Kämna and Roglic save the day

August 15 th 2020 - 17:14

Lennard Kämna soloed to his first professional victory at the end of a stage that saw three of his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates abandon the race, including his leader Emanuel Buchmann (3rd overall before his abandon). The young German rider dominated his breakaway companions during the final climb in Megève to claim the win ahead of David de la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step). Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) finished with all his rivals to retain the leader’s jersey. The Slovenian champion also hit the deck and lost his teammate Steven Kruijswijk, who crashed out of the race with Buchmann. The winner of the 2019 Tour de France Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) didn’t start the stage due to back pain according to his team.

The pack is down to 149 riders at the start of Stage 4 in Ugine: the winner of the 2019 Tour de France Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) and Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) don’t start the race. Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) explained his teammate suffers from a “bad back”. As for Nils Politt, his team reports he “suffers from knee-related issues following a crash in the first stage”.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) attacks from the gun but it takes more than 20km of hard battle for the break to get away. The Belgian baroudeur is gradually joined by 14 companions during the ascent up Col de Plan Bois (summit at km 28): Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Michal Kwiatkowski and Dylan van Baarle (Team Ineos), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), David de la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates), Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Hirschi (Trek-Segafredo), Matej Mohoric and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-McLaren), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Fausto Masnada (CCC Team).

Buchmann, Kruijswijk and Roglic hit the deck

Three more riders have to abandon after a crash at km 29, including two major Tour de France contenders: Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma). Bora-Hansgrohe’s Gregor Muhlberger is the other victim of his crash, with an arm injury according to his team, while Buchmann suffers abrasions and Kruijswijk dislocated his shoulder according to early reports. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) is also involved in the crash but keeps going without much seeable consequences.

The race situation settles in the Col de la Croix Fry. David de la Cruz, after already taking 10 KOM points at Col de Plan Bois, also leads the break at the summit of this second climb of the day. And it’s the same up the Col des Aravis (cat-3, km 50.5) and the Côte d’Héry sur Ugine (cat-2, km 69). With 27 KOM points, De la Cruz takes the lead of the provisional standings ahead of his teammate Davide Formolo (25 points). Jumbo-Visma control the gap between 3 and 4 minutes. André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Andreas Schillinger (Bora-Hansgrohe) abandon.

The race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) hits the deck at km 82. He gets back on his bike with abrasions on his left side but manages to return to the bunch. The pack slows down and the gap reaches its maximum at km 89: 5 minutes. The pace increases again ahead of the climb of Bisanne and the attackers’ lead is down to 3’40’’ at the bottom (km 98).

Kämna seizes his chance

Thomas De Gendt accelerates in the first slopes but his companions quickly get back to him. De la Cruz summits first with only seven riders left with him: Alaphilippe, Masnada, Elissonde, Kwiatkowski, Haig, Kämna and Mohoric. The GC group also explodes with Mikel Landa’s Bahrain-McLaren setting a hard pace to bring the gap down to 1’30’’. There are only 8 riders with Roglic at that moment, but the pace decreases in the downhill, allowing stragglers such as Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) to return while the gap to the front of the race increases: 2’25’’ with 10km to go.

Kenny Elissonde attacks at the bottom of the final climb: 7.4km with an average of 4.7%. De la Cruz joins him with 5km to go and then Kämna gets back to them and accelerates himself. He goes solo with 3.5km to go and takes his first victory as a professional rider ahead of David de la Cruz and Julian Alaphilippe.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) leads the GC group on the finish line, with a delay of 3’05’’. The French climber is still Roglic’s closest rival on GC, with a delay of 14’’. He is now followed by his compatriot Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), trailing by 24’’.

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