Coppi e Bartali: Koen Bouwman takes breakaway win on stage 3

MONTE LUSSARI ITALY MAY 27 Koen Bouwman of The Netherlands and Team JumboVisma crosses the finish line during the 106th Giro dItalia 2023 Stage 20 a 186km individual climbing time trial stage from Tarvisio 750m to Monte Lussari 1744m UCIWT on May 27 2023 in Monte Lussari Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
Koen Bouwman pictured at the Giro d'Italia in 2023 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Koen Bouwman (Visma-Lease a Bike) won a two-up breakaway sprint ahead of Louka Matthys (Bingoal WB) to take the victory on stage 3 at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.

Bouwman formed a late-race breakaway alongside Matthys with the pair successfully holding off a chase group that included overnight race leader Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) in Riccione.

Bouwman started the day in fourth overall at 13 seconds down, and so crossing the finish line 13 seconds ahead of the chase group combined with the time bonuses at the finish, was enough to move him into the overall race lead.

The third stage at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali was a challenging 132km circuit in and out of Riccione. The route included three categorised ascents: Passo San Marco (11km at 4.4%), San Leo (5km at 7.4%), and San Marino (6.7km at 5%) before a downhill run-in to the finish line in Riccione.

The peloton stayed intact for the first section of the race, but once they approached the category 1 ascent of Passo San Marco 44km into the stage, a breakaway of eight riders emerged.

The leaders were Milan Vader (Visma-Lease a Bike), Harm Vanhoucke and Milan Donie (Lotto Dstny), Alessandro Fancellu (Q36.5), Alex Martin (Polti Kometa), Sebastien Reichenbach (Tudor), Matteo Scalco (VF Group-Bradiani CSF), and Lorenzo Nespoli (BH Bank).

The breakaway's gap decreased as they crested the ascent and descended the other side, mainly due to the efforts of UAE Team Emirates, which protected race leader Diego Ulissi at the front of the peloton.

The breakaway remained out front as they climbed San Leo, and while Reichenback surged ahead of his break companions on the San Marino climb, he didn't make it far before they were all reeled back in by the dwindling peloton.

The slopes of San Marino led the way for a new breakaway to emerge that included Jefferson Alexander Cepeda and Archie Ryan (EF Education-EasyPost), Davide De Pretto (Jayco AlUla), and Paul Double (Polti Kometa), Johannes Staune-Mittet (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Domenico Pozzovivo (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè).

UAE Team Emirates were not going to let this dangerous six-rider breakaway gain any significant time because De Pretto and Archie sat just a handful of seconds behind Ulissi in the overall classification.

Caught with 25km remaining, a rapid-fire attack saw Louka Matthys (Bingoal WB) and Koen Bouwman (Visma-Lease a Bike) quickly gain 10 seconds – another dangerous move as Bouwman started the day in fourth overall only 13 seconds back.

As Ulissi formed part of a larger chase group behind the two escapees, he was left to do some of the chasing on his own while the breakaway continued to build a lead out to 15 seconds with 5km to go.

The pair successfully held their lead into the final metres of the race, where Bouwman launched his sprint first to take the stage win and the overall race lead.


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