Jumbo-Visma’s Koen Bouwman stole the show at the 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia today, collecting enough points to clinch final victory in the Maglia Azzurra climbers’ competition (assuming he makes it to Sunday’s finish), and bagging a second stage win today with a thrilling sprint at the Santuario di Castelmonte. Riding with a breakaway group around far northeastern Italy and parts of Slovenia, Bouwman took care of business and made it home in the five rider group, which included FDJ’s Attila Valter, who enjoyed lots of support from Hungarian fans making the short trek to visit the stage. Anyway, in the end it came down to a last sprint atop the final climb, as the gradient eased off, and in that sprint... well, just check it out:
Some may disagree, but Bouwman took a reasonable angle through the tight final turn, and the guys behind him had to react to his wheel to the extent they overlapped. Certainly Quick Step’s Mauro Schmid got messed up, enough to keep him second, but he in turn seriously messed up Andrea Vendrame. Valter was in the middle of it too. Everyone ended up mad at everyone else, so if you were hoping for some fun today, you got it. But I don’t see what else Bouwman was supposed to do besides pick a reasonable line and go for it, which he did. Pro cyclists should all know that sprints coming around a tight turn are hard to win from anywhere other than the front.
Bouwman is enjoying his finest hour as a pro. Before this Giro he had a Dauphiné stage to his name but not much else. The 28-year-old climber was 12th in last year’s Giro, and is riding his fifth Giro, so this is something of his main event. But two stages would be remarkable enough, even without an iconic secondary jersey. So hats off to the Gelderlander for bringing Jumbo some much-needed honor after their overall hopes evaporated in week 1.
I can’t tell you what happened with the GC competition without falling asleep before finishing typing up a description. Tomorrow should be fun, though if it ends in another GC guy sprint I will not be terribly shocked.
- BOUWMAN Koen, Jumbo-Visma, 4:32:55
- SCHMID Mauro, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
- TONELLI Alessandro, Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, at 0:03
- VALTER Attila, Groupama - FDJ, 0:06
- VENDRAME Andrea, AG2R Citroën Team, 0:10
- BAYER Tobias, Alpecin-Fenix, 2:45
- MARTIN Guillaume, Cofidis, 3:49
- CARAPAZ Richard, INEOS Grenadiers, 3:56
- HINDLEY Jai, BORA - hansgrohe, s.t.
- LANDA Mikel, Bahrain - Victorious, s.t.
Marano Lagunare - Santuario di Castelmonte 178 km
From the beach to a mountain finish via a nasty climb in Slovenia. Just two more chances left to make a difference before the timetrial.
Expected finish: 16:55 - 17:35 CEST
Julian Alpinist of the Day : Lennard Kämna
Because hey, what else do Bora riders have to focus on these days except riding for stage wins?