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Bouwman wins beautiful stage in Giro, partly thanks to Dumoulin

Bouwman wins beautiful stage in Giro, partly thanks to Dumoulin

Koen Bouwman has won the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia in an impressive way. After Tom Dumoulin had led him to the final kilometre, the 28-year-old rider was too fast for his breakaway companions. For Bouwman, who will start in the blue mountain jersey tomorrow, it was the second professional victory of his career.

After two flat stages, the stage from Diamante to Potenza was one for the climbers. After seven kilometres, Bouwman and Dumoulin escaped. The Team Jumbo-Visma riders were part of a seven-rider breakaway that got a six-minute lead. Bouwman was the best-classified rider in the breakaway and rode virtually in pink for a while.

On the flanks of La Sellate, the last climb of the day, four riders were left in the battle for the stage victory. Dumoulin attacked several times and it seemed that Bouwman had to give in. However, the Dutchman fought back and for the third time he took the maximum mountain points and secured the blue mountain jersey.

Bauke Mollema tried to surprise his fellow escapees in the final kilometres, but Bouwman was alert. Dumoulin put himself in the lead and brought his teammate in a comfortable position to the finish line. Bouwman was the first to attack on the steep finish street in Partenza and crossed the finish line with a big lead.

"Unbelievable", the stage winner said. "This was the first real chance for me after our classification riders collapsed on Etna. I had perfect legs today and was able to sprint for the mountain points every time. Although I had one bad moment on the climb, I could return to the group at my own pace. After the descent, I felt good again."

Bouwman was grateful to Dumoulin for his hard work in the final kilometres. "Tom did a great job. I knew I was one of the most explosive men and therefore had a lot of confidence in a good outcome. When I was almost at the finish, I looked back and saw that the margin was enough. I have no words for it."

Dumoulin was delighted that he was able to help his teammate to victory. "There is no rider in the peloton who deserves it more than Koen", Dumoulin said. "I wasn't planning on going in the breakaway at all. I wanted to give myself some extra days to find the right legs. By chance I ended up in the breakaway because I wanted to protect Koen's break. Suddenly we had a gap and I was in the breakaway. It was great that it worked out this way."

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