Potenza (Italy) (AFP) – The Dutchman Koen Bouwman (Jumbo) conquered the 7th stage of the Giro d’Italia, this Friday in Potenza (south), beating his fellow escapees to claim the most prestigious victory of his career.
“At one point I felt worse, but I recovered. In the sprint I felt strong and everything went as I wanted. It was a perfect sprint”, commented the day’s winner.
The Spaniard Juan Pedro López (Trek) retained the ‘pink jersey’ as leader of the general classification, without having suffered attacks from his pursuers in this 196-kilometre medium-mountain stage.
In the absence of movement among the favorites despite a route that alternated ups and downs, the adventurers of the breakaway found a prize and reached the finish line almost three minutes ahead of the peloton, in which Juan Pedro López was riding comfortably.
“The race went well also thanks to Bauke Mollema, who got into the breakaway. I had a bad moment at the beginning of the race due to a puncture, but the team quickly brought me back to the peloton. Today I gave 100% to defend the Maglia Rosa again,” said López.
Dumoulin as a gregarious
To win the day’s victory, Bouwman had an exceptional domestique, the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin.
At the finish installed at the top of a small slope, Bouwman overtook another Dutch runner, Bauke Mollema, and the Italian Davide Formolo.
Winner of a Dauphiné stage in 2017, Bouwman, 28 years old and in his fifth participation in the Giro, achieved the second victory of his career.
The Jumbo team, ambitious and determined, thus recovered from its bad day last Tuesday on Etna.
Dumoulin, unrecognizable on the slopes of the Sicilian volcano, abandoned any chance of winning the Giro for the second time there, five years after his general victory in the Italian round, and the Norwegian Tobias Foss, the other leader, also lost time.
The stage began to take shape after about sixty kilometers, when the Italian Davide Formolo started a breakaway with seven riders (Villella, Poels, Bouwman, Mollema, Camargo, Dumoulin).
In a route that alternated ups and downs, the peloton stayed around five minutes behind the breakaways, before closing in on the final stretch.
Approaching Potenza, the two Jumbo team riders neutralized their opponents, although Dumoulin gave in with seven kilometers to go before returning to help his teammate.
“I felt that my strength diminished as the kilometers passed”, explained later the former time trial world champion, who was “very happy” for Bouwman.
On Saturday, the eighth stage visits Naples and its surroundings, starting and finishing in the southern Italian city, with a 153-kilometer route that could also reward adventurers.
© 2022 AFP