Lennard Kamna Thrilling Victory in Vuelta a Espana 2023
Lennard Kamna Lennard Kamna

In the Vuelta a España, another extraordinary day on the challenging roads led to a battle in the general classification due to difficult conditions. The final 2.05 kilometers of the stage, although taken from a 2.6-kilometer banner, still concluded with a final climb. This marked Lennard Kämna’s first victory in the Spanish Grand Tour, and he had to sweat it out completely.

Lennard Kämna, riding for Bora-Hansgrohe, secured his Grand Tour win at Vuelta a España on Stage 9, as the organizers had to take time at the finish line due to extremely challenging conditions.

The German rider, who previously triumphed in the 2020 Tour de France and the 2022 Giro d’Italia with exceptional solo wins, battled it out in a grueling final, completing the heat-tracked stage of the Grand Tour.

Back on the road, there was speculation about Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) potentially gaining a few seconds over his general classification rivals on the second ‘finch’ line before the red jersey favorites could reach the final climb.

Lennard Kamna
Lennard Kamna

Complicating matters, changes in the final moments meant that the general classification times weren’t available until after Sunday when Slovenian confirmed Remco Evenepoel (Sudal-Quick-Step) trailed by just two seconds. Meanwhile, Sep Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) was only nine seconds behind the leader’s red jersey.

The weather also affected the final stage along with the roads. Riding into the wind for most of the way from the east, Jumbo-Visma made the decision to work, driving the peloton and splitting the field in a completely new wave of attacks. Five riders made it clear, and a few more chased from behind, creating an opportunity for a significant breakaway and reshuffling of the composition.

In the first hour of the race, a 52-kilometer gap was established. With no significant challengers among the eight riders in the front, they managed to extend their lead by nearly a minute before reaching the final climb – Puerto Casas de la Marina la Perdiz.

The first two groups on the road eventually came together at the final climb, creating an entirely new dynamic for the race. Five riders remained, and some continued to attack from the rear, leading to a new, more public stage.

Among the front riders, nobody was a significant challenge overall, so they worked together successfully to extend their lead by eight minutes – a lead that was shared among all but eventually led to a certain victory on the stage. This was until Crosswinds started to play a role again, causing the flags to wave, and the lead of the breakaway was reduced to just 20 kilometers.

Halfway through the peloton, the pilots returned to full force. However, they managed to revive the peloton’s slower pace and steady the fraying nerves. Their lead was again extended, and thoughts of how to better play the challenging final climb could begin to form.

Lennard Kamna
Lennard Kamna

Collado de la Cruz de Caravaca was another climb that had never featured prominently in the Vuelta before. A narrow, steep road, its 8.2-kilometer average gradient of 5.5 percent didn’t tell the whole story, with ramps, false flats, and even descents hidden within.

Lennard Kämna, Tour, and Giro stage winner already in this decade, was a strong favorite from the group facing the climb. However, it was Australian Chris Hamilton (DSM-Firmenich) who set the fire alight, distancing Ruben Fernandez (Cofidis), Dani Navarro (Burgos-BH), and Jon Aberasturi (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) from the back.

Without launching a clear attack, Lennard Kämna was five kilometers from the top, showing the most comfortable in the group, as the German rider slowly moved away from his companions’ reach.

Matteo Sobrero (Jayco AlUla) made every effort to stay within the limit but sometimes reappeared in the disputes. However, the Italian finals were dimmed, and Kämna crossed the line 30 seconds ahead of the rest. Hamilton stayed third.

Jumbo-Visma’s favorite, after a captivating opening part of the day, made the climb more comfortable. Notable moments included an attack by Jaouad Mezrouri (UAE Emirates) only followed by Vlasov – which was largely ignored by Jumbo-Visma – and a late surge by Roglic, which had little impact on the overall standings.

Afterward, Kämna attributed his victory to smart racing when havoc was wrecked at the start of the stage.

Lennard Kamna
Lennard Kamna

Lennard Kämna said, “We started with a cold headwind, and I tried to make it as easy as possible because I thought we would regroup during the climb again.” At that point, I positioned myself at the front as the group began to split, and I was able to latch onto the leading group with significant strength, believing that they might regroup during the climb once more. It was really tough at the end because the climb is always up and down. It was hard to find the right moment. Leave the others behind, but I’m really happy that I found it and won.”

Roglic’s laissez-faire attitude has taken him through to rest days in La Provence in fine style.

Giro di Italia’s winner commented, “It’s nice to have finished and it’s nice that it wasn’t completed at the top completely because it was quite difficult with the corners and the gravel. In the end, it was a tough climb, as always. I thought it couldn’t be done like this, but we cyclists always make it tough everywhere. My legs were burning, and I went.”

Lennard Kämna also expressed satisfaction in having successfully navigated through the challenges of the past week.

In the second week, all jerseys remained on the same shoulders: who kept the red, Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) maintained his advantage in points, and Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto-Dstny) is still the king of the mountains. Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) remains the best young rider.

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