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After the long and slow burn that was stage 7, Friday’s racing more than made up for it with action right from the start. It would take more than 70 kilometers of aggressive racing before a small breakaway of seven finally got clear.
The peloton was happy to let it go all the way to the line but kept it at close quarters to prevent the likes of Dumoulin and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), who were also in the break.
With two riders in the move, Jumbo-Visma had the upper hand but it also had the pressure to perform. As the group rode over the final climb of the day, it looked as though it had got it wrong as Bouwman was distanced and Dumoulin had to chase down several attacks.
However, Bouwman didn’t panic and kept grinding at his own pace to not only catch the group but take the king of the mountain classification points at the top of the ascent. At the finish, he launched his sprint to the line very early but was able to hold off Mollema and Davide Formolo (UEA Team Emirates).
Meanwhile, the group of favorites rolled across the line together just under three minutes behind the leaders.