Lennard Kämna wins atop Mount Etna as Juan Pedro Lopez takes pink – Giro d’Italia

Giro d’Italia 2022

Stage 4

Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) rode to a strong victory on the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia, the German proving his climbing ability up Mount Etna to take the second Grand Tour victory of his career.

Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) led for the vast majority of the final 13km, having produced a powerful counter-attack against the-then leader Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix). However, he couldn’t hold onto the win.

Kämna caught the Spaniard with 2.6km to go, and a poor turn from López on the final corner handed Kämna a more comfortable victory than López would have liked. The Trek-Segafredo rider’s performance though sees him move into the lead of the GC, though, and he will wear the pink jersey on stage five.

Coming home in third was Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux). Having initially been dropped halfway up Mount Etna, the Estonian’s superior tactics soon bore fruit as he worked his way back into contention, finishing 30 seconds back on the leading pair.

Meanwhile, Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) finished 2:37 back on the leaders, with the Ecuadorian winning a bunch sprint to the line involving the peloton as he finished in seventh place.

The fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia represented the first day on Italian soil in 2022, with the riders facing a difficult 172km mountainous route from Avola to Etna in Sicily.

Juan Pedro López dons the famous Maglia Rosa.

Mathieu van der Poel entered the day wearing the Maglia Rosa, but with the day featuring an elevation change of 3,500m and the final climb averaging 5.8 per cent for 22.8km, the Dutchman didn’t expect to hold on to the lead.

Among the early attackers was Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), with Natnael Tesfatsion (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Nico Denz (Team DSM), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost), Vincenzo Albenese (Eolo-Kometa) and Matthew Holmes (Lotto-Soudal) all joining him. Caicedo won the Etna stage two years ago, and looked eager to spread the peloton out early on, despite the breakaway continually being caught.

After multiple quelled attacks early on, Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mauri Vansevenant (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) all managed to build up a slight gap as a breakaway group. Soon, 14 riders were in the leading group, with their gap to the peloton rising to as many as 11 minutes at various points during the stage.

Miguel Ángel López abandoned the Giro early into stage four as well, due to a left hip injury that his Astana-Qazaqstan team confirmed López has struggled with for the last few days.

Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) struggled to onto the pace in the peloton over the undulating early stages of the event, causing his teammate Michael Mørkøv to drop back and help him. Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) also struggled somewhat throughout the day, having been caught up in a crash early on. He paid multiple visits to the team and medical cars,

Vansevenant’s period in the breakaway group saw him move into the lead of the virtual GC, with Van der Poel preferring to stick with the peloton. With 40km left in the race, though, the leaders’ gap to the peloton sunk under seven minutes, as the peloton showed slight signs of upping the tempo.

Towards the official foot of Mount Etna, with 28km still left, Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) tested the nerve of the other breakaway riders and attacked at the front of the race. The Italian managed to build a 25 second gap as he reached the first part of the final climb, winning the intermediate sprint to Biancavilla. Vansevenant came second, winning bonus seconds which could prove crucial in securing the pink jersey come the end of the race.

Astana Qazaqstan lost GC hopeful Miguel Angel Lopez through injury.

With Oldani hitting the 20km with a gap of around 55 seconds, Van der Poel was also dropped from the peloton at the same time, almost certainly relinquishing the overall lead of the Giro. However, he expected this before the race, and instead will focus his efforts on securing more stage wins in later days.

The initial leading group also split on Mount Etna, with six riders leaving the other seven behind on the climb – the peloton sat around six minutes further back. The group included Kämna, Leemreize, Taaramäe, Vansevenant, Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto-Soudal) and Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) as they attempted to reel Oldani in. However, Oldani managed to maintain a considerable distance, his gap still above 50 seconds into the final 15km.

At this point though, Ineos Grenadiers signalled their intentions as they looked to get punchy up the climb. Though still 6-30 back from Oldani, Ineos took control of the peloton as they attempted to string out the pack and offer a better opportunity for Richard Carapaz to gain back time in the GC.

Oldani moved into the virtual lead of the pink jersey with 13km left, as Juan Pedro López attacked from the first chase group. None of the other five riders matched his pace, letting the Spaniard move away from them further up the road. This proved a successful attempt to catch Oldani, with the Alpecin-Fenix rider caught at the 10km mark.

López immediately distanced Oldani behind him, as he powered up the steeper sections in what seemed like an attack for the line – which would be the first professional victory in his career. Leemreize struggled to hold onto, while his teammate, Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) was dropped from the peloton further back, likely signalling the end of his GC challenge already.

Taaramäe soon suffered the same fate as Leemreize, as did Oldani with just over 7km left. This meant just Moniquet, Vansevenant and Kämna were left in the first chasing group attempting to catch López, who continued to stay in a small gear and power his pedals aggressively. Kämna soon attacked himself from the other two, quickly building his gap up as he reduced the deficit to López at the same point.

To further compound Astana Qazaqstan’s woes, following Miguel Ángel López abandoning the race, Vincenzo Nibali also dropped off the peloton into the final 6km, meaning the team didn’t have one single rider in the main group or higher.

The peloton makes its way through the Sicilian countryside.

At 2.6km to go, Kämna caught López, the pair exchanging words as they seemingly tried agreeing on a common interest. After riding a clever ascent, Taaramäe also started to come back into the fold, bringing the gap down to 30 seconds with 1.5km left.

Into the final kilometre, Kämna and López battled for the win, the pair both sprinting for the line side by side. A technical, hairpin turn ensured Kämna took the stage win, his opponent slightly missing the apex and leaving himself with too much work to do on the final straight.

Despite this, López will wear the pink jersey for the fifth stage tomorrow, a flat stage to Messina.

Elsewhere, the peloton finished 2:37 back from Kämna, with Carapaz winning the bunch sprint to the line out of that group to finish seventh. He is still 2:06 behind overall though, meaning Simon Yates is the best-placed rider from the early favourites in the GC, the Briton 1:42 back from López.

Tomorrow’s Stage 5 is the last leg in Sicily. At 174 kilometres, the race travels from Catania to Messina. he first part of the route runs along the Mediterranean coast. The route moves through Chianchitta before turning inland at kilometre 38. Slowly but surely the riders approach the only climb of the day, the Portella Mandrazzi.

The ascent is 19.5 kilometres long and the average gradient hovers around 4%. The summit is crested at an elevation of 1,125 metres before a flying descent of 30 kilometes leads to Terme Vigliatore on the north side of Sicily. The good news for dropped riders is that there are 32 more kilometres to regain contact with the peloton to get in position for a sprint finish.

Stage 4 result:

1. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 4:32:11
2. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo, at same time
3. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, at 34s
4. Sylvain Moniquet (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 2:12
5. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at same time
6. Gijs Leemreize (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 2:31
7. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers, at 2:37
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at same time
9. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious
10. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates

General Classification:

1. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo, in 14:17:07
2. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 39s
3. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, at 58s
4. Simon Yates (GBr) BikeExchange-Jayco, at 1:42
5. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 1:47
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1:55
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious, at 2:00
8. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
9. Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers, at 2:04
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 2:06

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