Koen Bouwman escaped to win the third stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné today in Tullins. The Dutchman from Ulft was part of a six-man group together with team-mate American Alexey Vermeulen. He topped Evaldas Siskevicius and Frederick Backaert in a sprint, Vermeulen took fifth place.
“We’re a team of very young guys here. Everyone gets his own chance. Everyone wants to break away. Two of us did today and it was perfect for winning.”
Bouwman’s victory is the 13th for team LottoNL-Jumbo this season. That talent development and success in shorter WorldTour stage races was also shown by Primoz Roglic and George Bennett.
“Fantastic,” Sports Director Grischa Niermann said after Bouwman’s win. “We need stages and breakaways like this because we cannot really contend in the GC here. You have to show courage and be in the breakaway. Often that will not be rewarded, but today, it was rewarded with a beautiful win. Our Dauphiné is already a success with this win.”
Niermann expected that the stage would end in a bunch sprint.
“The first time we thought they could make it, was with 20 kilometres to go. From then on, we coached them to make sure the bunch would not get them. But most of all to ride for the win. Koen was the strongest man in the breakaway today and finished it off in style.”
The team faces a time trail of 23.5 kilometres to Bourgoin-Jallieu tomorrow.
“First, we are going to celebrate the victory tonight. Tomorrow, both Koen and Alexey Vermeulen can ride a good time trail, but they have already consumed a lot of energy today. We must see how much they’ve consumed. Stef Clement is our man for the GC and he can also ride a strong time trail. Hopefully, he can make up some spots in the GC.”