Bouwman wins Giro d’Italia Stage 19; Carapaz still leads overall

Getty Images

SANTUARIO DI CASTELMONTE, Italy – Dutch cyclist Koen Bouwman won the penultimate mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia and Richard Carapaz kept the pink jersey heading into the final two days.

Bouwman, who rides for Teambo-Visma, edged Mauro Schmid and Alessandro Tonelli in a sprint to the line at the end of Stage 19 an incident on the final corner.

Schmid complained that Bouwman cut him off around the final corner, causing him to force Andrea Vendrame and Attila Valter wide when they were also vying for the stage win.

“In my opinion it was not a fair sprint, pretty clear, because my handlebars were still in front and he nearly crashed in the last corner. He just knows that he’s slower in the sprint so he pushed me away,” Schmid said. “You’ll see when you watch the last 100 metres, I can do nothing.

“It was not fair in my opinion. Second place is first loser, so I’m not happy with that. I had it in the legs today.”

It was a second victory in this Giro for Bouwman after he also won the seventh stage for his second ever professional win.

“After my first victory I said it would be really nice if I could have another one, but then I also said I need to be realistic, it was only my second victory as a pro,” Bouwman said. “Now, winning two stages in the Giro, wow, I’m just so happy.

“I knew there was a corner to the left but I didn’t know it was this sharp. I had to brake quite hard and I knew I had to take the inside. I don’t know if anyone crashed and otherwise I will be sorry for that.”

The 178-kilometer (111-mile) route from Marano Lagunare had four classified climbs, including the second-category ascent up to the summit finish at Santuario di Castelmonte. The stage also crossed briefly into Slovenia.

A breakaway of 12 riders went early and was allowed to build a large advantage of about 10 minutes. That broke up on the top-category Kolovrat climb and there were only five escapees remaining on the descent.

There were attacks behind in the general classification group, towards the top of the final climb, but nothing stuck and the main rivals crossed together, nearly four minutes behind Bouwman.

Carapaz, the 2019 champion and Olympic gold medalist in Tokyo, remained three seconds ahead of 2020 runner-up Jai Hindley and 1:05 ahead of Mikel Landa in third.

There was bad news for Carapaz, however, as Ineos Grenadiers teammate Richie Porte – his main support rider in the mountains – had to pull out of the Giro with sickness early in the stage.

“Truth is, it’s been a really difficult day,” Carapaz said. “I’m really disappointed about Richie, it’s unlucky. But the team is doing a good job and of course we’re dealing with everything the best we can. We’re all at a great level.

“It was a little bit give and take today but we’re all pretty much on the same level at the top.”

All could be decided on the race’s penultimate leg on Saturday. The 20th stage has been given the maximum difficulty rating of five stars and features three grueling climbs: the Passo San Pellegrino, the Passo Pordoi – which is the race’s highest point – and the final Passo Fedaia to the foot of the Marmolada glacier at the end of the 168-kilometer (104-mile) route from Belluno.

“Tomorrow is a good day, it’s at altitude, which I like,” said Carapaz, who prepared for the Giro with altitude training in his home country of Ecuador.

The Giro ends on Sunday in Verona with an individual time trial.

Primoz Roglic triumphs at Tirreno-Adriatico for winning return from injury

Getty Images

SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy — Primož Roglič made a winning return to cycling as he triumphed at the week-long Tirreno-Adriatico for a fourth Slovenian victory in five editions at “The Race of the Two Seas.”

It was Roglič’s first race of the season after the Jumbo-Visma rider underwent shoulder surgery last year.

“It’s just nice to come back to racing this way. I really enjoyed the whole week,” Roglič said. “My teammates were super strong.

“One week ago I was just expecting to suffer. It’s even better to win when it’s unexpected. It feels good ahead of the Giro d’Italia too.”

After winning the previous three stages to build up a significant advantage, Roglič protected his lead and finished safely in the peloton during Stage 7 to end the week-long race 18 seconds ahead of João Almeida of Portugal and 23 seconds ahead of British cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Roglič won the Tirreno in 2019. Fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogačar won the two previous editions but the two-time defending champion was competing at the Paris-Nice race which he won.

Belgian cyclist Jasper Philipsen won a bunch sprint to take the stage win. The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider edged out Dylan Groenewegen and Alberto Dainese.

It was Philipsen’s second sprint victory at this year’s Tirreno, setting him up as one of the favorites for next weekend’s Milan-San Remo race.

“I was dying in the end, my legs felt really painful, but I’m happy that I could keep it to the finish,” Philipsen said.

“The sprint stage is always different from a classic like San Remo but of course we have some confidence. We have a strong team I think. So now it’s good to take some time off, recover a little bit and try to be on top level.”

There was an early breakaway in the 154-kilometer (96-mile) route that started and finished in San Benedetto del Tronto but the eight riders were caught with just over 3 kilometers (2 miles) remaining.

Pogacar tops Gaudu, Vingegaard to win Paris-Nice


NICE, France — An impressive Tadej Pogacar clinched the final stage with a solo escape to win the week-long Paris-Nice.

David Gaudu finished second overall, 53 seconds behind Pogacar, while Jonas Vingegaard was third at 1 minute, 39 seconds back.

Pogacar attacked during the climb of Col d’Eze with 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) to go, finishing the eighth stage 33 seconds ahead of a small group made up of Vingegaard, Gaudu, Simon Yates and Matteo Jorgenson.

The Slovenian rider completed the 118-kilometer trek around Nice in 2 hours, 51 minutes, 2 seconds, crossing the finish line with both arms raised before taking a bow in front of the crowd and clapping his hands.

Pogacar now has a slight mental edge over Vingegaard, also outclassing him last October to win the Tour of Lombardy.

The duel between Pogacar and Vingegaard has become one of the biggest rivalries in cycling. Vingegaard finished second behind Pogacar in the 2021 Tour de France. But the Danish rider managed to beat Pogacar in the 2022 Tour de France for his first major title.

Vingegaard still has time to hit peak form. The Tour de France starts July 1.

Pogacar is the current leader in the UCI men’s road racing world rankings.

Pogacar and Vingegaard both started the season well. Last month in Spain, Pogacar won the Tour of Andalucia while Vingegaard won the O Gran Camino. Pogacar took the yellow jersey by winning the fourth stage. He dumped Vingegaard in the climb of La Loge des Gardes. Only Gaudu could stay on Pogacar’s wheel.

The two-time Tour de France winner extended his overall lead by taking Stage 7, beating Gaudu and Vingegaard in a small sprint atop Col de la Couillole.

French rider Gaudu finished fourth overall in the 2022 Tour de France but failed to finish in the past two editions of Paris-Nice.

The next race on the UCI World Tour is the Milan-San Remo classic on March 18.