Vuelta a España: Degenkolb wins stage 4 in Córdoba

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) claimed stage 4 of the Vuelta a España from Mairena del Alcor to Córdoba after unleashing a furious sprint in the final 200 meters. The German won by several bike lengths, gauging his efforts perfectly on a day that saw a number of his sprint rivals suffer in the heat. Vicente Reynes (IAM Cycling) finished second with Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) doing enough to retain his leader’s jersey, taking in third.

Degenkolb survived the difficult terrain and the heat, and made the most of the hard work laid down by his teammates on the run into Córdoba. Giant-Shimano hit the front inside the final kilometre of the stage on a sweltering day in the saddle and when Reynes opened up his sprint for the line Degenkolb used it as the springboard to move clear. Behind him, there was little Matthews and the remaining sprinters could do, with Degenkolb finishing several bike lengths clear.

The win means that for the second year in a row Giant-Shimano have won stages in all three Grand Tours but for Degenkolb the win proved that the sprinter is back to his best.

The 25-year-old suffered badly on stage 3 but he was able to come back, with help from his team, and secure the win he was aiming for in Córdoba. The Vuelta is a race that had launched the German’s career, where he made his Grand Tour debut in 2011, and where, twelve months later he won five stages.

"I love the Vuelta a España and also the country. I love being in Spain. Yesterday was quite disappointing not holding on, it was too hard and too explosive. Today was better. I needed one or two days to adapt to the heat. My teammates were there to help me and motivate me, and it’s great to win another stage of the Vuelta.” Degenkolb said at the finish.

While the sprinters were split by the two categorised climbs in the final 60 kilometres, the overall contenders remained clustered together. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) launched an attack on the descent of the final climb but Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) all remain in contention.

How it unfolded

The stage itself was marked by the searing temperatures which peaked out at 40 degrees as the peloton made its way north. Not that the weather did anything to dissuade the early attacks with Francisco Javier Aramendia (Caja-Rural), Gert Joeaar (Cofidis), Sebastien Turgot (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar) slipping clear in the opening stages.

After 20 kilometres of racing in oven-like conditions, the foursome had an advantage of close to five minutes and as they race wound its way further north, the gap ebbed and flowed as the peloton’s main concern shifted to hydration and race management.

Orica-GreenEdge had worked tirelessly on stage 3 in setting up Matthews for both the stage win and race lead, and the Australian outfit were not about to let all their hard work be undone.

They set tempo as the race headed towards the first climb of the day and with the gap ticking downwards the main GC contenders and their teams began to surface near the front of the peloton.

Turgot was the first rider to throw in the towel as the break moved onto the first categorised climb of the stage, leaving the three remaining breakaway riders with a slender 17-second advantage over the peloton.

With Caja Rural’s jersey dangerously close to disappearing from the view of the television cameras the Spanish squad sought action and it was left to Amets Txurruka to fly the flag. The Spaniard bridged up to the survivors in no time and quickly established a lead with Engoulvent.

Despite the fresh legs, Team Sky and Movistar pace setting meant that the duo stood little chance as the race began the final 36.9-kilometre circuit, which would decide the stage.

At the back of the peloton, a number of sprinters were already struggling with Cannondale’s Peter Sagan once again in difficulty. He wasn’t the only fast man under pressure with Jens Debusschere and Yauheni Hutarovich also losing ground.

On the second category climb after 130 kilometres of racing Team Sky and Movistar again assumed control of the race with Quintana and Froome aligned to the back of their teams’ trains. Contador danced on the pedals alongside them, giving his delicate knee another test.

With the break caught, Lampre-Merida’s Winner Anacona and Orica-GreenEdge’s Adam Yates jumped clear as the peloton crested the climb. They were joined by Europcar’s Romain Sicard and Valverde. The Movistar’s motives were not entirely clear given the distance between the climb and the finish but the group managed to establish a 20-second lead before organisation and an inevitable capture was made.

Inside the final ten kilometres, the weary sprint trains that remained pushed on. It looked as though Degenkolb would go up against Matthews, even if Lotto Belisol’s Adam Hansen tried to spoil the party with a late attack. With the finish line in sight, however, Degenkolb unleashed his sprint to take the stage.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano4:02:55
2Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling
3Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge
4Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
5Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp
6Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha
7Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
10Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
11Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
12Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida
13Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
14Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka
15José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team
16George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale
17Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano
18Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica Greenedge
19Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
20Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
21Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha
22Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo
23Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha
24Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
25Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
26Kenny Elissonde (Fra)
27Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
28Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
29Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
30Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
31André Cardoso (Por) Garmin Sharp
32Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol
33Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
34Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
35Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team
36Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
37Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky
38Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
39Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
40Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
41Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team
42Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha
43Peio Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
44Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-Merida
45Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
46Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
47Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp
48Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
49David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
50Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
51Lawrence Warbasse (USA) BMC Racing Team
52Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp
53Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha
54Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team
55Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team
56Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team
57Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
58Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo
59Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
60Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:10
61Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol0:00:18
62Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:25
63Maxime Mederel (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:26
64Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:32
65Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano0:00:45
66Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Shimano0:00:53
67Adam Yates (GBr) Orica Greenedge0:01:01
68Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica Greenedge0:01:47
69Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica Greenedge
70Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:03:42
71Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
72Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka
73Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
74Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
75Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha
76Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar
77Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
78Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
79Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale
80Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka
81Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
82Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:04:53
83Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:06:15
84Matthias Krizek (Aut) Cannondale
85Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
86Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team
87Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
88Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin Sharp
89Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Shimano
90Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
91Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr0:08:31
92Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky
93Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
94Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
95Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
96Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
97Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
98Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
99Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol
100Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:10:47
101Nathan Brown (USA) Garmin Sharp
102Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
103Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol
104Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
105Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
106Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky
107Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
108Antonio Piedra Perez (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
109Johan Le Bon (Fra)
110Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol
111Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka
112Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing
113Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Team Katusha
114Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha
115Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky
116Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory Racing0:13:40
117Geoffrey Soupe (Fra)
118Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky
119Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano0:13:44
120Patrick Gretsch (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale
121Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
122Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling
123Stef Clement (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
124Karol Domagalski (Pol) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
125Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
126Martijn Keizer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
127Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
128Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling
129Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin Sharp
130Bryan Nauleau (Fra) Team Europcar
131Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing
132Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica Greenedge
133David Millar (GBr) Garmin Sharp
134Yannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar
135Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin Sharp
136Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing
137Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale
138Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
139Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-Merida
140Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida
141Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale
142Vegard Breen (Nor) Lotto Belisol
143Cédric Pineau (Fra)
144Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale
145Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team
146Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team Katusha
147Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
148Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
149Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
150Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing
151Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar
152Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale
153Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
154Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling
155Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol
156Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
157Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky
158Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
159Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale0:16:55
160Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
161Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
162Daniel Craven (Nam) Team Europcar
163Daniil Fominykh (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
164Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica Greenedge
165Pirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling
166Natnael Berhane (Eri) Team Europcar
167Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
168Dominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling
169Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
170Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
171Thibaut Pinot (Fra)
172Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
173Laurent Mangel (Fra)
174Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
175Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
176Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Belisol
177Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
178Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica Greenedge
179Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team
180Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
181Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar
182Jonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling
183Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
184Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
185Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar
186Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
187Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky
188Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka
189Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
190Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
191Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team
192Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky
193Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
194Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling
195Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra)
196Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica Greenedge
197Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
198Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr0:17:37
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Sprint 1 - Posadas, 79.8km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale4pts
2Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits2
3Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar1
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Sprint 2 - Córdoba, 127.8km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA4pts
2Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar2
3Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA1
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Sprint 3 - Córdoba, 164.7km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano25pts
2Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling20
3Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge16
4Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale14
5Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp12
6Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha10
7Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale9
8Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida8
9Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing7
10Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team6
11Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team5
12Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida4
13Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits3
14Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka2
15José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team1
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Mountain 1 - Alto de San Jerónimo, 110km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA3pts
2Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar2
3Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA1
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Mountain 2 - Alto del Catorce por ciento, 139km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-Merida5pts
2Adam Yates (GBr) Orica Greenedge3
3Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar1
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Most combative
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Team Katusha12:08:45