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Vuelta a Burgos stage 4 - Live coverage


Alright. Welcome to our live coverage from stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos. The sun is out, it's another gloriously hot day and we've got another day for the sprinters. Sit back and enjoy 163km from Bodegas Nabal to Roa de Duero.

We're about 30 minutes from roll out but already most of the riders have signed on ahead of the stage. Face mask, social distancing, you get the drill. Our man Alasdair Fotheringham is in the distance waiting to interview a rider from UAE Team Emirates. Further in the background, there's a pigeon.

Yesterday Remco Evenepoel dished out a mountain masterclass,  won the stage and took the overall lead in the race with two days to go. It's  his race to lose now and we'll talk more about him later. Here's how things stand at present on GC.

General classification after stage 3
1 Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep 11:35:16
2 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:18
3 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:00:32
4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:35
5 João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:00:45
6 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Team Ineos 0:00:52
7 Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:52
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:03
9 David De la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:33
10 Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:35

You can read all about yesterday's thrilling action here. It was actually a pretty decent race with an early break almost surviving, some cross wind action and a host of favourites cracking on the final ascent. 

A bit of none-race news this morning is that Adam Yates is weighing up contract offers from both Team Ineos and Mitchelton-Scott. Here's the story. One would have to think that Ineos were offering him a lot of money to move and join Bernal's mountain train and race against his brother but the offer is genuine and he's still not re-signed with Mitchelton, so watch this space. 

Here is today's stage profile. As you can see it's almost entirely flat but there is a short kick to the line in closing stages, so it's not an easy one for the sprinters. They're never easy but you know what I'm getting at.

Here is today's stage profile. As you can see it's almost entirely flat but there is a short kick to the line in closing stages, so it's not an easy one for the sprinters. They're never easy but you know what I'm getting at. (Image credit: Vuelta a Burgos)

Tomorrow is August 1, which means that unless you're Froome, and the biggest rider in the sport, you can announce your transfer to another team. Not sure we'll see a huge amount of activity on a Saturday, especially with so much racing happening, but here's an overview of the transfer situation in the men's WorldTour peloton. We also look at how some bike brands are changing teams, so you can find out who will be riding Bianchi and what Sunweb are going to be on in 2020.

Obviously, looking forward to Ineos announcing every single rider that they're not renewing for 2021. 

Oh and last night the UCI confirmed to CN that they had thrown out Rohan Dennis' case.  He wanted financial compensation after walking out on his team mid-Tour de France, never racing for them again, and then not riding his sponsored bike during the World Championships. Here's that story. Dennis can still take his case to CAS.

Don't forget, if you want to stream this race, we've put together this handy little guide.

Back to this race and riders are now in the neutralized zone and stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos is about to start.

Some news from Norway, Carl Fredrik Hagen has signed with Israel Start-Up Nation. That's a good signing, the Norwegian is a decent climber, and will be able to assist Froome in the  Tour de France mountains next year. Very surprised to see Lotto Soudal let him go.

We've completed the neutralized zone in the race, by the way, but still no major action off the front of the race. 

Still no major action from the peloton. From the comfort of the CN blimp we've seen a few attacks but nothing has stuck. While we've had no action the CN blimp has been fitted some improvements. Nothing major, but we've finally had air con installed and there's a  cup holder. Thank you Future Publishing. 

Peter Sagan has spoken about his first race back. The former world champ is racing Strade Bianche on Saturday:

“It will be a short but very intense season, I think, with my programme,” Sagan said in a video interview to mark the presentation of the revised 2020 Giro d’Italia route.

“I will have to be ready for the Tour and the Giro, so I want to start my season and grow gradually."

Just under 40km into the race and we finally have a break. Willie Smit, Riccardo Verza, Alejandro Ropero Molina, Diego Pablo Sevilla, Txomin Juaristi andDamiano Cima are all in the move and they have four minutes on the main field.

Evenepoel's Quickstep heavies are on the front and setting the pace but they don't look too bothered at this point. We've still got around 120km to go and the Belgian team will be looking to set up Sam Bennett for the win later on in the race. The Irishman is desperate for a win.

Gaviria already has a win to his name and despite losing three teammates to the earlier COVID-19 scare he's actually in a great position.  He and UAE don't need to do a tap of work on the front because they can point to the fact that  they have half a team, and that they have a win in the race. It's on Bennett's team and Groupama for Demare to organise a chase today. Will we see Bahrain McLaren work for Cavendish?   

4'12 now for the leaders, who continue to push on in the heat. Thankless task for them really, until the TV cameras turn on, but they're making a decent race of it so far. Still QuickStep on the front at the moment setting the pace.

3:20 now the  gap to the  break with the Kometa riders in the front group  currently swapping turns. Still over 100km to go in the stage and no major news to report from back in the peloton.

In other news, Alberto Contador's record at Everesting has been broken. Ronan McLaughlin  took a staggering 23 mins off the Spaniard's time and now holds the new record. Impressive stuff from the Irishman. He did it for charity, so if you're looking for a good deed to balance out how mean you've been today, go here and donate. It's for a good cause.

It's also the women's Strade Bianche this weekend and all the big names are racing. You can find our expert preview from Kirsten Frattini, right here.

The gap between the break and the peloton continues to hover at around 3'20 at the moment. 

As for today's finale, Alasdair Fotheringham reports that it's rolling and fast in last 10 kilometres on goodish, exposed roads (not much wind so don't think there will be echelons) . Then the last two kilometres have a steady, very gentle downhill and swing right at a roundabout onto a flatter chunk. But then in the last kilometre it's fiddly, a very sharp uphill 160 degree right-hand bend then onto a three-four percent with two more big corners before easing out about 500 metres to go. Then it S-bends downhill (not that steep) before a lefthand bend sees it flatten out with 200 metres to go for short finishing straight. So it will be a much less straightforward sprint than on stage 2.

Roughly 90km to go and the Kometa trio in the break continue to set the pace with the gap holding at just over three minutes.

The gap is down to 2'33 now with 95km to race. FDJ and Bahrain have started to pull on the front, so perhaps we'll be treated to a Cavendish sprint today. Haller and Haussler are here to perform leadout duties.

Seems our blimp is malfunctioning and we have in fact got 60k to go and the gap is currently at 2'09 as we see the peloton head through the feedzone. It's a hot one though, with temperatures over  38 degrees.  

We looked at the women's preview for Strade Bianche but on the men's side, here's a piece on 8 riders to watch.

55km to go and the gap is holding at 2'15 as we see the race snake through another sleep Spanish village. The main field have lined out but the pace is comfortable as FDJ position themselves on the front. 

The three Kometa riders continue to drive the pace at the  head of the break and they're doing a great job. Always a fan of small teams chucking everyone into a break. Back in the bunch we can see Chaves tapping out a gentle pace. He looked good yesterday, despite fading in the finish, to take fourth on the stage. 

And an injection of pace see the break find a few more seconds with the gap now out to 2'33 with 51km to go. Simon Yates is also at the back of the bunch and the mood is pretty chill as we see the full quota of FDJ  riders move to the  front.

Carapaz has  gone back to the cars for a moment and he has a teammate with him. He also faltered on the final climb during stage 3 but his main target, the Giro, is still some weeks away. The Ineos rider has plenty of time.

Bahrain are lined out on the front now and it really does look like they're working for Cavendish today. Technical finish but Cavendish has so much experience that he won't be put off by that.

43km to go and the gap holds at 2'06 as the Kometa team car comes up the break and hands out some fresh bidons.

We've just dipped inside the final 40km of racing on today's stage and the gap remains at just over two minutes. Flat, long roads, the bunch can see the break in the distance. 

The bunch race through the finish for the first of two times. The gap to the leaders at 1'49 with 32km to go. 

Smit now drops back to the car and picks up a fresh set of bottles. He attacked towards the finale on stage 1, too.

We can see Evenepoel near the front, just keeping out of trouble and following his teammates as Smit and one of the Kometa rides sit up with 31km to go. That leaves us with just three leaders.

NTT have joined the party at the front of the peloton. Lets not forget that Nizzolo is here.

Onto a short rise and the three remaining leaders are all out of the saddle but they  continue to lose time.

Inside the final 25km now and the  gap continues to steadily come down. It's just 1'19  and it looks like the break will be caught around 12km from the finish at this rate.

NTT just have one rider on the front but Astana have also joined the fun. No sign of QuickStep, who  set the pace for the first half of the day but then sat up. UAE, as we mentioned earlier, have also been relatively quiet today. 

Demare, second in the only other sprint in the race so far, has his entire team on the front and controlling the peloton but there's more and more interest from Astana too. They're working for Aranburu, who was fourth in the same sprint.

The three leaders are attacking each  other as they know at the game is up.  One  rider has gone clear with 19km to go. It's Sevilla, who was also on the attack on stage 1.

The Kometa rider only has 30 seconds but he still looks fresh, despite the heat out there.

The  Kometa rider has found a  few more seconds and he's pushed his advantage back out to 40 seconds. 18km to go.

Sevilla has been joined by a teammate so we're back with two Kometa riders at the front of the race but the  bunch are closing. The gap is 12 seconds with 15km to go.

Through another small village and these roads are quite technical and small. That'll suit the two leaders who are able to hold their gap at 15 seconds with 13km to go.

12.1km to go and the two leaders have been caught. The bunch are started to fight for position now as we see more and more leadout trains move up to the front. Jumbo Visma are there,  I presume to keep G Bennett out of trouble.

Still no sign of the other Bennett and QuickStep but they always tend to leave it late. 

Bora are there, FDJ once more too. 10,6km to go.

The road widens again and that gives other teams the chance to move up but one rider, almost takes it too far and rides into the wall. And now there's a crash. This looks messy.

Galvan is down but so are three or four riders. He' back on  his feet but De La Cruz was involved too. He's on his feet  as well but needs  a new bike.

8.9km to go and Bahrain are being squeezed out a bit at the moment. There's still loads of time though.

7km to go and still no sign from either QuickStep or UAE as some of the GC teams continue to keep their leaders near the front. Here come Bahrain McLaren.

Just over 5km to go as we head to another bunch sprint at the Vuelta a Burgos.

Remember, it's a long flat run-in for now until the final couple of kms, at which point it starts to become increasingly technical. 3.4km to go!

QuickStep are there. Just waiting to pounce as we see Bennett on the wheels.

3.1km to go and now Bora put the hammer down. 

FDJ respond. They're sprinting for position. 2.2km to go.

FDJ take control and Demare is really well placed. 1.3km to go.

That looked dangerous, an FDJ ride was cut up. Corner, and then a crash.

It looks like Gaviria is down and Sam Bennett has attacked .

They took a corner too fast and Bennett is well clear of the bunch.

Win Bennett.

Demare takes second but he and the rest of the bunch are way back. That's a huge win for Bennett. The last 1km was a mess though. Bennett hit the front early, there was a crash and then the next time we saw the Irishman he was clear of the field.

Bennett can't stand up, he's exhausted but we've not seen a replay of the crash  yet. It totally changed the sprint. 

An FDJ rider took the corner and just lost his front wheel.  That sparked chaos and Bennett jumped clear once he realised that there was a fall and that he  was right at the front of the race. You're not going to wait when you're in that position. We're just waiting on clarification on the top-10.

Bennett, Demare, Nizzolo, Cimolai in fourth.

Evenepoel will hold his race lead as the fall took place in the finale and he was  in the main field. He might lose a few seconds to his teammate Bennett, who  was five seconds clear at the line.

Morkov was also in that crash with the FDJ rider. We'd need a third look at it before making a call on it.

In his post race chit chat Bennett says he needed that win. He hadn't won since January when he was in  Australia.

Here are you  top-10s

1 Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-Quickstep 3:51:19
2 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:04
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
4 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-Up Nation
5 Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Bingoal WB
6 Biniam Hailu (Eri) Nippo Delko Provence 
7 Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8 Martin Laas (Est) Bora-Hansgrohe
9 Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
10 Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:07

General classification after stage 4

1 Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep 15:26:47
2 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:18
3 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:00:32
4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:35
5 João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:00:45
6 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Team Ineos 0:00:52
7 Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:01:02
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:13
9 David De la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:42
10 Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:45

Here's our brief report from today's stage.

And here's this week's CN podcast.

Thanks for joining  us today. Our  full results, report and images are all here.

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