Hola and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 4 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height, we join the 193km stage at the mid-way point.
We have a break of five riders with a lead of 2:45 but we expect the sprint teams to chase them down for their fast finishers.
QuickStep-AlphaVinyl and Bora-Hansgrohe are leading the peloton, clearly thinking their sprinter can win today.
The Belgian team have Fabio Jakobsen, who won stage 2, while Bora are defending Aleksandr Vlasov's overall race lead.
As you may have read on Cyclingnews, both Team DSM and Jumbo-Visma did not start the stage after COVID-19 cases in their ranks.
Click below to read the full story.
Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) is the new race leader after he divested Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) of the yellow jersey with a powerful attack on the gravel climb to win the stage 3 at Antenas del Maigmó.
The Russian first hit the front with 2km remaining, when his seated acceleration splintered an already stretched yellow jersey group.
Click below to read our full stage report.
The five rider break leads by 3:00.
The five are:
Manuele Boaro (Astana Astana Qazaqstan), Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH), Jesus Antonio Soto (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Urko Berrade (Equipo Kern Pharma) and Kenny Molly (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB).
The big news of stage 3 was how Remco Evenepoel lost any chance of taking three wins out of three stages.
His chances were shattered on Friday's tough summit finish at Antenas del Maigmó as Vlasov dropped him and the young Belgian suffered on the steep gradient.
Click below to read Alasdair Fotheringham's story on Evenepoel's surprise defeat.
Alasdair is at the Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana for Cyclingnews.
Alasdair gives us an update from the finish in Torrevieja. The exposed roads around the pink salt water lake men there's a risk of attacks and echelons in the final kilometres.
We'll have all the action if the wind blows.
63km to go, with the break of 5 riders still 2:15 ahead.
As well as the Covid-19 withdrawals, Ilnur Zakarin crashed during stage 3 and was not able to continue the race.
Ilnur has a concussion and several cuts which were stitched.
The race is now heading towards the seafront and holiday resort. The winds could be a factor very soon.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl lead the chase at #VCV2022, where the escapees’ advantage has been cut to two minutes with 60 kilometers to go.Photo: @VueltaCV pic.twitter.com/Bi2LSNgsDGFebruary 5, 2022
We can see the flags flying at the port of Torrevieja.
It is cloudy in the Valencia area today and the wind is blowing.
With the risk of wind and attacks, riders are fighting for position at the front of the peloton.
The speed sparked a touch of wheels.
The two riders to go down are Omar Freile and Carlos Rodriguez of Ineos. They are in pain but are up and standing.
The race will soon be near the coast, with the wind blowing from the riders' right.
Once through the intermediate sprint in Torrevieja, the riders face a loop of the lake.
When the riders change direction on exposed roads could be the place to attack and spark echelons.
45km to go
The breakaway leads by just 1:00 now. The sprint teams are fighting for position in the peloton behind.
We can also see the Movistar team on the front.
The riders enter into the streets of Torrevieja. That gives them some welcome protection from the wind but there are a number of tight corner.
40km to go
The break is fighting on, all five working together, as they near the intermediate sprint and final lap of 33.5km.
#VCV2022Only few seconds for the escapees on the peloton - 40kms to go 🏁 pic.twitter.com/udhKLCJTdvFebruary 5, 2022
Ineos are now leading the chase. Are they planning an attack in the wind and go after the intermediate sprint time bonuses?
The Meta Volante is done, with the 5 attackers taking the bonus seconds. Ineos just want to stay safe and upfront.
Now the pelton passes through the sprint and the finish area, leaving 3.5km to race.
The break is just 15 seconds ahead.
The riders will soon emerge back into the cross winds.
Cabeza de carrera al primer paso por línea de meta, en 1h aprox. los tenemos de vuelta.#VCV2022 GP @BancoSabadell pic.twitter.com/Vhg99NoLloFebruary 5, 2022
The wind is blowing from the riders' right now as they start the loop of the laguna.
25km to go
The peloton can see and almost touch the five attackers now.
The 5 attackers know their chances are gone but fight on.
20km to go
The peloton are spread across the road as they fight for position.
QuickStep are riding for Jakobsen down the centre of the road.
More houses and so more protection from the cross winds.
It now looks difficult for anyone to blow open the race and so the sprinters will be preparing for the fast finish.
Even Boaro is pulled back by the bunch on a single lane section of road.
Did we speak too soon?
Ineos and Intermarche are upping the speed!
QuickStep are there and vigilant but do not seem convinced there is enough wind to split the peloton.
15km to go
Indeed, the pace has eased.
Movistar take over on the front of the peloton to protect Valverde and Mas.
Elia Viviani will fancy his chances today. He's being protected by Ben Swift up front.
All the teams are lined out but also shoulder to shoulder. The speed is above 50km/h.
Speed is picking up at the front of the #VCV2022 peloton, as more teams are trying to bring their sprinters into position.Photo: @GettySport pic.twitter.com/i3xUdNhYSZFebruary 5, 2022
Ivan Cobo of Equipo Kern Pharma makes a solo attack but the peloton will surely eat him up whenever they want.
The roads are back into the holiday town and rising slightly, making for more tension and fight for position in the bunch.
Intermarche are moving up for Alexander Kristoff.
UAE also fancy their chances with Molano.
5km to go
The final 5km are in city-centre streets, leaving little space to move up.
The speed is up to 82km/h on a false flat with a tailwind!
#VCV2022Go IWG 👊🏼👊🏼 pic.twitter.com/SaBhBBPqRLFebruary 5, 2022
There is soon as right and then left turn.
Swift leads Viviani through the fast corner as Evenepoel does his part to help Morkov and Jakobsen.
2km to go
Intermarche take control behind Evenepoel.
Some riders go off the road!
Riders are moving up on the left and right. Where is QuickStep?
Moschetti takes it for Trek-Segafredo.
The Italian hit the front coming out of the final corner and had the power and speed to hold off his rivals.
That was a highly-fought sprint, with positioning vital in the last two kilometres. The QuickStep team opted to have Evenepoel lead it out but Morkov and Jakobsen were too far back with the pace so high and couldn't find a way back up on the outside of the final curve.
Jakobsen tried to change his line but his rivals were ahead of him and he could only watch them sprint for victory.
Here's the moment Moschetti wins the sprint and starts his celebrations.
The Italian has always been fast but missed six months of the 2020 season after fracturing his pelvis early in the year.
😍 Things we love to see 😍@moschettiteo #VCV2022 pic.twitter.com/uk5AUEWrApFebruary 5, 2022
It was Moschetti's six career win and his first since last year's Per Sempre Alfredo race in Tuscany in March.
No wonder he was happy.
This great shot shows how much of a fight there was for the sprint.
Moschetti was perfectly placed along the barriers.
Moschetti clenched his fist in celebration.
A photo too good not to share ❤️#WeAreATeam #VCV2022 📷 @SprintCycling pic.twitter.com/YL5r2ljKQQFebruary 5, 2022
Trek-Segafredo were saddened by the sudden death of trusted mechanic just before the start of the season and Moschetti wanted to remember him.
“The last week was quite hard for our team, we lost our mechanic Pepinho and so this victory is for him. I’m pretty sure that today he was proud of all the Trek-Segafredo team today,” the Italian said as he talked about his winning sprint.
“It’s always important to win,” Moschetti said.
“The last kilometres were pretty chaotic and everyone was expecting Jakobsen, Viiviani and all these guys. But on our bus we knew that today could be good for me and the guys did a super nice job, so thanks to my teammates.
“My two teammates were involved in the crash with 1.5km to go but I went on the right and so I could follow the other guys. In the last corner I saw a gap on the left side and so I tried sprint to the end on the left side.”
Thanks to joining us for live coverage of the stage. We will back on Sunday for live coverage of the final stage to Valencia.
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