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Visma-Lease a Bike’s Olav Kooij earns first Grand Tour victory at the Giro d’Italia

Visma-Lease a Bike's Olav Kooij earns first Grand Tour victory at the Giro d'Italia

Olav Kooij has joined the ranks of sprinters with victories at the 107th Giro d’Italia, the Dutch Visma-Lease a Bike rider rounding Stage 4 winner Jonathan Milan in the final 40 meters to take his fifth triumph of the season. Tadej Pogačar was active in the final kilometre, and stayed safe in pink before the first rest day.

The Course

Va a Napoli! It was the final chance for the sprinters before Monday’s first rest day. A few little hills including a Cat. 4 marked the final 37 km, but they wouldn’t eliminate all the fast men.

Only two riders bothered to break away, and these Italians from Polti-Kometa hit the midway point with a 2:00 gap.

The sprinters warmed up for Naples via the intermediate sprint at Mondragone. There Tim Merlier pulled back one point from his 45-point deficit to ciclamino leader Jonathan Milan by crossing third.

With 58 km to go, Geraint Thomas was caught up in a crash, and then had to work his way back to the peloton with three teammates.

Geraint Thomas (1) shakes off crash.

As Alpecin-Deceuninck turned the screws on the Cat. 4, Merlier was dropped. The two fugitives received reinforcements including Julian Alaphillipe with 27 km to race. With 15 km remaining, Alaphilippe and Ewen Costiou had stolen away and were the only escapees left 20 seconds ahead.

Lidl-Trek drove the bus and when Alaphilippe was brought back Stage 1 victor Jhonatan Narváez made a dig. With 1.5 km to race, it looked good for the Ecuadorian. Inside 800 meters, Pogačar accelerated, leading out his man Joan Sebastian Molano. Narváez was caught right on the doorstep. Kooij followed Milan and passed him on the right for the win.

Monday is the first, well-deserved rest day. Tuesday’s summit finish is a 18-km long Cat. 1.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage 9

1) Olav Kooij (The Netherlands/Visma-Lease a Bike) 4:44:22
2) Jonathan Milan (Italy/Lidl-Trek) s.t.
3) Juan Sebastian Molano (Colombia/UAE-Emirates) s.t.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage GC
1) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenian/UAE-Emirates) 32:59:04
2) Dani Martinez (Colombia/Bora-Hansgrohe) +2:40
3) Geraint Thomas (Great Britain/Ineos) +2:58

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…