Despite stage victories, mountain king Bouwman is happy that Giro d’Italia is over | NOW

Although Koen Bouwman has ridden the Giro d’Italia of his life, he is happy that the round is over. The Dutchman gave color to the Giro for Jumbo-Visma with two stage wins and the unique victory of the mountains classification.

“It has also been nice”, 28-year-old Bouwman said to Eurosport after the final time trial around Verona. “I look forward to coming home and seeing family and friends. But I have never been bored in the race for a moment and will not forget this for the rest of my life.”

By reaching the finish in Verona, the Jumbo-Visma rider definitely became the first Dutch winner of the mountain jersey in the Tour of Italy. He thus followed in the footsteps of Joop Zoetemelk, Steven Rooks and Gert-Jan Theunisse, who previously won the side classification in a big round.

“I drove a great lap,” continued Bouwman, who finished the final time trial in sixteenth place. “Of course it all went beyond everyone’s expectations, including myself. But I do try to keep my feet on the ground.”

“But I also realize that this was very special. The Dutch people who have embraced cycling have been spoiled in recent years. This Giro again. Being one of those guys makes me proud, yes.”

Koen Bouwman after his stage win in the nineteenth stage.

Koen Bouwman after his stage win in the nineteenth stage.

Koen Bouwman after his stage win in the nineteenth stage.

Photo: AFP

Stage victories stand for Bouwman above blue jersey

Bouwman was not only the first Dutchman to win the mountains classification of the Giro d’Italia; he also won two more stages. The Dutchman triumphed with the help of Tom Dumoulin in the seventh stage and then also beautifully won the nineteenth stage.

“The first stage win in Potenza is the best memory of this round for me,” said Bouwman, who had only booked one professional victory until the Tour of Italy. “I was so happy I couldn’t put it into words.”

For the Jumbo-Visma rider, the stage victories are also above winning the blue jersey. “The release that comes at such a moment after the finish is so beautiful, but of course I am also very happy with the jersey.”

It was only after the podium ceremony that Bouwman realized his unique performance in the Giro, which was won by Jai Hindley. “Of course things go through your head when you drive here. But when I was standing next to the other jersey wearers, the realization really came.”

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