After three first days in Hungary, the Giro returned to its Italian roads on Tuesday, on the occasion of the fourth stage. To celebrate this return home, the organizers did a great job by inviting the peloton to break their teeth on the slopes of Etna, in Sicily.
And in this volcanic setting, it was Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) who triumphed to sign the sixth victory of his career, the second in a Grand Tour after his success in the Tour de France in 2020.
The German established himself as the boss after spending a good part of the afternoon in the chasing group, behind the Italian Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix), who went on the attack at the foot of Etna , about thirty kilometers from the finish. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) was the quickest of the pursuers to chase the runner in the lead, then to let him go 11 kilometers from the goal.
Kämna, a breakaway specialist, then accelerated to join the Spaniard. The two riders exchanged a few words in the last kilometers, as if to negotiate, the victory for the German and the pink jersey for Lopez. That’s exactly what happened: Kämna sprinted out of the final corner, before raising his arms a hundred meters further.
Van der Poel relegated to 23 minutes
Overall leader this Tuesday morning, Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) therefore lost his pink jersey. The Dutchman, who had animated the start of the stage with a daring surprise attack, stalled on the first ramps of the long ascent of Etna. He crossed the finish line nearly 23 minutes behind the winner and his runner-up.
Juan Pedro Lopez is therefore the new leader, while his namesake and contender for the final victory, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana-Qazaqstan), was forced to retire 139 kilometers from the line, visibly ill. Other victims of the day, the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, winner of the Giro in 2017, was distanced almost 10 kilometers from the summit, and the Italian Vincenzo Nibali, another former winner, also let go.
The other favourites, including the Frenchman Romain Bardet (Team DSM), the Briton Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) or the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadier), arrived grouped within the peloton, 2’37 behind Kämna . On Wednesday, the race remains in Sicily for the 174 kilometer long 5th stage between Catania and Messina. A pass is located before the mid-course but the final is favorable to sprinters.