Markus takes Dutch title on Col du VAM
Riejanne Markus has won the Dutch national championship on the Col du VAM. The 2...
Koen Bouwman has scored an impressive double in the nineteenth stage of the Giro d'Italia. The 28-year-old Dutchman won his second stage and secured the blue mountain jersey. If he arrives safely in Verona on Sunday, he will be the first Dutchman to win the Giro mountain jersey.
After the eighteenth stage, Bouwman announced that he would try to get in the breakaway. He kept his word and joined Edoardo Affini in a sizeable leading group. After the blue jersey wearer had already taken the points on the first two climbs, he was also first on the Kolovrat.
On the final climb, five men were left and although there were several attempts, nobody managed to get away. Bouwman was the first to sprint, accelerated shortly after coming out of the corner, and then finished it off.
"This is a dream come true. Winning one stage was already special, but the fact that I have won two now is super special. I have no words for it", Bouwman said. "Before the Giro, I could have never imagined this. I came here as a domestique and now I go home with two stage wins and the blue jersey. Bizarre!"
"Because I had already won once, I dared to gamble a bit."
According to Bouwman, securing the blue jersey was the main goal for today. "With one stage win, the blue jersey would be the icing on the cake. I never thought I would do a double here this morning, although I felt terrific. Edo helped me get into the front group and his hard work gave us a big lead on the peloton. This victory is also his."
Attila Valter tried to prevent a sprint in the final kilometres, unlike Bouwman. "I reacted to every attempt and counted on my sprint. Because I had already won once, I dared to gamble a bit. I knew that there was a left turn just before the finish and that I had to take it first. I did that and fortunately, it proved to be enough."
Bouwman is the first Dutchman to call himself the Giro mountain king and the fourth Dutchman, after Gert-Jan Theunisse, Steven Rooks and Joop Zoetemelk, to take the mountain jersey on a grand tour. "I am very proud to be among them, although it is not a list where I belong, looking at my list of honours. I am thrilled that everything has come together this Giro."
Sports director Addy Engels was delighted. "Since the loss of our classification men, we have ridden very aggressively and this is the result. It has been a very successful Giro."