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CHICLANA DE SEGURA, Spain (VN) — Peter Sagan is no longer in a Bora-Hansgrohe jersey, and the German team is intent on filling the void with aggressive racing.
Lennard Kämna bounced out of a breakaway to win stage 5 at the Ruta del Sol on Sunday in another big early season result for the German-backed WorldTour team.
“We want to ride aggressively and we want to win races,” Kämna said. “We are not there anymore just to go for eighth place in GC. We want to be in front, so it’s kind of a process right now to be always there.”
With Sagan and his entourage moving to DirectEnergies in 2022, the pressure is on Bora-Hansgrohe to deliver the headlines.
The team’s doing it so far in 2022, with Aleksandr Vlasov winning a stage and the overall at the Volta a Valenciana earlier this month.
New signing Sergio Higuita recently won the Colombian national title, and opened his account in team colors in Europe with victory in the final stage at the Volta ao Algarve on Sunday.
Read more here 👉 https://t.co/L7WUTFVzui
— BORA – hansgrohe (@BORAhansgrohe) February 20, 2022
It was Kämna’s turn this week.
He attacked at the new gravel/road race at Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior on Monday to finish fourth, and pounced to victory Sunday.
That type of aggression marks a new chapter for the team in what’s the start of a new era after Sagan rode with the team for five seasons.
“Peter Sagan was also a great leader, and you always had somebody you could count on,” Kämna said. “For sure it’s a different riding style right now. I personally I really enjoy it.”
First big win following 2021 season break
On Sunday, Kämna jumped out a 19-rider group that included two other friendly jerseys to win the final stage. Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) held on to win the overall in the five-stage Spanish race.
Kämna jumped just under 4km to go, and dug all the way to the line for his first win since early 2021.
“It was a super-hard stage, and it was attacking from the start,” he said. “We did a great job with three guys in the last group, and then it was playing the tactical game in the end.
“In the last kilometer, I was really struggling, so I knew it was going to be a fight until the last meter.”
The victory is also the first for Kämna since the 2021 Volta a Catalunya, when he decided to take a racing break for the second half of the season. His breakout 2020 season saw him win a stage at that year’s Tour de France, but the former junior world champion stopped racing in May.
Last year, Kãmna cited an unspecified “infection” and mental stress behind his decision step back from the intensity of racing.
“It seems like you didn’t look at what I did,” he said when asked about the racing break. “I was not even riding my bike, I was taking a break.”
There won’t be any more breaks, at least not right now.
With his momentum, Kämna could be one of the favorites for Strade Bianche next month.