So about Tom Dumoulin winning the Giro, Maastricht is going to celebrate big time

Just when I thought orange was the official color of The Netherlands — it’s not, just to be clear — I learned there’s now also another (un)official color: pink! Ever since the Giro d’Italia, ended with a Maastrichtenaar (a.k.a. native Dutchperson from the southern city of Maastricht) winning the crown, I’ve been seeing pink and the pink jersey everywhere. Twenty-six year old Tom Dumoulin just made history as the first Dutchman to win Giro d’Italia, one of the 3 Grand Tours in professional cycling — the other two are the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, in which he has also raced.

Frankly, I am no pro-cycling sport fan. In fact, I am willing to quietly confess that I never truly learned to ride a bicycle until just 3 years before I moved to The Netherlands (gasp!). Plus, the only thing I know about the sport, being American, is that Lance Armstrong once won seven Tour de France titles, only to have them revoked after investigations found he was doping for quite some time. But, like any good expat trying to learn Dutch, I followed a handful of regional news sources in the Limburg province on Facebook, and am finding my feed filling up more with Tom in the pink jersey — he’s a Zuid-Nederland celeb after all!

Tom DuMoulin winning the Giro

Vlaai & Cycling: An Odd Couple?

Interestingly enough, I learned of the now history-making Tom Dumoulin from the local baker at the world-famed de Bisschopsmolen spelt bakery in Maastricht. During a vlaai workshop on the eve of the Giro d’Italia’s final day, I learned not only about the mill’s recorded history dating back to the late 11th century (unrecorded history is likely more than four centuries earlier), but also about the bakery’s relationship to Dutch pro-cyclists. I also was marketed spelt’s health benefits, especially for professional athletes, naturally. The fresh, all-natural, easily-digestible (if you don’t have Celiac disease) and high-calorie and nutrient content of famed Maastricht vlaai is a perfect food for the pro-athlete, no?

Tom Dumoulin winning the Giro: Celebrate Cycling History on May 31st!

Why pink? If you’re an amateur like me, you’ll need to go to Wikipedia to find out: the winner of the Giro d’Italia wins the coveted pink cycling jersey representing race triumph. And this year, a Maastrichtenaar won it, so there is no shortage of pink around town this week! For extra fun and festivity, there’s a celebration in the Maastricht city centre on May 31st at 19:30, that looks like it could be the order of a knighting ceremony of sorts to honor Tom Dumoulin. The program is not yet known for this historic event, but check out the Facebook event or Gemeente website for event updates. Whether you’re into pro-cycling or are considering a visit to Maastricht, this might just be a special bit of history to experience. After all, if Carnival in Maastricht is any representation of this city’s festive nature, this Wednesday evening is going to be quite the (pink?) celebration!