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Olav Kooij celebrates stage 9 victory in Naples at the 2024 Giro d'Italia.

Giro stage 9 report: Kooij wins thriller sprint stage in Naples

Late attacker Jhonatan Narváez was caught agonisingly close to the line as the sprinters got their chance.

Olav Kooij (Visma-Lease a Bike) wins stage 9 of the 2024 Giro d’Italia. Photo: © Cor Vos

Kit Nicholson
by Kit Nicholson 12.05.2024 Photography by
Cor Vos
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Naples delivered an absolute thriller of a finale for the third year in a row as the sprinters snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on the waterfront. With late attacker Jhonatan Narváez (Ineos Grenadiers) still clear with 500m to go, the bunch needed the help of race leader Tadej Pogačar in closing down the Ecuadorian in the last 50 metres, leaving points leader Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) to rock and roll towards the line, but it was Olav Kooij (Visma-Lease a Bike) who was quickest, winning his first Grand Tour stage on his first try.

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Olav Kooij described his stage win, achieved without the guidance of Christophe Laporte who was the second of two Visma-Lease a Bike riders forced to leave the race after Robert Gesink’s crash on the first weekend.

“We knew we had to improvise a bit, especially in the last kilometre. Normally with Christophe [Laporte], we had almost a certainty to get me in position but today we had to just not stick to one plan but see how the race evolved and do what was necessary.

“This was the step I was looking for, at least the win. I was looking forward to my first grand tour and after some wins, I think this one is one I was really dreaming of.”

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