Lennard Kämna started the first morning relaxed when he was able to call himself a Tour de France stage winner. “I think the team is much more relieved than I am about this victory,” said the 24-year-old professional cyclist with a laugh and pointed to the cheerful supervisors of his team, Bora. “I came here with the aim of winning a stage. But I didn’t put such pressure on myself and wanted to look from day to day, ”he said. With the level-headed North German, that didn’t even seem like an empty phrase, but like a simple statement, straight and straight like a quay wall.
He had done his day’s work on Tuesday in a similarly straightforward manner. He went to the escape group of the day as planned. Teammate Daniel Oss supported him there all day. “His work spared my legs,” the later stage winner praised his companion. With his legs spared, he was then able to parry Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz’s first appearance. Then he looked at the rival – and even hung him on the penultimate mountain.
This time he didn’t want to let it come to a sprint. That was a lesson from the 13th stage. Kämna was also in the lead, but was still over-sprinted by the Colombian Daniel Martinez. Now the flat country from the Waterkant faced an Andean inhabitant again, even a more highly decorated. “I didn’t think he’d be a Giro winner. You have to take every opponent seriously here, no matter what their name is, and you have to see how you can outrun them «, Kämna analyzed just as soberly as he had previously left his opponent.
So now he is the tour stage winner, the first German to have succeeded this year. And because it was a mountain stage, the illusions quickly shoot up that a new Jan Ullrich could be on the way here. Because Kämna has a lot of talent. “He’s good on the mountain and he’s good at time trials. You have now seen that, ”said his team boss Ralph Denk with unmistakable pride. Time trials and going up mountains quickly are the core competencies of tour riders. Does Kämna have what it takes to get onto the tour podium? “You shouldn’t always talk about what he can become, whether he could be the new Jan Ullrich. He’s already something, has won a stage on the Tour, ”said Simon Geschke with a slight anger in his voice. The Berliner was in the escape group with Kämna, was fifth of the day, and knows from personal experience what a stage win on the tour feels like and that this is actually something special.
At Kämnas Rennstall you also step on the euphoria brake. “We’ll see if he’ll be a classification driver for one-week or three-week tours. Maybe he will also be a good driver for the Ardennes classics. We will develop it step by step, ”said Boras team boss Denk.
Kämna already sees herself as a potential class driver. But he too wants to proceed with caution. “We’ll see in the next few years whether it’s enough for three weeks. Now, for the time being, I’m happy that I can also hunt for stages from escape groups, ”he said.
The man who celebrated his 24th birthday on the tour tackles his next tasks with a mixture of concentration and serenity. This attitude was not easy for him. He was considered a great talent from an early age, becoming junior world champion in time trial and U23 world champion in road racing. The first professional day came at the age of 20. The great career was mapped out. But then he was plagued by injuries and he lost his interest in cycling. »In 2018 I had a lot to do with health problems, and I walked from doctor to doctor. At some point came the moment when I said to myself that I need a break and also have to reset my head to be really fresh in order to be able to fully attack again, «he said a year ago. His former team, Sunweb, allowed Kämna to take a break from racing and to visit a sports psychologist. “That helped me,” he reported.
Now he seems to be at rest. In his new team, however, he is the joker. “After his racing career he can become a comedian,” said team colleague Max Schachmann about him. He’s a very tough attacker in the race. After the mountain points achieved on Tuesday, the mountain king’s dotted jersey is now even in his view. So there is no shortage of goals. Incidentally, Jan Ullrich never won this mountain jersey.