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Team Visma | Lease a Bike's Olav Kooij celebrates winning stage 9 of Giro d'Italia on Sunday. Image Credit: Reuters

Naples: Dutch sprinter Olav Kooij won a mass sprint in Naples to take stage nine of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday after a languorous 214km run from the Apennines.

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With the Vesuvius volcano in the background, the 22-year-old Kooij took his first grand-tour stage win by a razor’s edge ambushing Lidl-Trek rider Jonathan Milan on the line with a bike throw.

The peloton caught breakaway rider Jhonatan Narvaez of Ineos on the last stretch of the Mappatella Beach sprint, 100m from the line, after he had burst out of the pack on the Monte di Procida climb into town.

Kooij said his Visma team had been on a run of bad luck including crashes that sidelined big guns Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert.

“This is what we have been looking forward to. We had to fight for it because it was tough, a tough finale.”

Tadej Pogacar, of UAE Emirates, still leads the Giro overall standings by 2 minutes and 40 seconds from Dani Martinez and is 2min 58sec ahead of Geraint Thomas in third.

The race left Avezzano in the Apennines for a 75-kilometre downhill until the peloton caught sight of the west coast, signalling the turn toward Naples.

Bumpy roads

Ahead of the race, Thomas warned of bumpy roads, only to fall coming out of a roundabout 60km from the finish. He was unhurt but lost 50 seconds to the pack and had to make an energy-draining effort to catch up.

Monday is a rest day. On Tuesday the peloton ride from Pompei to the Bocca della Selva summit after an ascent of 17.9km with an average gradient of 5.6 per cent.