All good things come in threes: After Lennard Kämman caused a stir with an attack in the final on the first stage and kept the best time in the time trial the next day, he now achieved the desired success when the Giro arrived on Italian soil.
At the end of more than a 22-kilometer climb on Etna’s flanks, the 25-year-old achieved his first German victory in the Giro since 2019.
Behind them, the favorites’ power struggle in the overall standings brought some initial insights and unpleasant surprises for previous overall winners of the tour.
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Three things that stood out in Phase 4:
1.) Bora can cheer three times
Kämna’s stage victory was the culmination of a perfect day for the German racing team. For it was not only the 25-year-old who convinced on Etna, his teammates were also up to speed on the final climb. Three Bora jerseys shone in the 17-man group of favorites, only Team Bahrain was also represented with a trio.
Thus, Wilco Kelderman, Jai Hindley and Emanuel Buchmann are right in the finish line, which not all top riders could claim after this first climbing test (see below). Buchmann drew particular attention to himself with an attack on the last climb, which raised hopes of further German success among fans.
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The solid team performance brought Bora to the top of the team rankings, and in the current state, the squad could stay there for a long time. The same goes for Kämman in the mountain classification: He replaced Rick Zabel and has a very comfortable lead in the climbing classification. It will be exciting to see how important the racing team is for the special viewing figures in the further stages, and one will at least hardly give up the lead without a fight.
2.) Rude awakening for past winners
This is certainly not how Vincenzo Nibali imagined his home game in Sicily. The two-time overall winner only finished as number 31 on Etna, almost five minutes behind Kmanna. With an impressive performance at the time trial in Budapest, he had raised hopes in Tifosi that the audience’s favorite could once again influence the overall position.
Even worse it went with Tom Dumoulin, the Giro winner from 2017, who was 53rd more than nine minutes later – even though in the fight against the clock he almost stormed to victory on the 2nd stage.
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A number of other strong climbers also experienced an ugly surprise on Etna: Frenchman Guillaume Martin, Dutch veteran Bauke Mollema, Norway’s Tobias Foss and Austria’s Felix Gall come to the mainland with an unexpectedly large gap for their rivals.
3.) Van der Poel is only human
Whether it’s road, cross or mountain biking, whether it’s classic, time trial or sprint – Mathieu van der Poel shines on any cycling terrain. To almost everyone. For anyone who believed that the Dutchman would be able to defend the pink jersey on “Rollerberg” Etna with his class and endurance, got a lesson.
But the Alpecin superstar lived up to his reputation, for he did not give up without a fight. At the beginning of the stage, he tried to pull away with a breakaway group, but the field did not allow him. So he enjoyed his last day in maglia rosa as much as possible on the “beautiful but difficult climb” and took a look at a different sweater:
For MVDP is still at the top of the points classification, and there he will not just give it away, as he explained to Eurosport: “I’m actually here for stage victories, but if the form is still right in the final. Week, magila ciclamino can be a goal . “
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