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Giro d'Italia: Kämna wins stage 4 atop Mount Etna

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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Lennard Kmna of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe celebrates at finish line as stage winner ahead of Juan Pedro Lpez of Spain and Team Trek Segafredo during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins the Giro d'Italia stage to Mt Etna (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 LR Rmy Rochas of France and Team Cofidis and Juan Pedro Lpez of Spain and Team Trek Segafredo compete in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) in the breakaway (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Stefano Oldani of Italy and Team Alpecin Fenix attacks in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) goes solo, attacking the break on the slopes of Mount Etna (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Miguel ngel Lpez Moreno of Colombia and Team Astana Qazaqstan dropped from the peloton prior to to abandon the race during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Miguel Ángel López abandoned the Giro d’Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Roger Kluge of Germany and Team Lotto Soudal involved in a crash during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Roger Kluge (Lotto Soudal) involved in a crash during stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 LR Miguel ngel Lpez Moreno of Colombia dropped and Harold Tejada Canacue of Colombia and Team Astana Qazaqstan during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Harold Tejada and Miguel Ángel López, who later abandoned the Giro d’Italia after struggling with a hip injury during stage 4 to Mount Etna (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 LR Harold Tejada Canacue of Colombia Miguel ngel Lpez Moreno of Colombia and Team Astana Qazaqstan talks with Aleksandr Vinokrov of Kazakhstan team Team manager prior to abandon the race during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Harold Tejada Canacue on hand to help Miguel Ángel López, who later abandoned the Giro d’Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 LR Miguel ngel Lpez Moreno of Colombia and Team Astana Qazaqstan talks with Aleksandr Vinokrov of Kazakhstan team Team manager prior to abandon the race during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Miguel Ángel López abandoned the Giro d’Italia after struggling with a hip injury during stage 4 to Mount Etna (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 LR Rein Taaramae of Estonia and Team Intermarch Wanty Gobert Matriaux and Lilian Calmejane of France and AG2R Citroen Team compete in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

The 14-rider breakaway - Valerio Conti (Astana Qazaqstan), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Villella, Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Mauri Vansevenant (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo), Diego Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost), Alexander Cataford (Israel-Premier Tech), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix), Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Ben Tulett of United Kingdom and Team INEOS Grenadiers competes during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Ben Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 RCS UCI motorbike regulator during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

The 14-rider breakaway - Valerio Conti (Astana Qazaqstan), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Villella, Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Mauri Vansevenant (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo), Diego Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost), Alexander Cataford (Israel-Premier Tech), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix), Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 LR Davide Villella of Italy and Team Cofidis and Stefano Oldani of Italy and Team Alpecin Fenix compete in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

The 14-rider breakaway - Valerio Conti (Astana Qazaqstan), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Villella, Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Mauri Vansevenant (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo), Diego Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost), Alexander Cataford (Israel-Premier Tech), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix), Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Ben Swift of United Kingdom and Team INEOS Grenadiers with teammates competes during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Ineos Grenadiers during stage 4 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Vadim Pronskiy of Kazahkstan and Team Astana Qazaqstan competes during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Vadim Pronskiy of Astana (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team Alpecin Fenix Pink Leader Jersey Rick Zabel of Germany and Team Israel Premier Tech Blue Mountain Jersey and a general view of the peloton competing next to the seaside while fans cheer during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

The peloton starts stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Mark Cavendish of United Kingdom and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl competes during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Mark Cavendish during stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 A general view of the peloton competing next to the seaside while fans cheer during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

A general view of the peloton competing next to the seaside while fans cheer during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and Team Astana Qazaqstan competes during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Vincenzo Nibai during stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 LR Mauri Vansevenant of Belgium and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl and Erik Fetter of Hungary and EoloKometa Cycling Team compete in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Mauri Vansevenant leads the breakaway on stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team Alpecin Fenix Pink Leader Jersey cmduring the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Overall race leader Mathieu van der Poel during stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte of Spain and Movistar Team competes during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Alejandro Valverde during stage 4 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Vadim Pronskiy of Kazahkstan and Team Astana Qazaqstan competes during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Astana lead the field during stage 4 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 A general view of the peloton passing through Svinc di Buccheri 785m during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

The peloton racing through the vineyards in Italy (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team Alpecin Fenix Pink Leader Jersey cmduring the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Mathieu van der Poel in the maglia rosa during stage 4 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 A general view of the peloton passing through a windmill park at Vizzini 634m during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

The peloton racing stage 4 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Wouter Poels of Netherlands and Team Bahrain Victorious competes during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 LR Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands Pink Leader Jersey and Dries De Bondt of Belgium and Team Alpecin Fenix during the team presentation prior to the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Mathieu van der Poel ahead of stage 4 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Simon Yates of United Kingdom and Team BikeExchange Jayco C with teammates during the team presentation prior to the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Simon Yates ahead of stage 4 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 A general view of the peloton competing next to the seaside while fans cheer during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

The peloton start stage 4 in the coastal town of Avola (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Juan Pedro Lpez of Spain and Team Trek Segafredo attacks in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) attacks in the breakaway during stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Juan Pedro Lpez of Spain and Team Trek Segafredo attacks in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) attacks in the breakaway during stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Lennard Kmna of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe competes in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the breakaway during stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Lennard Kmna of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe celebrates at finish line as stage winner ahead of Juan Pedro Lpez of Spain and Team Trek Segafredo during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Lennard Kämna celebrates his stage victory atop Mount Etna (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Lennard Kmna of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe celebrates at podium as stage winner during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Lennard Kamna celebrates winning stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Juan Pedro Lpez of Spain and Team Trek Segafredo celebrates at podium with champagne as Pink Leader Jersey winner during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) moves into the overall race lead at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)
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ETNA PIAZZALE RIFUGIO SAPIENZA ITALY MAY 10 Juan Pedro Lpez of Spain and Team Trek Segafredo celebrates at podium with champagne as Pink Leader Jersey winner during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 4 a 172km stage from Avola to Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza 1899m Giro WorldTour on May 10 2022 in Etna Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) moves into the overall race lead at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)

Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the first mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia atop Mount Etna, beating Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) in a sprint after the two emerged from the 14-rider attacks of the stage.

López banged his handlebars in anger but had the consolation of taking the race leader’s maglia rosa. He is the first Spanish rider to wear the pink jersey since Alberto Contador in 2015. He leads Kämna by 39 seconds.

Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) finished third at 34 seconds and is third overall at 58 seconds. Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal) beat Mauri Vansevenant (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) to finish fourth at 2:12 seconds.

The overall contenders stayed together in the exposed final kilometres of the climb through the lava, with Richie Porte guiding his Ineos Grenadiers team leader Richard Carapaz. He then sprinted to the line, bringing home the select group at 2:37, with Simon Yates near the back.

However, the BikeExchange-Jayco rider is fourth overall at 1:42.

Missing from the GC group were Miguel Ángel López (Astana Qazaqstan), who abandoned due to a hip and thigh injury at the start of the stage, while his teammate Vincenzo Nibali and Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) were distanced in the second half of the 22.8km climb to the finish.

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) finished 22:54 behind, with other sprinters further down.

Kämna took time out from WorldTour racing for the second half of the 2021, even opting to miss the Tour de France despite having won a stage the year before. But he rediscovered his love for racing while riding the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in October. He showed he was back to his best by recently winning a stage at the Tour of the Alps.

"It was a super hard day, especially the last climb. It was really long and hard,” he said, pulling on the blue mountains jersey after his stage win.

“I almost thought I lost it when López had more than 30 seconds and I could just make it to bridge, I just made it. Then I tried to recover a little bit for the sprint and it worked out really well.

"I'm so happy to already have the stage win in the pocket. For our team it's super great to have an early victory that relieves a lot of pressure. I think for us everything is on the right way."

López appeared disappointed not to win the stage and has still to take his first professional victory but the maglia rosa was ample consolation.

“I'm so happy to take the jersey. I don't believe this moment and I need to enjoy tomorrow, today, and every moment with the jersey,” he said almost in tears.

“I tried to go on the hardest part because that's where I can make the difference. I tried but Kämna took me in the last two or three kilometres and we fought for the sprint. I tried to fight for the victory but it was so difficult but I have the jersey and I'm so happy now.

“I don't know how many days but for sure I will enjoy it day-by-day with the jersey.”

López will wear the maglia rosa for Wednesday’s 174km fifth stage from Catania to Messina. The stage includes the Portella Mandrazzi climb to the north of Mount Etna after 75km but the final 80km are on flat roads around the Sicilian headland before the finish in Messina celebrates its prodigal son Vincenzo Nibali and then crosses to the mainland for stage 5 in Calabria.

How it unfolded

The riders were happy to feel the warm Sicilian sun on their backs as they lined up overlooking the Mediterranean in Avola for the start of the 170km stage to Mount Etna. They had been met by rain and low clouds on arrival from Hungary on Monday but the smoking summit of the volcano could be seen from a distance as the riders prepared to roll out.

Unlike the opening stages in Hungary, there was a real sense that the breakaway would be allowed to go clear and so the tension and speed were high on the road through the Val di Noto and as they passed the stunning Baroque buildings of Noto.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) was the first to attack and was joined by four other riders but they were soon brought back as the road climbed into the hills and the sprinters suffered down the back.

A grab for the brakes and a crash saw Simon Yates go down on his right knee, while Miguel Ángel López (Astana Qazaqstan) also abandoned due to a hip and thigh problem that he had kept hidden since the start of the race. Another crash was sparked by a race motorbike on the twisting roads. There is never a quiet day in the Giro d’Italia.

The breakaway of the day formed via a series of attacks, with Mauri Vansevenant (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) keen to get away and show his climbing talents. He was joined by Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Biniam Girmay and even Mathieu van der Poel tried to attack from the peloton but were pulled back. However, Valerio Conti (Astana Qazaqstan), Davide Villella (Cofidis), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) joined the move, as did

Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), Diego Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost), Alexander Cataford (Israel-Premier Tech), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa) and Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) all managed to jump across after a big effort.

The peloton tried to block the road and deter the attacks, with Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën) going deep in a solo move to eventually get across to the attack.

The 14-rider group eventually settled and began to work together after a fast 20km. The gap to the peloton quickly rose to 4:30, then 6:30 and even 10:30 after 35km, making Vansevenant the virtual maglia rosa.

As Yates dropped back for some pain-killing spray on his knee, Ineos picked up the chase with Bahrain Victorious. Ben Swift and Salvatore Puccio did the hard work for Ineos and Carapaz, while Jasha Sütterlin worked for Bahrain and leader Mikel Landa.

They helped bring the gap down to eight minutes with 100km to race on the gradual descent towards Catania and kept it there as the race passed to the west of the sprawling city and looked to Etna ahead of them. As the pace eased, even the riders had a chance to enjoy the spectacular Sicilian countryside, still green in the late Italian spring.

Calmejane lead the attack through the first intermediate sprint and huge crowds in Paternò with 43km to go, with the gruppo compact and in control at 6:40.

The climb to Mount Etna officially began with 22.8km to go but the roads turned upwards with 30km on the lower slopes. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) was the first to ease up and be distanced with 28.5km to race, soon followed by other sprinters, including Cavendish.

Van der Poel also soon surrendered his maglia rosa with 19.5km to climb, preferring to save his legs for later in the Giro.

The climbing split the 14-rider attack, with Vansevenant the first to accelerate. However, Oldani got the gap in a solo move and opened a 50-second lead on the best of the rest. Calmejane, Fetter, Cataford, Camargo, Conti, Rochas and Villella were distanced.

Oldani rode through Biancavilla with 14km to go and so took three seconds in the second intermediate sprint. Lopez, Kämna, Taaramäe, Leemreize, Moniquet and Vansevenant chased him, confident the fight for the stage victory was far from over.

The peloton was still 6:00 down at this point, with all the big names watching each other and waiting for the attacks. The first surge in the peloton came with 14.5km to go when Ineos took over on the front and Jhonatan Narváez upped the pace.

Up front, López danced across to Oldani with 10km to go on the 8% gradients and surged past him in search of victory. Kämna, Moniquet, Taaramäe and Vansevenant eventually took up the chase of the Spaniard but had given him a 30-second advantage.

Ineos rode steady but fast and their pacing began to hurt those left in the peloton. With 8.5km to go, Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) was at the back of the 40-rider group and was soon distanced, unable to hold the pace on the steepest gradients of the climb. He would finish 9:10 down on Kämna, marking the end of his GC hopes in this year’s Giro. Teammate Tobias Foss also lost 2:15 to the other overall contenders, making for a bad day for Jumbo-Visma’s overall ambitions.

Soon after Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan) was also distanced, much to the disappointment of his local fans, while Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) also lost contact. Both would go on to lose four minutes.

López led the race out of the trees and into the higher lava lunar landscape, leaving him exposed to the wind blowing from the east. Kamna was the strongest behind and set off in pursuit of López, as Vansevenant struggled, ending his maglia rosa dreams.

Kämna caught López with three kilometres to go, while Taaramäe refused to give up the chase and stayed at 30 seconds, forcing them to work together.

They started a short descent to the finish area together and even touched wheels as they rounded the final sweeping bend to the finish.  Kämna was the strongest and edged away to celebrate a carefully constructed victory.

The 16-rider GC group finished together at 2:37, all happy not to have lost their overall hopes so early in the race.

Results powered by FirstCycling.

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Stephen Farrand

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.

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