Dutchman Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) was expertly supported by team-mate Tom Dumoulin as he won a fascinating four-way battle at the conclusion of Stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia.
The 2017 Giro champion fell out of general classification contention on Etna on Tuesday but was a key component of the day’s break before teeing up Bouwman for the win. The pair celebrated with abandon after the race.
And talking on The Breakaway, Robbie McEwen said that the Dutchman may relish his new role.
‘Everyone has a used by date’ – Why Quick-Step’s Cavendish Tour omission wouldn’t be ‘mad’
“I think he might actually enjoy the fact that he's off GC,” said McEwen on The Breakaway.
“The pressure has disappeared. And it gives him scope to just freestyle a little bit within the race and get in breaks.
“I imagine he's going to really enjoy the role that he's fallen into now. [If he is asked] 'do you want to try it tonight?' [he can say] 'No, I'll take it easy today and I'll just roll with a bunch and I'll try another day'.
"There's no pressure to do it day after day after day."
“You choose the days where you feel good rather than just doing it every day when you might feel bad.”
- Bouwman powers to maiden Grand Tour stage win, Lopez stays in pink
- 'Thankfully he stayed on!' - Dumoulin nearly wiped out by own team car
- ‘We're going to lose some riders!' – Kelly warns peloton on 'day from hell' at Giro
However, Dan Lloyd, talking alongside McEwen sounded a slight warning, saying that Dumoulin would need to re-learn being a breakaway rider rather than a GC rider.
“He has to re-learn those tactics as needed,” began Lloyd.
“I remember him back when he was young, attacking it races like Tirreno–Adriatico. He was extremely strong and quite successful.
“But once you slip into that general classification rider mode, you have to be more conservative. You can't just go whack here, there and everywhere and hope for the best.
“Not that you can do that and breakaways, but it's just a very different type of rider that is successful in a breakaway, like today.
“So it might take him a little, little bit of time to get out of the GC mentality and more into the breakaway moments.”
Highlights: Incessant day of attacking sees Bouwman seal first Grand Tour stage, Lopez stays in pink
- - -
Stream the Giro d'Italia live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.
Former champion Dumoulin abandons Giro
Giro d'Italia Stage 13 - Route map, how to watch Cavendish in ‘last-chance saloon’
Share this article