RSNplusIt worked in the third attempt
By Kevin Kemp
Koen Bouwman (right) and Tom Dumoulin (both Jumbo – Visma) celebrate the stage victory. | Photo: Cor Vos
13/05/2022 | (rsn) – Twice in his career, Koen Bouwman (Jumbo – Visma) has already scratched the surface of a day’s victory at the Giro d’Italia, but both times the dream ended prematurely. At that time, it was the later overall winners who intercepted the Dutch outburst and prevented the stage success. But in life it is always said that all good things come in threes, and so Bouwman tried again and landed his first GrandTour success on the 7th stage of this year’s Tour of Italy, which he could also celebrate with the help of his teammate Tom Dumoulin .
In 2018, he looked to be the last early outburst on Montevergine di Mercogliano towards stage victory. But an attack from Richard Carapaz (then Movistar) ended the Dutchman’s dream on the last kilometer. Last season, during the Devil’s Rag, Bouwman was on stage 9 for Campo Felice with Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) in front of the favorites group. The two breakaways seemed to be fighting for today’s victory, but then with 300 meters to go, Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) shot past him – “like a rocket”, as Bouwman later described in an interview.
Dumoulin selflessly helped his teammate win. | Photo: Cor Vos
But he never thought about these scenes on the way to Potenza, Bouwman said at the press conference. ‘Third time it finally worked. I’m speechless and incredibly happy to have won a stage in a Grand Tour, “said Gelderlænderen, who won the sprint of the four remaining outbursts against Bauke Mollema (Trek – Segafredo) and Davide Formolo (UAE Tour Emirates).
Already in the mountain classifications, Bouwman showed that he was the most explosive of the breakaways. “I have pretty fast legs, so I also sprinted around the mountain points. It did not take too much energy, “said the all-rounder, who replaced Lennard Källa (Bora – hansgrohe) at the top of the mountain classification and is now 25 points ahead of the German. “The blue jersey is a big bonus. Riding in a mountain jersey tomorrow is the icing on the cake. ”
Bouwman celebrated his first stage victory in a GrandTour … | Photo: Cor Vos
Conversion after the Etna debacle
Always by his side on stage was Dumoulin, who by mistake ended up in today’s group. “Actually, when the group was formed, Tom just wanted to stop the field behind us, but when two riders jumped up to me, he went with me,” Bouwman looked back. Dumoulin was originally intended as a general classification man for the Dutch team, but he had to bury all hope on Mount Etna.
‘He had to reorient himself because he lost the standings. The Etna scene was a big disappointment for us. But no one on the team hangs his head. The great thing about a Grand Tour is that there are 15 or 16 more stages, ”says Bouwman. Jumbo – Visma put this philosophy to life perfectly last Friday because two of the seven riders in the leading group wore the yellow and black jersey from the WorldTour formation. “It’s nice to see that Tom has already switched to a new tactic in his head. We will definitely see him more often, “announced the stage winner.
… At goal, he could hardly believe his success. | Photo: Cor Vos
Hobby fishermen captured today’s victory
As the difficult stage progressed, the breakaway group became smaller and smaller until the four strongest riders formed in front. 30 kilometers from the finish, Bouwman had problems at La Sellata (3rd cat.). He had to let his three companions run, but when they did not agree, he could shortly before the mountain classification catch up with the top again – and with his explosiveness also win the maximum mountain points.
Until then, it looked like Jumbo was driving for Dumoulin, but after the final climb, tactics changed. The 2017 Giro winner now did most of the work and was left in several attacks by Mollema on a climb with eight kilometers left. But the limburger also returned. “When Tom overtook the last few miles, I asked him to drive for me,” Bouwman said, describing the team’s tactics. The hobby fisherman also had a fishing metaphor ready. “When I’m home and not training, I like being by the river or the lake. Tom and I were two in a group of four, so it was relatively easy to win. ”
Bouwman thanked Dumoulin vehemently. | Photo: Cor Vos