Stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia proved a dramatic affair with Olav Kooij of Visma-Lease a Bike claiming a sensational win in the bustling streets of Naples, pipping Jhonatan Narváez in the final metres. The stage, which stretched 214 kilometres from Avezzano to Naples, culminated in a heart-stopping sprint where Kooij showcased his power, overcoming Narváez, who had launched a bold attack 7km from the finish.

The day began with a duo from Polti-Kometa taking an early lead, but the peloton, led by Alpecin-Deceuninck, remained compact and controlled, keeping the breakaway within a manageable gap. As the race progressed, the sprinters’ teams took the reins, setting up a fierce pace through the undulating terrain around Naples.

The finale was marked by an audacious move by Julian Alaphilippe, who broke away in a bid to avoid a bunch sprint. He was soon joined by Ewan Costiou, with the pair working together until Alaphilippe eventually went solo. However, as the race hit the final uncategorised climb, the peloton, driven by a relentless Lidl-Trek and UAE Team Emirates, started to reel in the Frenchman.

In a late twist, Narváez surged ahead, momentarily escaping the clutches of the charging main group. But as the finish line approached, the sprinters’ teams, spearheaded by UAE Team Emirates, ramped up the pace, with race leader Tadej Pogačar unexpectedly turning lead-out man in the final kilometre to help catch Narváez.

Olav Kooij
(Photo Credits: LaPresse)

Kooij then launched a powerful sprint, overtaking both Narváez and Jonathan Milan of Lidl-Trek, who finished a close second. Juan Sebastian Molano, led out by Pogačar, completed the podium. The victory marked a significant achievement for Kooij, registering his first Grand Tour stage win and delivering a much-needed boost for his team.

Speaking after his win, Kooij expressed his elation and relief at capturing the elusive Grand Tour stage victory. “This is what we were looking for, to get a stage win. The team really committed, although we weren’t sure before because of the guys I was able to get in position and take the win,” he said, acknowledging the unpredictability of the race’s outcome until the very last moment.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage 9 result

Main photo credit: LaPresse