Giro: Dutchman cheers after controversial sprint
Koen Bouwman (Jumbo – Visma) celebrates his second Giro victory of the day. | Photo: Cor Vos
27/05/2022 | (rsn) – The 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia, which ran over 178 kilometers from Marano Lagunare to Santuario di Castelmonte, ended with a controversial sprint. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo – Visma) crossed the finish line only after a contact in the last corner and celebrated his second victory of the day. Second-placed Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) then protested vehemently because the Dutchman had blocked his way.
Third place went to Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani – CSF – Faizanè), three seconds later. Tobias Bayer (Alpecin – Fenix) was in today’s breakout group and finally finished in sixth place, 2:45 minutes behind. Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) again defended the pink jersey.
Bouwman, Schmid, Tonelli, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R – Citroën) and Attila Valter (Groupama – FDJ) fought for the victory as the final drivers in what was originally a twelve-man main group on the final climb to Santuario di Castelmonte. After the quintet had kept an eye on each other for almost the entire ascent, there was contact between Schmid and Bouwman in the final 90-degree turn exactly 100 meters before goal, which both judged differently.
“I knew about the left turn, but I did not know it was so sharp. I had to brake hard and knew I had to take the inside. Hopefully no one fell, I’m sorry,” Bouwman described the scene, where he sat down in front of his competitors from his point of view. Schmid, on the other hand, criticized today’s winner for what he considered to be irregular behavior. “In my opinion, it was certainly not a fair sprint. “He knows he’s slower in the sprint, that’s why he pushed me away,” said the Swiss.
The jury sees no breach of the rules on Bouwman’s part
The jury decided not to intervene and then the result was firm. Bouwman thus secured his second stage success. “After my first victory, I said it would be nice to have one more. But I would also be realistic because this was only my second professional victory. Winning two Giro stages leaves me speechless,” said the 28-year-old. .
On top of that, Bouwman can no longer be caught in the mountain classification. “Securing the blue jersey was actually the goal of the day. I can hardly believe that this goes hand in hand with another stage victory, ”said the jumbo rider, who gave his team, which was disappointing in the overall standings, a conciliatory Giro conclusion.
On the final climb, Carapaz exchanged blows again with Jai Hindley (Bora – Hansgrohe) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious). Again, none of the three favorites could break away, so Carapaz enters tomorrow’s crucial mountain tape with a three-second lead over Hindley and 1:05 minutes over Landa. However, the Olympic champion lost an important helper in Richie Porte.
“It’s unfortunate to lose Richie so early in the day, but the team did a fantastic job and Pavel Sivakov is in good shape. The top three are close,” said Carapaz. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora – hansgrohe) was able to keep his seventh place overall, but cashed in just over a minute for the competition.
How the race went:
With sunshine and summer temperatures above 25 degrees, a fierce battle erupted for today’s group right from the start on flat terrain. After about ten kilometers Bouwman, Edoardo Affini (both Jumbo – Visma), Valter, Clement Davy (both Groupama – FDJ), Schmid, Davide Ballerini (both Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Bayer, Vendrame , Tonelli, Magnus Cort (EF Education – EasyPost) and Edward Theuns (Trek – Segafredo) by them.
Then another 15 kilometers passed until the pursuers calmed down and the group of twelve got a free ride. As expected, Ineos Grenadiers took control of the field, quickly giving the breakaways a huge lead of almost 11:30, reached after 50 kilometers. Carapaz’s team showed no interest in increasing the pace and could afford it because Bouwman, the generally best placed breakaway, was already more than an hour behind Maglia Rosa.
Instead of Ineos Grenadiers, however, Bora – hansgrohe was at the forefront of the field and started to close the gap. The middle sprint in Buja, the hometown of Alessandro De Marchi (Israel – Premier Tech), was secured after 56 kilometers by Gaviria, who overtook second place Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) in the sprint classification.
Carapaz loses his noble helper Porte on the first ascent
At the foot of the day’s first climb, the distance between the drivers and the field had shrunk by about two minutes, which did not change in the 3.5 km long and eight percent steep climb to Villanova Grotte (3rd cat.). Affini set the pace for his teammate Bouwman, who took the mountain prize and another nine points for his Maglia Azzura. Nine minutes later, Carapaz’s noble assistant Richie Porte surprisingly lost contact with the field without being attacked. Shortly afterwards, the 37-year-old Australian, who is said to have fallen ill overnight, got off his bike on the last Grand Tour of his career.
After a short descent, Hindley’s aides continued to work to reduce the distance on the nine-kilometer ascent to Passo di Tanamea (cat. 3), which was just over five percent steep. After 83.5 kilometers, Bouwman got another nine points for the mountain classification. On the downturn, it was primarily Affini and Ballerini who kept up the pace for their teammates Bouwman and Schmid, so Bora – hansgrohe was initially unable to narrow the gap further.
When it came to the 40-kilometer-long loop through Slovenia, the distance was about 8:30 minutes, at the foot of the ten-kilometer-long and nine percent steep Kolovrat, the “Slovenian Mortirolo”, it had increased by almost a minute more. On the first four kilometers of the 1,134-meter-high Kolovrats, which were up to 15 percent steep, the leading group quickly fell apart until only Bouwman, Schmid, Valter and Tonelli were left. The Italian was at times left behind, but fought his way back to the top of the climb.
At Kolovrat, Bouwman clears the mountain jersey
Behind them, the field, still controlled by five Bora professionals, was thinned out by the biggest obstacle of the day, with Eduardo Zardini (Drone Hopper – Androni Giocattoli) daring an attack that was thwarted relatively quickly. Forrest, Bouwman’s relentless pace work earned him the 40 points for the Bergpreis, meaning he only has to come to Verona to become the first Dutchman to take Maglia Azzura home.
Meanwhile, Hindley’s assistant Wilco Kelderman provided the pace in the field and led the clearly shrinking field over the top almost eight minutes behind the leading group. Vendrame caught up with them shortly after the mountain classification – but not enough with what the Italian even opposed, albeit without success.
In the long, winding descent, where the field also returned to Italy, the top quintet lost only a little of its lead. At the foot of the last mountain of the day, it was more than 8:30 minutes. Meanwhile, Bora – hansgrohe had retreated to the second row, so Ineos Grenadiers led the pursuers into the seven-kilometer-long and nearly eight percent steep last climb (cat. 2).
The “Big Three” consider, but without the ultimate determination
There, the leading group held together until almost three kilometers from goal, before Bouwman tested his companions for the first time, and Tonelli counter 500 meters later, causing problems for Vendrame. After this, however, the five leaders looked at each other again, eventually Schmid led the group to the last kilometer and opened the sprint, which found its early climax in the last sharp left card.
For Bouwman, Schmid passed outside here and closed the door for him. The Quick-Step pro swung and inadvertently got in the way of Vendrame, who had to continue straight to avoid falling. Bouwman, on the other hand, took momentum out of the 90-degree corner and was able to celebrate his victory early.
Behind them, Sivakov not only reduced the group of favorites with a massive increase in speed, but also prepared an attack on Carapaz, which at first only Hindley and Landa could follow. Although the trio proved to be superior to all their opponents over the last three kilometers, the top three in the overall standings did no more than necessary and used tactics so that not only competitors left behind could catch up. again, but also the Frenchman Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) did the same and took advantage of the situation and got a lead of seven seconds over the “big three”.
Carapaz finally opened the sprint shortly before the final corner, through which all the favorites got through well, and with Hindley and Landa at the back wheel at the same time, he finished as number eight, three to four minutes behind Bouwman.