"I am going to talk to other teams" - Koen Bouwman open to Visma departure after Giro d'Italia omission

After his brilliant overall victory at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali last week, Koen Bouwman's stock is relatively high. With the Dutchman openly disappointed to miss out on Giro d'Italia selection however, could this be his last season for Team Visma | Lease a Bike.

"Everyone should know that I was disappointed when I heard it. Of course I would have loved to go. I am the Giro man," the 30-year-old, two-time stage winner and former King of the Mountains winner at the Italian Grand Tour in conversation with BiCycling. "I also think I belong there, but the selection is so strong. In recent years I was on the right side of the line, now on the wrong side. That's a shame."

Having appeared at the last six editions of the Giro d'Italia, this is a bitter blow for Bouwman, who enters the final year of his Team Visma | Lease a Bike contract in 2024. "This makes me doubt it, certainly. Look. I am someone who knows very well where my limitations lie. I can achieve good results, especially from a free roll. But I also get my motivation from competing in important races in the service of the leader. I am happy to accept that role," he assesses honestly.

"if, even in that role, I am not allowed to participate in the most beautiful thing that cycling has to offer, a Grand Tour, that makes me think," Bouwman concludes, opening the door to a possible exit. "I don't hide the fact that I am going to talk to other teams, or am already talking to people. I'm not the man to kick the bucket just yet. Not at all. But the Grand Tours are just so beautiful, that's where I do my best."

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