Leemreize narrowly misses out on Giro stage win

Leemreize narrowly misses out on Giro stage win

Gijs Leemreize has come close to winning the seventeenth stage of the Giro d'Italia but was ultimately defeated by Santiago Buitrago. The 22-year-old Dutchman of Team Jumbo-Visma was passed just before the top of the final climb.

The riders set off in the pouring rain from Ponte di Legno to Lavarone for a 168-kilometre stage. Bouwman, Leemreize and Sam Oomen aimed for a good result and separated themselves from the peloton with 22 other riders.

After Bouwman had taken maximum points on the first climb, he also demonstrated on the Passo del Vetriolo why he's riding in blue. On the summit, the Dutchman again took maximum points. As a result, he now has a lead of 115 points on the number two, Giulio Ciccone.

In the descent of the Vetriolo, Leemreize and Mathieu van der Poel broke away. At the foot of the final climb, the duo had created a good lead on the chasing group, while Bouwman had been dropped. Leemreize rode away from Van der Poel and seemed to have good chances of winning the stage.

However, at about 500 metres from the top, the home-grown talent was caught by Buitrago, who immediately created a gap to his fellow escapee. The Colombian didn't relinquish the victory in the final kilometres. "For now, I am disappointed”, Leemreize said. "For a moment, I thought I could win, but Buitrago was the strongest."

Leemreize was disappointed he couldn't catch up. "I tried to hold him off, but unfortunately, he kept going for another twenty seconds. My legs soured so much that I couldn't keep his wheel. At that moment, I knew I wouldn't see him again. I didn't think beforehand that I would be competing for the victory today."

Bouwman also had a successful day. "It was a great day for the team and me. Gijs competed for the win for a long time and I took a lot of points for the blue jersey. It looks perfect now, but we're not there yet. There are still a lot of points to be earned and if possible, I want to attack in the coming days. Better be safe than sorry."


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