Koen Bouwman won the stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia with a sprint finish climb to Santuario di Castelmonte on Friday.
You can rewatch STAGE 19 HERE
Richard Carapaz held onto the overall leader’s pink jersey two days before the race finishes in Verona, maintaining a three-second advantage on Jai Hindley.
Bouwman beat his four breakaway companions in a bumpy finale for his second stage after Potenza in southern Italy two weeks ago. Bouwman’s final acceleration took him through to the front, while Mauro Schmid had to brake hard to make the turn and the other three members of the group all went wide, Andrea Vendrame going up the exit route for race vehicles in the melee.
“I knew there was a turn to the left with 100 meters to go, so if I wanted a chance for the victory, I knew I had to go first. I started my sprint from I think fourth position in the group. I went over the guys and went inside into the corner,” Bouwman said.
“I didn’t know the corner was that tight, actually. So we came at it with a lot of speed, maybe 40k an hour or something. So I had to brake a little, and the guys behind me had to as well,” he said. “I’m happy that nobody crashed. But in the end, I think I’m really an honest rider, and if I make a mistake I say so. But I don’t think that I made a mistake. I think I deserved this victory.”
Carapaz survived the setback of losing his key mountain lieutenant Richie Porte early in the 178km stage which included three climbs and crossed into neighbouring Slovenia. Porte was dropped from the peloton on the first climb of the day, the third-category Villanova Grotte, after 70km of racing.
Organisers confirmed the 37-year-old Australian had dropped out of the Giro, which finishes in Verona on Sunday.
A 12-man breakaway approached the main climb of the day, the Kolovrat over 10.3 km and with a 9.2 percent gradient, with more than nine minutes on the peloton.
The four survivors only lost a little over a minute on this climb near Caporetto, the site of an historic defeat for the Italians in the First World War.
Saturday, the 20th stage includes three great climbs of the Dolomites, the San Pellegrino, the Pordoi for the highest point of this year’s race at 2,239 meters above sea level concluding at the Fedaia, with a spectacular steep climb in the last 5400 metres.
Sunday’s final stage is a 17.4km individual time-trial into Verona where Ecuadorian Carapaz claimed overall victory three years ago.