Giro d'Italia 2022 - Lennard Kamna wins atop Mount Etna as Juan Pedro Lopez takes pink on dramatic Stage 4
Germany’s Lennard Kamna swooped to glory in Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia on Mount Etna as fellow escapee Juan Pedro Lopez of Spain took consolation in the pink jersey. Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) caught Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) inside the final few kilometres before the latter’s mistake on the final bend gifted the win to his rival, who also secured the blue KOM jersey on a dramatic stage in Sicily.
Stage 4 highlights: Dumoulin, Nibali struggle as Kamna wins on Etna
On a day Miguel Angel Lopez withdrew, both Tom Dumoulin and Vincenzo Nibali cracked, Simon Yates had a scare, and Mathieu van der Poel conceded the maglia rosa, Lennard Kamna soared to a magnificent win as youngster Juan Pedro Lopez came of age on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna, becoming the first Spaniard since Alberto Contador in 2015 to don the pink jersey.
Germany’s Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) caught fellow escapee Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) inside the final three kilometres of the final 23km ascent before the duo shared out the spoils from a tough day in the saddle at the Rifugio Sapienza: for Kamna, a maiden Giro stage win and the blue king of the mountains jersey; for Lopez, the consolation of pink after his mistake on the final bend pretty much handed the win on a plate to his rival.
Lopez now leads a new-look general classification by 39 seconds over Kamna, with Estonia’s Rein Taaramae of Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert up to third place at 58 seconds after battling to third place on the first summit finish of the Giro.
Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) made light of an early crash to finish safely in a main pack of favourites which was led home by the 2019 champion Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) 2:37 down on the winner. Yates, winner of Saturday’s short time trial in Budapest, is the best-placed of the GC favourites in fourth at 1:42 after emerging from a potential banana skin of a test unscathed.
The same could not be said for many of the other pre-race favourites, most notably the Colombian Lopez of Astana-Qazaqstan, who was forced to withdraw with the recurrence of a hip injury shortly after the start of the 172km test from Avola. To cap a miserable day for Astana, the local Sicilian veteran and two-time champion Nibali conceded over two minutes on the final climb in front of his home crowds.
‘What a disaster!’ – Nibali unravels on Etna as GC hopes slip away
Nibali was not the only big-name rider to struggle on the explosive ascent: with around eight kilometres remaining the Dutch 2017 champion Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) found himself pedalling backwards to sink from the general classification like a stone.
A solid performance to take third place in the time trial lifted Dumoulin’s morale on his first Grand Tour since the 2020 Vuelta and his subsequent sabbatical. But speaking after shipping the best part of seven minutes to his rivals on Tuesday, Dumoulin said: “I’m just not feeling good – it’s like that. I worked hard to get here in the best shape possible. Everything was okay [this morning] but I just don’t have the legs and I don’t know why.”
Van der Poel tests his legs during feisty start
A fast and furious start to the first of two Sicilian stages saw breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) try his luck from the gun. The Belgian and five others were swept up just as a crash near the back of the pack forced Yates to seek treatment for a bashed knee.
The dramatics continued when the pink jersey Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) joined forces with Biniam Girmay, the maglia ciclamino from Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert, in a brief foray off the front in pursuit of the day’s burgeoning break. It came to nothing and the duo were reabsorbed just as an incident in the peloton saw a motorcycle clip the curb and take out a score of riders, most notably Roger Kluge (Lotto Soudal).
‘Not what you want’ – Motorbike crashes, then falls into packed peloton
When the breakaway was finally given some leeway, the gap quickly ballooned to a whopping 11 minutes over testing terrain which kept on climbing steadily over the course of 50km.
Stefano Oldano (Alpecin-Fenix), Valerio Conti (Astana), Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Remy Rochas and Davide Villella (Cofidis), Diego Camargo (EF-EasyPost), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), Alexander Cataford (Israel-Premier Tech), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Mauri Vansevenant (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) were soon joined by Lilian Calmejane (Ag2R-Citroen) in the 14-man move.
Italy’s Oldani made the first move after finishing behind Frenchman Calmejane in the first intermediate sprint ahead of the final climb. Oldani rode clear to pocket the three bonus seconds at the second intermediate sprint with 25km remaining and then opened a lead of almost a minute as the road kicked up.
A six-man move formed in pursuit of the lone leader with Belgium’s Vansevenant, the virtual pink jersey, featuring alongside Kamna, Lopez, the Belgian Moniquet and Leemreize of the Netherlands.
Lopez soon took matters in his own hands, riding clear of the chasers and then leaving Oldani for dust with 10km remaining. Behind, Kamna increased the tempo to distance Leemerize – at the precise time as the elastic snapped for the Dutchman’s Jumbo-Visma leader further down the mountain. Dumoulin eventually finished nine minutes in arrears while Jumbo-Visma’s woes were compounded by their GC Plan B, the young Dane Tobias Foss, coming home in the same group as Nibali over two minutes behind the main pack.
‘Ohhh’ – Dumoulin falls off pace on Etna as Giro hopes disintegrate
Kamna caught Lopez after the riders had emerged through the treeline and had hit the blustery and exposed lava fields nearing the summit of the active volcano. The duo appeared to partake in some kind of negotiation, to which Kamna later inferred in his post-race interview: “Let me say it like this – maybe we had a silent agreement.”
But judging by the finish, Lopez had done his best to renege on any such deal. Indeed, it was his overzealous approach to the final bend which contributed to the 24-year-old overcooking the corner and almost skidding off his bike.
Lopez banged his handlebars in frustration after Kamna coasted to victory and the blue jersey.
“I tried to go on the hardest part because there I could make the difference,” an emotional Lopez said. “Kamna caught me with two or three kilometres to go and we fought for the sprint. But I almost crashed and it’s so difficult, but I have the jersey and I’m so happy.”
‘I totally missed it’ - Kamna on final corner scare with Lopez
Taaramae, Moniquet, Vansevenant and Leemreize were the only remaining escapees to hold off the chasing pack, with Carapaz outkicking Romain Bardet (Team DSM) and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) to take seventh place.
But the hefty tempo-setting by the Ecuadorian’s Ineos Grenadiers team backfired by distancing their GC back-up rider Pavel Sivakov, the Frenchman digging deep to cross the line 55 seconds off the pace.
Van der Poel led home the gruppetto some 23 minutes in arrears although the Dutchman will swap his pink jersey for the maglia ciclamino for Wednesday’s Stage 5 which should re-open the door to the sprinters with a fast finish in Messina.
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