Kooij edges Milan in sprint to win Stage 9 of Giro, as Pogacar retains overall lead

Dutch rider victorious in thrilling dash for line as UAE Team Emirates star keeps hold of pink jersey

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Team-Visma's Dutch rider Olav Kooij won Stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday, pipping Lidl-Trek's Jonathan Milan by half a wheel right at the finish line in a breathless sprint at the end of a 214-km ride from Avezzano to Naples.

Ineos Grenadiers' Jhonatan Narvaez looked set to win his second stage when he attacked early and sowed panic in the peloton on the final climb through the streets of Naples.

He was leading with some 150 metres to go before pink jersey holder Tadej Pogacar got involved in the lead-up to help his UAE Team Emirates colleague Juan Sebastian Molano and Narvaez was caught.

Milan was set up well by his Lidl-Trek teammate Simone Consonni but just as he was about to clinch his second stage victory, Kooij took the opportunity to steal the win from him, while Molano was third.

"This was the step I was looking for, at least the win. I was really looking forward to my first Grand Tour, and after already quite a few wins this is the one I was dreaming of. My first Grand Tour stage win but it's been a difficult and unlucky first week for our team and a hard stage today," Kooij said.

"We weren't sure to catch the breakaway riders but the team remained committed. The guys put me in an ideal position. It's been tight but I really wanted this first Grand Tour win and I hope there are many more to come.

"We knew we had to improvise a bit, especially in the last K. Normally with Christophe [Laporte] we had almost a certainty to get me in position. Today we had to not so much stick to one plan but see how the race went, how it evolved, and do what was necessary."

Pogacar retained his overall lead, two minutes 40 seconds ahead of Daniel Felipe Martinez, while Geraint Thomas is third, 18 seconds further back.

"I haven't become a lead-out man but Molano did a very good job to be at the front in the finale. He didn't get the win but third is a good result and I was happy to help a friend," Pogacar said.

"I have a comfortable advantage before the first rest day. It's nice to relax in Napoli."

Monday is a rest day and the Giro d'Italia resumes on Tuesday with Stage 10, a 142-km ride from Pompeii to Cusano Mutri.

Stage 9 results

1. Olav Kooij (Ned) Visma-Lease a Bike 4:44'22" 2. Jonathan Milan (Ita) Lidl-Trek 3. Juan Sebastian Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates 4. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Tudor 5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe

Overall standings

1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 32:59'04" 2. Daniel Martínez (Col) Bora-Hansgrohe +2'40" 3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos Grenadiers +2'58" 4. Ben O'Connor (Aus) Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale +3'39" 5. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Visma-Lease a Bike +4'02"

Updated: May 12, 2024, 5:13 PM