'Maybe we had a silent agreement' — Kämna and López share spoils on Giro d'Italia stage four

Bora-Hansgrohe's German takes stage win on Etna, while Trek-Segrafredo's Spaniard claims pink jersey

Lennard Kämna
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the end, it did not look like Lennard Kämna and Juan Pedro López were agreed on much, let alone who would win stage four of the Giro d'Italia. Swinging into the final corner, Kämna was fully committed to going for victory, but so was López. Unfortunately for the latter, he misjudged the line, almost clipping his rival's back wheel, a move which gifted the German triumph on Etna.

Of course, López claims the pink jersey, some consolation prize, but the 24-year-old did not seem satisfied with this immediately post race. He looked like he had just missed out on his maiden professional win by metres, which he had.

Kämna has won before, most notably at the Tour de France two years ago, but also this year at the Ruta del Sol and the Tour of the Alps, and he'll win again, maybe at this race in this form.

Meanwhile, López is yet to get off the mark, and so to be agonisingly close to victory, only to be pipped by a smarter racer, must hurt.

Post-stage, Kämna said "maybe we had a silent agreement", for him to take the stage and López to take pink, but to look at his Spanish rival, that agreement was clearly very silent, maybe even whispered, or in the wrong language.

"It was a super hard day, especially the last climb, which was really long and really hard," Kämna explained. "I almost thought I lost it when López had more than 30 seconds. I just made it to bridge. I just made it, and then I tried to recover a little bit for a 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 great to have an early victory, it releases a lot of pressure. For us, everything is on the right way."

His opponent, the new maglia rosa wearer, looked emotional at the finish line, banging on his handlebars. 

"I tried to go on the hardest part, because that made the difference," he said. "I tried, but Kämna took me in the last 2/3km. I tried to fight for the victory, but it’s so difficult."

"I’m so happy today to take the jersey," he continued, despite not looking particularly happy. Even on the podium he looked more emotional than ecstatic.

"I don’t believe the moment," he said. "I need to enjoy today, tomorrow and every day with the jersey. I don’t know how many days, but for sure I enjoy it day by day with the jersey. When I put it on tomorrow, and every day I have the jersey."

Once it has sunk in, López will surely enjoy his position as race leader more, something his team will surely attempt to drill into him. It is Trek-Segafredo's first pink jersey at the Grand Tour, something that matters even more to the team due to its half-Italian heritage. There will be a party on their bus tonight.

Anyway, with this form, there's no reason why he could not be a threat later in the race, especially with all the climbing still to come.

For Kämna, this is the latest step in his comeback. The 25-year-old took an extended break from cycling last year, partly due to his mental health.

Last month at the Tour of the Alps the young German said: "I want to be careful in the future. I think I am more stable. It opened up some opportunities to train a little bit earlier, rethink things, like what exactly I want to be as a rider. I think it helped me. I cannot explain it in detail now, but I'm really glad that I did it, I had a good winter. I was really happy to pin my numbers back on my jersey and ride some races."

A second Grand Tour stage win is more than enough notice that he is back to the top. 

"I think I’m still the same rider, with the same abilities as I had in 2020," he said on Tuesday. "I feel I’m getting better from race to race, and I’m super happy to take a victory now already."

It would be no surprise if either Kämna or López feature towards the pointy end of stages multiple times to come in this race, with or without agreements.

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