate hereby supports fully Proclamation No. 216 and finds no compelling reason to revoke the same,” it further said.

Also on Monday, the six-man minority group filed a separate resolution urging Congress to convene in a joint session and deliberate on the martial law declaration and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the entire Mindanao amid continuing fighting between government troops and the Maute group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

The six minority members are Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Leila de Lima, who has been detained at Camp Crame in Quezon City over drug charges. IDL/rga



Middle schoolers refuse to pose with Paul Ryan during photo op


The New York Post 


A group of New Jersey eighth-grade students schooled House Speaker Paul Ryan over his unwillingness to critique President Trump.

About half ​of the more than 200​ students from South Orange Middle School refused to pose for a photo with Ryan during a school trip to Washington, DC, last Thursday.

Matthew Malespina, 13, who waited ​across the street ​with other classmates​ declining to be in the picture with the Wisconsin Republican​, said the school informed them the night before of the photo op on the Capitol steps.

“I was like, ‘Oh God, I’m not taking a picture with this man.’ I first texted my mom because my mom hates Paul Ryan as well,” Matthew told The Post​ on Sunday.​ “And I was saying to her, ‘Oh ​G​od, I can’t do this. I can’t take a picture with him.’ She said that was completely fine, just be respectful.”

Being in the photo wasn’t mandatory, Matthew said, ​so he was surprised by the number of students who agreed to turn out because of the lack of support among ​the ​students for Trump.

“Our school is pretty liberal. I only know three Trump supporters in our grade and there’s a lot people in our grade. So it’s fairly liberal. [Teachers] knew that a lot of people didn’t like Paul Ryan,” he said. “But they gave us the option. I was shocked by the number of people who wanted to join me and my friends to not take a picture of him. It was like half the grade.”

His mom, Elissa Malespina, said she’s proud of her son for standing up for his ​principles.

“I am proud of him that he chose to not do that and I am proud he did so in a respectful manner​,” she told The Post. “​Yes, he [Ryan] is the third-most powerful person in the nation, technically, but I don’t agree with his stance on a lot of things and neither does my child.”

Paul Ryan's Instagram

Children that age “have the ability to make choices,” ​Elissa ​Malespina said of standing by her son’s decision, “and to make educated choices and they are not indoctrinated by their parents. And they have a good understanding of what’s going on in society. I respect children who chose to take a picture with him and also kids who don’t.”

​Asked about her disagreements with Ryan, she quipped, “I don’t think we have enough time.”

But she ticked off her main gripes: not enough support for public education and library funding, the GOP health care plan that could mean 23 million fewer Americans without insurance, and his stance on LGBTQ rights.

“I have pre-existing conditions. My son has pre​-​existing conditions. My husband has pre​-​existing conditions that under this new law if my husband or I lose our jobs we might not be able to get health care, and that’s scary​,​”​ she said.

Ryan, who helped shepherd Trump’s plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare through the House, recently shrugged ​off the​ burgeoning investigations into the White House’s possible ties to Russia and the idea that the president referring to ousted FBI Director James Comey as a “nut job”could harm the GOP majority in Congress.

“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah is what I say about that stuff,” Ryan said during a recent radio interview.

Matthew sa​id​ Ryan “probably” didn’t understand that half the kids were across ​the ​street peacefully protesting​, and he was bothered that​ the speaker still posted a picture with the students on Instagram, titled “Got that #FridayFeeling.”

​​”I was disgusted. What he wrote was hilarious. He’s [with] a bunch of people who don’t really like him and says ‘I got that Friday​ F​eeling.’ And that’s what I was really annoyed about it. If he realized a lot of people didn’t take a picture of him and most people in that picture didn’t like him, which is kind of ironic​,​”​​ Matthew said.​

A spokesman for Ryan said the speaker “always appreciates the opportunity to welcome students to the Capitol.”

2 Muslim women defend Christians

By:  -



ILIGAN CITY—Two Maranao women put their lives on the line to defend Christians when terrorists from the Maute group attacked Marawi City on Tuesday, prompting President Duterte to declare martial law in all of Mindanao.

Cris, a Bisaya (as Muslims and “lumad” [indigenous people] call non-Muslims) who lived with his family in Marawi, recalled that when a group of terrorists barged into the gun store in Basak Malutlut where he worked, “Ma’am Farida confronted them.”

“The confrontation was really eye to eye, which indicated the seriousness of the message and the personal resolve that Ma’am Farida was showing [to the gunmen],” Cris said.

The group’s leader ordered the guns and ammunition in the store hauled off and questioned Farida about her employees.

Farida stepped back to stand between her 13 male employees who were huddled together and the group of about 10 terrorists.

“You have to kill me first before you can even touch them!” Cris quoted Farida, speaking in the Maranao language, as telling the terrorists, mostly boys in their late teens.

Cris is one of Farida’s 17 employees who man her family’s two gun stores in Marawi, one in Basak Malutlut and another in Banggolo district, which was also looted.

At the start of the siege, 13 of the employees were in the Basak Malutlut store while four where in the Banggolo store.

Most of the 17 have been employed by Farida for more than a decade. Many live with their families at a compound in Basak Malutlut.

Had the terrorists seized them, their families would have been taken, too, Cris said.

Although official statistics show that non-Muslims account for just 1 percent of Marawi’s population, the actual proportion could be higher, as many Bisaya work and live in the city, mostly in commercial establishments and in the homes of well-off families.

These Bisaya have learned to speak Maranao and have assimilated well into the community.

The bulk of the non-Muslim population lives on the campus of Mindanao State University (MSU), designed as a social laboratory for cross-cultural interaction among the peoples of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan.

Moro insurgency

Although without religious underpinnings, the Moro insurgency has created tensions between Muslims and Christians, especially in the conflict areas.

Decades of efforts at interfaith dialogue have contributed much to easing the situation. But the advent of Islamic radicalism has shaken anew these fragile relations.

The beheading of two sawmill workers by Maute terrorists in Butig town last year sent a chill through the Christian community in the city and caused unease even among Muslim employers.

Cris said he believed that because the gun store employees were not harmed, the terrorists might have been interested in their technical skills.

When the terrorists left, Farida ordered the employees to get their families and led them to a relative’s house in Bangon, 6 kilometers away, Cris said.

There they were fetched by Farida’s uncle and taken to the family home in Padian, near the lake, where they were joined by the four other employees from the Banggolo gun store.

The following day, they crossed the lake to Binidayan town and from there traveled to Iligan City.

Escape to Iligan

At about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, as the terrorists took control of Marawi’s main districts, Zaynab, a development and humanitarian relief worker, was counting Christians who had taken refuge in the center.

The following day, she gathered 20 of them, several staffers and a family member, and put them in vehicles that took them to Iligan, traveling the long southern route through Malabang to avoid the gridlock on the Iligan-Marawi road.

They traveled for 15 hours—thrice the normal time of the ride to Iligan—skipping meals, which was risky for a diabetic like Zaynab.

“I never minded the danger. I was prepared to die first before they (terrorists) could harm the Christians,” she said.



Dumoulin: I never expected to win the Giro d'Italia

Dutchman reclaims maglia rosa in Milan time trial

by By /Cycling News

Although Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) was not receiving time gaps in his earpiece, he must have had a fair idea that he was winning the Giro d'Italia. Turning a mammoth gear of 58x11 as he left the start gate in Monza, he composed crisp lines through the early bends of the concluding time trial with the concision of Piet Mondrian.

Dumoulin began the day in fourth place overall, 53 seconds off race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar), and he knew that he needed to peg back a shade more than 1.8 seconds per kilometre if he was to divest the Colombian of the maglia rosa. By the first time check, Dumoulin was gaining on Quintana at a rate of 3.5 seconds per kilometre. Come the second checkpoint after 17.4 kilometres, he was the virtual race leader. By then, he was already receiving orders not to take undue risks on the final run-in to the stage 21 finish in Milan.

On crossing the finish line in Piazza Duomo, Dumoulin was ushered swiftly to the podium area, which stood in the shadow of the mighty cathedral. The beaming faces of the Sunweb support staff that greeted him told him that the Giro was his, and Dumoulin broke into a broad smile as he freewheeled to a halt.

Dumoulin's blood ran cold, however, when he retired to a tent behind the rostrum to watch on television as his rivals finish their time trials. As Quintana rattled across tram lines on the entry to Milan, the on-screen graphics erroneously suggested his deficit in the virtual general classification was a mere three seconds. Dumoulin's features tightened into a picture of concern as he processed the information.

Only when Quintana entered the final kilometre could Dumoulin accept that all was true: He had indeed won the Giro d'Italia. Second place in the time trial gave Dumoulin overall victory, 31 seconds clear of Quintana and 40 ahead of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).

"I didn't know any time gaps, because I just wanted to focus on my own TT. Then I spoke to my sports director, and he told me not to take risks anymore in the corners. He said that already at halfway, and then in the last kilometres he told me to be really safe," Dumoulin said. "When I crossed the line, everybody told me, 'You've won, you've won.' But then I looked at the TV and the gap was only three seconds, and I was so angry with everyone. 'How can you say I've won it?' And I'd already celebrated too ... But eventually it all came good."

After the podium ceremonies had finally been completed, Dumoulin, now safely reacquainted with the maglia rosa, took a seat in the mixed zone and munched on a slice of pizza. "My mom just bought it in some shop here," he explained. "I'm having a little bit of a hunger flat." As a scrum of reporters formed around Dumoulin, Sunweb press officer Peter Reef stood at a discreet remove, holding the Trofeo Senza Fine for safekeeping.

Dumoulin's Giro will perhaps forever be remembered for his abrupt toilet stop at the base of the Umbrailpass on stage 16, but the Dutchman was able to make light of the incident even when it seemed as though it might cost him final overall victory. Through the final week, some tifosi took to waving rolls of toilet paper at Dumoulin as he rode past, a gesture he accepted with laughter.

"I've still made history by shitting in the wood but now in a positive way," Dumoulin said on Sunday. "I will go down in the history books for winning the Giro after pooping in the woods, it's quite amazing."

Levity aside, that day on the Stelvio was, despite the time conceded to Quintana and Nibali, the moment Dumoulin realised that he had the ability to win the Giro. Although he had won atop Oropa in the wake of his victory in the Montefalco time trial, his athletic performance on the Giro's tappone was perhaps the most startling of an already remarkable sequence.

"I lost only two minutes in the last 30k – well, actually only 40 seconds after my incident, so after that, I thought, 'Maybe I'm better than I thought,'" Dumoulin said. "It was still a long way, but I knew there was still the time trial too."

The third man

After coming within a mountain pass and a half of claiming the 2015 Vuelta a España, Dumoulin marked himself out as a potential Grand Tour winner, but he lined up for this Giro among the second tier of favourites, behind men like Nibali, Quintana and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). As the race progressed, however, it soon became clear that Dumoulin was, at times, simply on another level.

Only in the succession of high mountain stages in the final week did he begin to show signs of weakness, conceding the pink jersey to Quintana at Piancavallo on Friday, but with the grand finale in Milan to come, Dumoulin remained poised to become only the third Dutchman to win a Grand Tour, after Jan Janssen and Joop Zoetemelk.

"No, I never expected to win the Giro," Dumoulin admitted softly. "Maybe somewhere in the future, maybe one time with a lot of luck or whatever, but not this year. I would have been very happy with a place in the top ten. If I had done that, then I would have been very happy with how I coped with it."

Janssen and Zoetemelk won two Grand Tours apiece, claiming the Vuelta a España in 1967 and 1979, respectively, with each proceeding to win the Tour de France the year after their Vuelta victories. This year, with Dumoulim, Bauke Mollema and Steven Kruijswijk all featuring in the Giro, the Netherlands press has decamped en masse to Italy. In 2018, one can expect the Dutch love affair with the Tour to blossom all over again.

Dumoulin, however, had other priorities on Sunday evening, as shadows began to lengthen over Piazza Duomo. "Next up is beer, barbecue. That's my future," Dumoulin said. "Beyond that, I'm not thinking."

Video link: https://youtu.be/iBVVAbSllJk



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