10 May 2022: Stage 4 (172km) Etna-Nicolosi (Rif. Sapienza).
Europe’s largest volcano was the scene of a titanic duel between Lennard Kämna of BORA – hansgrohe and Juan Pedro López of Trek – Segafredo over the last few kilometres of a stage which saw a break hold off the peloton. It was Kamna who took the stage honours while Lopez, whose bike-handling failed him on the final turn, took enough time to become the new Maglia Rosa.
How it happened:
Faced with the epic ascent of Mount Etna at the conclusion of the day’s stage the peloton took a relaxed approach when 14 men broke away early leaving themselves with over 160km to go. The 14 breakaway members comprised:
Valerio Conti (Astana Qazaqstan), Lennard Kämna (Bora-hansgrohe), Davide Villella, Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Mauri Vansevenant (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix), Diego Andrés Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Alexander Cataford (Israel-PremierTech) and Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën).
The break took advantage of the peloton’s apathy and pulled out a 8’10” gap.
With 30km to go, and still enjoying a 6′ gap, the unity of the break ended with Oldani making a bold bid for glory. It looked solid too. With 12km to go he had a lead of 1’03”. Then Lopez attacked.
The Spanish rider caught and passed Oldani within 2km and things began to look exciting not just at a Stage level on for the GC.
With 8km t0 go Kämna made an appearance at the front of a small group with Vansevenant and Moniquet that represented the last of the break. His pace was too high though and at 6.5km to go he was riding solo in pursuit of Lopez. the peloton was now clawing back time and was 4’20” adrift.
There was another shift in positions behind with Taaramae accelerating to become third man on the road. With 2.5km to go Kämna had caught Lopez and the two were spotted in conversation. Whether it was something to do with how they intended to divide up the spoils it seemed to not have been resolved as the two were in a desperate duel coming into the final bend at 200m with Lopez on Kämna‘s wheel.
All became moot for the Stage win as Lopez made a mess of the turn and immediately lost 5 meters on the German who came across the line to take a first Giro stage win, and the sixth win of his career.
Lopez was visibly annoyed at the outcome and even in the interviews had to be reminded he was the new Maglia Rosa. He had started the day in 47th spot at 1’12” but with the peloton still adrift and arriving 2’37” later he now had 39″ over Kämna but 1’42” over Simon Yates and 2’06” back to Richard Carapaz and Romain Bardet.
Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo): “I worked hard all day to take the Maglia Rosa. I attacked in the toughest part of the climb but Kämna was able to come back at -3. I tried to fight for the victory but it was really difficult to win. I’m really happy to have the Maglia Rosa, I don’t know how long I’ll keep it but I’ll enjoy it“.
Lennard Kämna (Bora-hansgrohe): “It was a very hard day, especially the final climb. I thought it was over when Lopez was marked at 30″. When I caught him it was probably a tacit deal, stage to me and Maglia Rosa to him. I’m happy to have won a stage, it takes a lot of pressure off the team too“.
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