Ruta del Sol: Greipel outduels Hodeg to win stage 4

Andre Greipel won stage four of the Vuelta a Andalucia with a bunch sprint reminiscent of the German’s peak years.

After his Israel Start-Up Nation teammate led the peloton around the final corner, Greipel stormed past Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) to win the sprint by a couple of bike lengths.

Behind him, Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) pipped Kristoff to the line for second and third, respectively.

For Greipel, it was a result that marks a continuation of a late-career renaissance, following his victory at Trofeo Alcudia-Port d'Alcudia last week, a result that ended a run of over two years without a win.

Greipel was quick to praise his teammates at the finish, who had the best lead-out in the finale.

"Everyone was dedicated today to make it a bunch sprint. I think we really deserved the win. [His teammate] Alex Cataford did an amazing job with the other two guys to pull the breakaway back. We have shown again with Israel Start-Up Nation that we have a really good, strong lead-out train with really experienced riders, especially Daryl Impey and Rick Zabel."

What made this victory so impressive for Greipel was the standard of the opposition he had to overcome. Whereas Kristoff was the only big name he had to overcome to take victory at Trofeo Alcudia-Port d'Alcudia, this time he not only stormed past the Norwegian but also defeated former world champion Pedersen as well as Deceuninck-QuickStep's Hodeg, positioning himself better in the twisty finale and comfortably holding off their late surges.

Asked whether he can repeat this victory on tomorrow's stage, Greipel was doubtful, citing a late climb as a potential pitfall for him and the bunch sprinters.

"Tomorrow it's going to be a really tough finish, with a climb where the top is just 5km away from the finish.  So it's going to be difficult, but we will see what happens tomorrow."

Those climbs may well be enough to prevent a bunch sprint, but shouldn't trouble Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) as the overall leader, who maintained his leading margin of twenty seconds over Antwan Tolhoek (Jumbo-Visma) today by finishing safely in the bunch.

How it unfolded

The start of the fourth stage of the Vuelta a Andalucia was delayed by the riders protesting the safety conditions of the race. So far this week they have been sent on gravel descents, long transitions and pothole-ridden roads, and the riders expressed their dissatisfaction with a unified voice to the organisers and the UCI.

Mark Cavendish was among the day's non-starters. The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider did not finish yesterday's stage and was second-to-last the day before, and it was confirmed by a team spokesman that he was suffering from stomach problems.

He'll have been disappointed not to have been fit enough for this stage, given how its flat, simple parcours offered the first chance for a bunch sprint.

Once racing did get underway after the protest, a seven-man break went clear: Aaron Van Poucke, Robbe Ghys (both Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Benjamin Perry (Astana-Premier Tech), Isaac Canton, Ander Okamika (both Burgos-BH), Jordi Lopez (Equipo Kern Pharma) and Luis Angel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

As the leader of the King of the Mountains classification, Maté made sure to take maximum points over the Alto de Baul, the day's only classified climb that was tackled towards the beginning of the stage.

Determined to guarantee a bunch sprint, the likes of Deceuninck-QuickStep, Israel-StartUp Nation and Trek-Segafredo worked at the front of the peloton to keep the break within not much more than two minutes.

Eager to boost their chances of survival, Perry and Lopez attacked their fellow escapees on a short descent 42km from the finish but were soon brought back.

Canton tried something similar at 29km from the finish with a solo attack, but he too was swallowed up a few moments later.

The gap between the peloton and the break dropped to under one minute for the first time at 21 km from the finish, and once it had dropped further to half a minute six kilometres later, Canton and Van Poucke broke clear from the rest of the break.

The others sat up and allowed themselves to be caught, apart from Van Poucke's teammate Ghys, who resiliently battled to join the leading duo. He joined them 11km from the finish, at which point their advantage was about 25 seconds.

Despite some initial hostile gestures when Ghys first joined them, the trio proceeded to work well together and made the bunch work to complete the catch.

They still had around 20 seconds at 4.5km from the line, when Canton attacked the others, who were by now visibly fatigued. Canton a couple more kilometres before he too was brought back, thus ensuring the expected bunch sprint would decide the stage.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation 4:37:12
2Alvaro Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
4Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
5Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
6Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation
7Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
8Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
9Alexander Konychev (Ita) Team BikeExchange
10Tobias Bayer (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix
11Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
12Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
13Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
14Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
15Marco Canola (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
16Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team
17Robert Stannard (Aus) Team BikeExchange
18Gleb Brussenskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
19Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team
20Carlos Canal Blanco (Spa) Burgos-BH
21Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team BikeExchange
22Timo Roosen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
23Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Jumbo-Visma
24Carlos Rodriguez Cano (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
25José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
26Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
27Julen Amezqueta Moreno (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
28Rune Herregodts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
29Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
30Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
31Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
32Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH
33Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
34Urko Berrade Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:00:08
35James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
36Francisco Galvan Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
37Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
38Sander De Pestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
39Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH
40Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
41Jack Bauer (NZl) Team BikeExchange
42Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
43Denis Nekrasov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
44Jonas Gregaard (Den) Astana-Premier Tech
45Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Team BikeExchange
46Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo
47Dmitrii Strakhov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
48Abner González Rivera (PuR) Movistar Team
49Yuriy Natarov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
50Daryl Impey (RSA) Israel Start-up Nation
51Shane Archbold (NZl) Deceuninck-QuickStep
52Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
53Alvaro Cuadros Morata (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
54Owen Geleijn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
55Edward Anderson (USA) Alpecin-Fenix
56Mathias Vacek (Cze) Gazprom-RusVelo
57Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
58Michel Ries (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
59Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:14
60Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:17
61Brent Bookwalter (USA) Team BikeExchange
62Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:00:20
63Gotzon Martin Sanz (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:28
64Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
65Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:29
66Unai Cuadrado Ruiz De Gauna (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
67Finn Fisher-Black (NZl) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:31
68Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Gazprom-RusVelo
69Owain Doull (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:36
70Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:43
71Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:47
72Stijn Steels (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:49
73Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation 0:00:55
74Jokin Aranburu Arruti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:59
75Antonio Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:05
76Juri Hollmann (Ger) Movistar Team 0:01:09
77Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
78Ander Okamika Bengoetxea (Spa) Burgos-BH
79Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
80Julian Mertens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
81Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
82Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
83Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
84Scott Thwaites (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix
85Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Burgos-BH
86Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
87Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Ineos Grenadiers
88Leonardo Basso (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
89Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:22
90Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
91Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start-up Nation 0:01:54
92Sebastian Mora Vedri (Spa) Movistar Team
93Héctor Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team
94Hector Saez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
95Sergei Chernetskii (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
96Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
97Ian Garrison (USA) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:59
98Isaac Canton Serrano (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:02:02
99Jaime Castrillo Zapater (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:02:19
100Benjamin Perry (Can) Astana-Premier Tech 0:03:03
101Jordi Lopez Caravaca (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
102Robbe Ghys (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:04:10
103Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
104Aaron Van Poucke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:04:22
Row 104 - Cell 0 Jose Felix Parra Cuerda (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
Row 105 - Cell 0 Edward Planckaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
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General classification after stage 4
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team 18:39:43
2Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:20
3Julen Amezqueta Moreno (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:00:55
4Carlos Rodriguez Cano (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:40
5Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:47
6Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:01:51
7James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-up Nation 0:01:58
8Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:02:13
9Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:02:20
10Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:02:48
11Robert Stannard (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:02:49
12Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:02:53
13Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:03
14Rune Herregodts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
15Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:03:17
16Jonas Gregaard (Den) Astana-Premier Tech 0:03:21
17Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:50
18Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:51
19Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Team BikeExchange 0:04:12
20José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:54
21Denis Nekrasov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:05:01
22Daryl Impey (RSA) Israel Start-up Nation 0:05:05
23Antonio Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:05:21
24Finn Fisher-Black (NZl) Jumbo-Visma 0:05:22
25Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:05:27
26Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team BikeExchange 0:05:32
27Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:05:51
28Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:07:58
29Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Ineos Grenadiers 0:09:27
30Ander Okamika Bengoetxea (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:09:29
31Carlos Canal Blanco (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:09:30
32Gotzon Martin Sanz (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:10:04
33Michel Ries (Lux) Trek-Segafredo 0:10:18
34Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:10:21
35Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:11:37
36Urko Berrade Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:12:08
37Jack Bauer (NZl) Team BikeExchange 0:13:07
38Héctor Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team 0:13:12
39Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:13:35
40Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Jumbo-Visma 0:13:47
41Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:14:28
42Dmitrii Strakhov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:14:45
43Stijn Steels (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:15:24
44Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:15:44
45Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:16:09
46Yuriy Natarov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:16:53
47Jordi Lopez Caravaca (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:17:12
48Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation 0:18:56
49Julian Mertens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:18:59
50Unai Cuadrado Ruiz De Gauna (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:19:14
51Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:20:17
52Sergei Chernetskii (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:20:28
53Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation 0:20:29
54Timo Roosen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:21:02
55Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:22:47
56Alvaro Cuadros Morata (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:23:51
57Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix 0:24:19
58Brent Bookwalter (USA) Team BikeExchange 0:24:52
59Juri Hollmann (Ger) Movistar Team 0:24:59
60Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:25:18
61Owain Doull (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:26:29
62Abner González Rivera (PuR) Movistar Team 0:26:34
63Edward Anderson (USA) Alpecin-Fenix 0:27:10
64Marco Canola (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:29:15
65Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:29:47
66Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start-up Nation 0:30:00
67Mathias Vacek (Cze) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:30:03
68Isaac Canton Serrano (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:30:11
69Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:30:21
70Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:31:21
71Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:31:33
72Gleb Brussenskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:33:59
73Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:34:06
74Shane Archbold (NZl) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:34:41
75Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 0:35:25
76Benjamin Perry (Can) Astana-Premier Tech 0:35:52
77Alexander Konychev (Ita) Team BikeExchange 0:36:35
78Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo 0:37:53
79Sander De Pestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:41:58
80Tobias Bayer (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix 0:42:07
81André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation 0:42:10
82Aaron Van Poucke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:42:14
83Robbe Ghys (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:43:46
84Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:44:07
85Jokin Aranburu Arruti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:44:16
86Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:44:41
87Scott Thwaites (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix 0:44:48
88Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:45:14
89Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation 0:46:19
90Hector Saez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:47:31
91Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo 0:47:33
92Owen Geleijn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:48:31
93Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:48:59
94Alvaro Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-QuickStep
95Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:49:26
96Francisco Galvan Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:49:40
97Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:50:01
98Sebastian Mora Vedri (Spa) Movistar Team 0:51:07
99Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:52:12
100Leonardo Basso (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:54:07
101Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:56:17
102Ian Garrison (USA) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:58:34
103Jaime Castrillo Zapater (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:59:44
104Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates 1:01:12

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