If he were to bet on a number in roulette, Lennard Kämna would probably bet on the number 3. This seems to be the lucky number for the Bora-hansgrohe rider because last year, the German rider won the Tour of the Alps at the finish in Niederdorf/Villabassa, this year it was again the third stage, 162.5 km from Ritten/Renon to Brentonico San Valentino, that earned him the win.
Stretching from Südtirol/Alto Adige to Trentino on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, the Tour of the Alps delivered another spectacular stage, which was decided on the final climb to the Passo San Valentino. It was there, with 3 km to go, that the day's breakaway got caught and launched the final challenge for victory, which featured Lennard Kämna and Jefferson Cepeda (EF Education-Easypost).
The German rider got the upper hand with a final attack 300 meters from the line that left the Ecuadorean challenger in third behind another Bora-hansgrohe rider, Aleksandr Vlasov. Heading up the pursuit of the leaders was Tao Geoghegan Hart, who retains the Melinda Green Jersey as leader in the General Classification with two stages to go.
The GC still remains wide open. In fact, despite the elevation difficulties of the third stage, the top three remain bunched within just 28". Hugh Carthy (second at 22") and Jack Haig (third at 28") remain formidable opponents for Tao Geoghegan Hart and promise to do battle in the final two stages of the 2023 Tour of the Alps.
The road from Rovereto to Predazzo on Thursday, April 20, 2023, will see another spectacular stage of the Euro-regional race, which will once again deliver unforgettable sensations and scenery. The final verdict of this 2023 Tour of the Alps has yet to be handed down.
A WHITE-HOT PACE BURNS BETWEEN SÜDTIROL/ALTO ADIGE AND TRENTINO
After yesterday's fast stage, today was contested at full speed from the earliest kilometres. Only after 50 kilometres did the day's breakaway get a green light. Jasha Sutterlin (Bahrain Victorious), Juri Hollmann (Movistar Team), Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-Citroën), Lorenzo Milesi (Team DSM), Joe Dombrowski (Astana Qazaqstan), Riccardo Lucca (Green Project-Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Txomin Juaristi Arrieta (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Giovanni Carboni (Equipo Kern Pharma), Mattia Bais (Eolo Kometa), Lukas Pöstelberger (Austria), Alexander Hajek (Austria), and Liam Johnston (Trinity Racing) seized the opportunity to get out in front of the race.
The 12 escapees opened up a gap of 7'18" on the pass from Trento, when EF Education-Easypost took the reins of the peloton and closed the gap on the climb of Lago di Cei. On the subsequent descent a series of attacks were neutralized before Vendrame and Pöstelberger managed to gain a dozen seconds in a break at the foot of the final climb.
As soon as the road began to climb toward the Passo San Valentino, the AG2R-Citroën Italian rider attempted a solo sprint but was caught by Joe Dombrowski after a few kilometres of climbing. The two continued together for a few kilometres more before the U.S. rider pushed on solo.
The 31-year-old American rider from Astana Qazaqstan tried several times to stretch his lead, which became narrower as the kilometres ticked by and the group led by Bora-hansgrohe closed the gap.
With less than four kilometres to go, Lennard Kämna finally broke away from the lead group, trailed by Jefferson Cepeda. The two managed to gain up to 22" on the green jersey group until Tao Geogehgan Hart himself made a move.
By the last kilometre the lead had shrunk to 8" ahead of the small group consisting of the overall leader, Aleksandr Vlasov, Hugh Carthy, Jack Haig, and Lorenzo Fortunato. It was still enough of a gap to allow the Bora-hansgrohe rider to win the stage ahead of teammate Vlasov (+4"), who dominated Cepeda in the sprint for second place.
The Melinda Green Jersey wearer Tao Geoghegan Hart controlled the situation by finishing fourth ahead of Jack Haig and Hugh Carthy. Lorenzo Fortunato paid a few seconds for his seventh-place finish at 10" back from the day's winner. The sprint in the second group was commanded by Matthew Riccitello (Israel-Premier Tech) who managed to control the Würth White Jersey for the Best Young Rider, Max Poole (Team DSM), and Pavel Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers).
Felix Gall (AG2R-Citroën) paid the highest price, finishing 1'06" behind the day's winner, while Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) lost 32". Also lagging was Ivan Ramiro Sosa (Movistar Team) at 3'36".
However, the GC remains very tight, with nine athletes packed into 58". Behind Tao Geoghehan Hart there’s Carthy and Haig, with a promising Jefferson Cepeda, who also retains the Gruppo Cassa Centrale blue jersey for the best climber, in fourth place. Lorenzo Fortunato ascends to fifth place in the GC, 38" down from the leader but ahead of the Bora-hansroghe duo of Kämna-Vlasov at 45" and 49" respectively. The Manila Grace Red Jersey for the Points standings also remains on Tao Geoghegan Hart's shoulders.
“Winning stage 3 again was great for me as well as the whole team – said Lennard Kämna – as here we have many of the same guys headed to the Giro, so it seems we are heading in the right direction. Last year’s win was very special to me, but this one is my first coming out of the leaders’ group, so it’s certainly a confidence boost.”
“I have had a good season so far, and my projection is for the Giro: we will try to defend the title, and we want to try to be on the podium at least. Personally, I hope to go for the GC – I don’t know if it can aim for a top 3 or top 5, sure I want to be up there and show myself for the overall.”
“Sure we will try to do something in the last couple of days to claim the TotA overall: Vlasov and I are both in the top-10, and we will try to play our cards until Bruneck/Brunico.”
“Today we rode more conservatively,” explained GC leader Tao Geoghegan Hart,” the last climb didn’t have huge gradients to make a difference, and having the jersey we tried to stay on the defensive side a little bit rather than forcing the pace. A third stage win would have been nice, but the overall comes first. Tomorrow and Friday we will start with a big climb, and that changes the tactics a bit, but it won’t necessarily make the race harder to control.”
“Early this season I ended a stint of two years without victory, but I don’t think we should validate ourselves exclusively on the results. I think over this span I have done good things both as a person, a rider and a teammate even without winning, and there are incredible riders in the peloton who won little, or even no races, and that does nothing to affect their value, notably in today’s cycling in which the same guy can win many days in a row.”
Enjoying the show of the uphill finish in Brentonico – San Valentino were also Trentino’s Tourism Assessor Roberto Failoni, UEC President and UCI Vice President Enrico Della Casa and Italian Cycling Federation President Cordiano Dagnoni.
“The Tour of the Alps is an amazing showcase for our territory,” stated Assessor Failoni, “on a national and international scale. We are proud of this finish on a very important climb, that offered some stunning views and images. This is the first of many great events in our land, and that shows how much Trentino cares and invests in cycling.”
“The Tour of the Alps is a great and perfectly organized races,” said President Della Casa, “that’s an enticing project that brings together two Nations and their populations. To me, the Tour of the Alps is already among the top races in the World, and I think its perspective should be to enter in the World Tour calendar within 2026.”
“We are proud of this race with an Italian soul and a cross-border perspective,” said President Dagnoni. “Events like this shed a light on amazing lands and courses, like the ones we discovered today and in the previous stages. The way great riders are interpreting this race tells volumes about the consideration and stature it has reached on the international scale.”
A FOURTH STAGE TOTALLY IN TRENTINO: FROM ROVERETO TO PREDAZZO
After the spectacular Brentonico San Valentino finish, the Tour of the Alps remains on Trentino soil with a fourth stage that will take the athletes from Rovereto to Predazzo along 152.9 kms with 3610 meters of climbing.
The start will take place in the striking setting of Rovereto's MART, the city's museum of modern art. The day’s first rough patch will come up quickly with the Passo Sommo (Category 1 GPM of 15.7 km with a 7.3 percent average grade). This will only be the first taste because flat terrain is scarce in the fourth stage.
After the Lago di Santa Colomba climb and pass through Val di Cembra, the racers will enter Val di Fiemme to tackle the Pramadiccio Pass (Category 2 GPM of 9.7 km with 6.1 percent average grade), the iconic Marcialonga ascent. Once at the summit, there will be 15 km to the finish, divided between a very fast descent toward Tesero, a flat section toward Predazzo, and a final uphill kilometre.
THE TOUR OF THE ALPS ON TV
Tomorrow, Thursday, the Tour of the Alps will be live from 1:30 p.m. local time on RaiSport, Eurosport, and L'Equipe TV (France).