This article originally appeared on VeloNews.com
Attacking from a sizeable break that had gained more than twelve minutes on the main group, Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) distanced Richard Carapaz (Team Ineos Grenadiers) in the final 15 kilometers to take the stage win.
The Bora-Hansgrohe rider smartly played his cards on the penultimate climb of the day and extended his lead over the 2019 Giro d’Italia winner Carapaz through the following descent and held on for the stage win.
The 24-year-old pro said after the stage, “I’m feeling great. Absolutely awesome day for me today. It was a fight from the beginning one, and I knew I had to make it to the finish alone. I saw that Carapaz was dropping speed and I thought ‘now it is the moment to go’ and I went on it until the end.”
Kämna won stage 4 of the Critérium du Dauphiné before the start of this year’s tour.
This is Kämna’s second win of his professional career, and added, “It’s a big, big relief for the team and for me also. I can almost not imagine it. The step I made this year is huge and I’m so blessed to win today.”
How it Unfolded
The day started when Christian Prudhomme, back to managing the Tour after a one-week COVID quarantine, dropped the flag. A group of 20 went away from the main group which contained all four classification jerseys.
Through the intermediate sprint — which was won by Matteo Trentin (CCC Team), who now edges closer to Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) second place in the points classification — the break stayed away, but was now being attacked by a smaller chase group.
The several groups off the front came together at 40km to go, and now consisted of Andrey Amador, Richard Carapaz, Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), Lennard Kämna, Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Alberto Bettiol, Neilson Powless (EF Education First), Winner Anacona, Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Imanol Erviti, Carlos Verona (Movistar Team), Simon Geschke, Matteo Trentin (CCC Team), Chris Juul Jensen, Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), Romain Sicard (Total Direct Energie), Tiesj Benoot, Casper Pedersen, Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb), Quentin Pacher, Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept).
Struggling off the back of the peloton for a short time were Jérôme Cousin (Total Direct Energie) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) who won stages 3 and 11. Cousin struggled for the rest of the stage and eventually did not make the time cut, and was subsequently eliminated from the Tour.
Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels) attacked from the break before each of the climbs on the day and took enough points to tie Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale) for the KOM competition.
Cosnefroy has worn the polka dot jersey for 15 days this year.
Rolland’s move on the penultimate climb was matched by teammate Quentin Pacher, and also Carapaz, Alaphilippe, Sivakov, Kämna, Reichenbach.
Pacher was dropped from this group when they went by up the second to final climb, as Kämna accelerated and Carapaz gave chase.
The two quickly distanced themselves from the small lead group, as the remains of the break strung out behind them, without any organization.
Behind the leaders, Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) briefly touched wheels with his team captain wearing the yellow jersey. While neither went down, Kuss put both feet down for a moment, to regain stability.
Alaphilppe, who had already suffered through three bike changes during the stage abandoned his attacks with the chase group.
Carapaz attacked, and it seemed that Kämna was not able to go, but this was a bit of poker played by the Bora rider, who countered, and the took the lead from Carapaz who was not ready for Kämna’s move.
Kämna quickly built up a minute lead on this descent and then into the final climb, stretching this advantage to nearly 90 seconds.
Carapaz trailed but was not able to close this gap.
With the peloton still several kilometres back the remnants of the break started to trickle across the finis in drips and drabs.
Jumbo-Visma rode on the front of the peloton to protect Primož Roglič’s lead while anticipating an attack from Tadej Pogačar.
With a steep final two kilometres, the general classification rankings behind the top two positions two was closing down.
David de la Cruz guided teammate Pogačar until 400m to go, while Wout van Aert and Sepp Kuss kept an eye on Roglič.
Seeing an opportunity to better his ranking, Miguel Ángel López (Astana) attacked with 500m to go, to try to unseat Rigoberto Urán’s third place, but Uran saw this coming and went with López.
As expected — and previously told by — Pogačar attacked in the final few hundred meters off of a fast pace set by Jumbo-Visma, however, Roglič was right on his wheel, and there was no daylight between the two as they crossed the line.
“I’m staying in yellow, it’s still a good day. Tomorrow, it will be even more beautiful to watch, it is the queen stage. I expect attacks. We will fight second after second. The last 5 kilometres are just insanely difficult. Tadej is my closest rival. I have to watch him at all times. But first, we will focus on what we are doing,” said Roglič.
Imagery ©Kristof Ramon
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