Tour stage winner: Kämna evokes dreams – just no comparisons to Ullrich

Méribel (dpa) – Champagne and smoothies were on the menu at the Mercure Hotel in Grenoble for Lennard Kämna and Co. after the big coup in the Tour de France.

And at the latest after the break in the much too small lounge, the gifted cyclist should finally have realized that he had made the right decision in his career crisis two years ago. “I was not 100 percent behind the sport. Then I said to myself: I will try everything, give everything”, Kämna reported after a break in professional cycling in 2018.

At the time, there was a big question mark about Kämna’s professional career, even if it hadn’t really started yet. “He may have had motivation issues, he lost interest. He was pretty gloomy,” recalls team boss Ralph Denk. Ending a career was no problem then, Kämna explains. ‘I wanted to get my head straight. It was never a problem that I would quit. ‘

A wise decision, otherwise German cycling would have lost an exceptional talent. With his famous stage victory in Villard-de-Lans, the young star, who had just turned 24, showed his great potential. Think stresses he can “climb and time trial”. Just the right properties for a strong cyclist.

Where should that lead? “He is an exceptional talent. He grows at the end of a tour. That gives courage for the future that he can make it to the podium if everything fits,” said Didi Thurau of the German news agency. The man from Frankfurt even rode in the yellow jersey for 15 days in 1977 and won a total of six tour stages.

Olaf Ludwig sees it the same way. “He is very aesthetically pleasing on the bike, performs well and is tactically smart. We will have a lot of fun with the driver for years to come,” said the 1988 Olympic champion of the DPA. Comparisons with ex-tour winner Jan Ullrich are out of place. “You are not doing him any favors,” said Ludwig and Thurau: “In terms of stature, Jan Ullrich had a different caliber.”

Since the tour victory 23 years ago of the later deeply fallen Ullrich, Cycling Germany has been waiting for a successor. The whole Kämna package is very promising. At Bora-hansgrohe you don’t know yet what will ever be possible for Kämna. “We will see where the upward trend will eventually go. Whether he ever becomes a driver for three or one-week tours or maybe for the Ardennes classics”, Denk puzzles.

Kämna dares to do a lot. The two leading Slovenians Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar are absolutely exceptional drivers, but their performances are not unattainable. “Whether I will ever get there in person is in the stars. You can never say that I will be good enough to ever win the tour: it would be crazy to say that. Not everyone can do that,” says de Noord. -German. .

But his performance in the Alps was already a great cinema. On the penultimate climb to shake off French superstar Julian Alaphilippe and drive away from reigning Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz, trust yourself. “I don’t care what name that is. Everyone on the tour is in top form. It’s about leaving the opponent behind,” said the former junior world champion, who finished second on the mountainside at Puy Mary. used to be.

In fact, Kämna is only allowed to act as Buchmann’s helper during the tour and keep learning. It is quite possible that his team will soon have a luxury problem. Ullrich also got out of Bjarne Riis’ shadow faster than planned. But these comparisons are not desirable.

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