Koen Bouwman is disappointed that he missed the best victory of his career in the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday.

The Jumbo-Visma rider was overtaken in leading position by Egan Bernal just before the finish.

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"This really sucks, especially when you're so close. When I saw Bernal come, I knew it was over. He really flew by like a rocket, it went that fast. It was really a grueling stage," said Bouwman after the mountain stage of 158 kilometers with an uphill finish in Campo Felice.

The 27-year-old Gelderlander was part of the early breakaway and joined Geoffrey Bouchard a few kilometers from the finish, who had previously made a small hole with the other attackers.

The duo had a 40-second lead in the final kilometer on an unpaved road and seemed to be fighting for the stage victory.

"I took my chance on the final climb. I joined the Frenchman in the penultimate kilometer, but the stage was just 400 meters too long. The gravel there was also not a meter", Bouwman was disappointed.

Egan Bernal is the new rosette wearer in the Giro d'Italia.

Egan Bernal is the new rosette wearer in the Giro d'Italia.

Photo: AFP

'I'm going to try again'

The 24-year-old Bernal attacked 500 meters before the finish, rushed past the two refugees and crossed the finish solo.

Bouwman was also passed by the other classification riders and finished 'only' in fifteenth.

"This is a real shame. But in any case my form is good and there are still chances to come. I will still try", said Bouwman, who experienced a déjà vu in the absolute final phase.

In the Giro of 2018, the Dutchman was overtaken by Richard Carapaz in the final kilometer of the eighth stage.

Bouwman will have to wait a while before he gets another chance at a stage victory.

The Giro continues on Monday with a flat stage and on Tuesday the first rest day is scheduled in the Tour of Italy.

See also: View all rankings of the Giro, with Bernal in pink