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Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2017: Stage 4

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Hello and welcome to the action. As you may have seen, today's stage has been shortened by 58km due to snow at the original start in the heart of the Pyrenees. 

For now the peloton is lined out on the fast road down the valley, with no escapes going clear.

111km remaining from 136km

 

This is the updated stage profile, with the new start (salida real) indicated 58km down the original route.

As you can see the rolling profile suits a breakaway group but the sprinters and especially Andre Greipel of Lotto Soudal may fancy his chances.

We are starting to see some serious attacks now. A first group is pulled back but a second 10-rider move has opened a gap.

However the peloton is refusing to let them go away.

The peloton has eased and seems to have had a change of heart. The gap is up to 1:45.

We've listed the five riders in the break in our situation column. Check it out for their teams and the updated time gap to the peloton.   

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) is in the main peloton with his teammates helping control the break so they do not gain too much time.  

This images shows van Garderen in the leader's white and green leader's jersey on the podium after stage 3. 

85km remaining from 136km

It will be interesting to see how the break and the peloton handle the first climb of the day: the Alt del Pubill (3rd cat) after the fast descent from the Pyrenees.

While one peloton is racing in Spain, another is in action at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali in Italy and riders are also in Belgium for tomorrow's very important E3 Harelbeke race on the cobbles.  

The 2.7km climb has seen the peloton cut the gap to the break to 2:40, with Osorio first over the top.  

To read about the morning road race stage at the Coppi e Bartali and see a gallery of images, click here.

To read about yesterday's Volta a Catalunya stage and see the action via photo gallery, click here. 

The peloton is keeping the five-rider attack under control. the gap is down to 2:30.

The sun is out on the race now as they head towards the hills behind Barcelona. 

The break is working together smoothly but the gap is coming down as BMC and Lotto Soudal lead the peloton.   

The peloton is closing in, with the gap down to 1:40. There are two climbs to come but Lotto Soudal seem confident that Greipel can handle them.  

Our man Alasdair Fotheringham is at the finish and sent us some key info on the finale. It seems to suit Greipel's power. 

Van Garderen spoke briefly before the start of the stage. He knows he faces a fight to win the Volta a Catalunya.

50km remaining from 136km

Thomas De Gendt is doing some big licks on the front for Greipel. 

The peloton is playing cat and mouse with the break. The road is climbing again as they approach the 40km to go point. 

The race is 5km from the intermediate sprint point. The pace is high now, with both the break and peloton in a tussle.

40km remaining from 136km

The break makes it to the intermediate sprint in Calaf on a downhill section of road. 

Indeed the speed has split the break, forcing Osorio to chase hard.

36km remaining from 136km

Crash!!!

Zakarin is down and in pain. It could be his collarbone. 

Several Lotto Soudal and Cannondale riders are involved. 

Most of the peloton avoided the crash and are back riding. Zakarin is back on his bike and riding again but it is unclear how much pain he is.  

He was perhaps winded rather than any other injury. 

The crash seemed to have been caused by riders touching after a roundabout split the peloton and then they came back together.

The consequence of the crash is that the GC teams are all trying to protect their leaders.

25km remaining from 136km

Orica-Scott are also protecting Adam Yates.

Here we go. The left turn lines out the peloton.

The speed means the break has been quickly swept up even if Osorio tries to stay clear.

20km remaining from 136km

Osorio has been caught as the speed rises again. 

It will be fascinating to see who survives the climb and fights for stage victory.

Attack. Astana make a move!

14km remaining from 136km

Cataldo drops back but the peloton is chasing Fuglsang. He leads by just 50 metres.

Team Sky are up front chasing behind Orica-Scott and Movistar.

The descent will be fast and furious for the next 10km. 

Bardet attacks! And Dan Martin follows him.

Here comes Contador, with Thomas. The race has exploded! 

Van Garderen is in the front selection but its hard to get away as the climb eases. 

The peloton is lined out with small gaps between riders.

Marc Soler of Movistar kicks to off now. He's in the best young rider's white jersey. 

12km remaining from 136km

The riders are passing some wind turbines and descending like mad men.

This is a stunning descent to watch but the riders need nerves of steel to avoid touching their brakes. 

10km remaining from 136km

Valverde is working hard with Soler to try and gain as much time as he can.

Froome is logically not working to defend Thomas' overall hopes.

7km remaining from 136km

Gaudu is the 20 year-old neo-pro but is showing his talents today.

4km remaining from 136km

Bouhanni is there, wearing his black helmet. 

3km remaining from 136km

2km remaining from 136km

Movistar are working to set up Valverde and Rojas.

500m to go. 

Cimolai leads it out but Bouhanni was on his wheel and comes past him with a perfectly-timed sprint.  

That was a good sprint from the Frenchman but an even better rider on the aggressive and hilly finale. 

Daryl Impey takes third for Orica-Scott. 

Alex Edmondson was fourth for Orica-Scott.

Nacer Bouhanni was happy to have won the sprint.

The replays show that Bouhanni won it by more than a bike length. 

There are no changes in the overall standings, with van Garderen still in the leader's jersey.

Van Garderen leads teammate Samuel Sanchez by 41 seconds, with Geraint Thomas third at 44 seconds, Alejandro Valverde fourth at 45 and Chris Froome fifth at 49 seconds. 

This is the full top ten for the stage:

General Classification after stage 4:

Watching the replays of the finish, it seems that Contador was lucky that a FDJ rider filled the gap between the front group and his wheel. He could have risked losing a few seconds.   

Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha crashed in the finale but he chased, got back on and didn't lose any time today.

This was the stage 1 sprint that Bouhanni was referring to. Today he got his revenge after a thrilling finale.

For a full report, results and photo gallery fro today stage, click here.

Thanks for joining us for the live coverage from the shortened stage. 

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