Skip to main content

Live coverage

Vuelta a Espana 2016: Stage 4


Welcome to live coverage of stage 4 of the Vuelta a Espana from Betanzos to San Andrés de Teixido.


Cyclingnews Vuelta a España hub page
Stage 3 report: Geniez wins on Mirador de Ezaro
2016 Vuelta a España race preview
2016 Vuelta a España race start list
Ten summit finishes for Vuelta a Espana in 2016
2016 Vuelta a España preview podcast


Good afternoon, it's racing time again and the teams and riders have descended on the medieval city of Betanzos as the race continues its way along the north western coast of Spain. 

We're only a few days into the 2016 Vuelta a Espana but yesterday saw a big shake-up of the overall classification with Alberto Contador and Steven Kruijswijk losing time while Ruben Fernandez moved into the overall lead. This is how the top 10 looks ahead of the start.


1 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team 9:16:07
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:07
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:11
4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange 0:00:17
5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
6 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:00:46
7 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:47
8 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:00:51
9 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:58
10 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:01


While we saw the big GC names go up against each other yesterday it was Alexandre Geniez that stole the show with his breakaway victory. Geniez was part of the early break and just held on for his second career stage win at the Vuelta a Espana. Want to re-live yesterday's stage? Watch it here


Yesterday saw our first abandon of the race with Warren Barguil dropping out due to sinusitis. It looked like Miguel Angel Lopez might be about to follow him when he suffered a spectacular crash in the final kilometres. Despite breaking three of his teeth, the Colombian will start today. Read the full story here


#TeamIAM #LV2016 Best climber jersey by proxy but red bib won by his own legs

A battered and bruised Lopez talks to the press ahead of today's stage. 



There are 11 points available in the mountains classification today. Current classification leader Geniez is on 10 points, so we can expect to see him try and wrap up some points early on to secure that jersey for another day. This is how things stand right now. 


1 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ 10 pts
2 Simon Pellaud (Swi) IAM Cycling 4
3 Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step 4
4 Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ 3
5 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team 2
6 Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 18 2
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 1
8 Brian Nauleau (Fra) Direct Energie 1


Wiggins to ride the @TourofBritain after Olympic success.

@Cyclingnewsfeed Tue, 23rd Aug 2016 11:02:58

Before the riders set of, this is what they're going to face today, two third cat climbs and a second cat summit finish. 



And the riders are on their way. They've got a 7.7km neutral section before the racing proper gets going. 


Ruben Fernandez with teammate Alejandro Valverde at the start of today's stage. 



Hugh Carthy and his shiny Fuji Transonic ready for today's uphill finish: "This could be a good day for me" #LV2016

@CajaRural_RGA Tue, 23rd Aug 2016 11:22:23

Carthy has had a rocky start to his debut Vuelta a Espana, losing 14 minutes yesterday, but the longer climb to the finish should be much better for his skill set. Riders such as Contador will be hoping to fair better on this finish as well. 


We have racing proper now with 197 riders signing on today. Warren Barguil is still the only rider to leave the race thus far. 


The attacks are already flying and there's a rider from BMC trying to g up the road. He'll want some company if he wants to make it stick. 


The attack wasn't successful and it's all back together. The pace is extremely high as lots of teams look to get into a move, perhaps spurred on by the success of Geniez yesterday. 


Almost 10km ridden and still no successful breakaway. 


Eurosport journalist Laura Meseguer reporting that Alberto Contador was caught out by dehydration yesterday. He said that this morning that he 'cannot let it happen again.'


@SadhbhOS I thought Astana might try to salvage their Vuelta today, maybe Luis Leon Sanchez or Dario Cataldo for stage 4

@tomdouglas16 Tue, 23rd Aug 2016 11:31:39

In other news, Etixx-QuickStep has announced that they have signed Eros Capecchi who currently rides for Astana. He's also a former Movistar rider. 


148km remaining from 163km

Back in the race and we've got a group of 9 trying to go clear, we'll get those names as soon as we can. 


Never mind, the peloton was clearly not happy with that collection of riders and they've brought them back almost immediately. 


Making the break in the opening week of a Grand Tour is always a game of luck.There are always jersey's on the line and plenty of teams interested in trying to get them for at least a day. riders are also feeling a little more sprightly and therefore more willing to work a bit harder at the start to control things. As the race progresses, we'll see the breakaways going much quicker on many of the stages. 


As the riders begin the first climb of the day the Alto Da Serra Capela, we have 18 riders trying their luck off the front. They've got a growing gap now, could this be the one?


The answer to that appears to be no as the peloton keeps the 18-man group at close quarters. Movistar is not happy to let just any old move get up the road. 


139km remaining from 163km

It has been a very fast start to the day and it is taking its toll on some of the riders who are being dropped on the Alto da Serra Capela.


Good news for the riders today is that it is a little cooler than it has been in the past couple of days. The temperature is in the mid-20s for the moment.


Bartosz Huzarski racing a GT means huge promotion for cycling in Poland. The man leaves his heart on the road & then talks about it. #LV2016

@8aldwin Tue, 23rd Aug 2016 12:04:54

We now have a group of 12 riders attempting to snap the elastic. Will Movistar be happy with this one?


A group of five has bridged over to that group out front, one of them is Dani Moreno. Movistar might be happy with this but Astana aren't and it's now the team in light blue that is setting the pace at the front of the bunch. 


The effort of Astana has brought it all back together and we're back to square one. The group is about to crest the Alto da Serra Capela after almost an hour of racing.


Here is one of the large groups that tried to break free in the opening kilometres of this stage. 



129km remaining from 163km

Another big group goes clear with Ruben Fernandez among their number. That is too dangerous for anyone to let that go and it is quickly brought back. Still plenty of action as the breakaway tries to go clear. 


We're over first of three ranked climbs of #LV2016: Alto da Serra Capela. Non-stop action at head of affairs as break attempts to establish.

@Ride_Argyle Tue, 23rd Aug 2016 12:21:53

Movistar DS Jose Luis Arrieta spoke to the race website. He said that the team has to balance defending the jersey and thinking about the long game. 


"Ruben (Fernandez) is not an unknown rider. He's been a classy rider since the junior ranks and did quite well with Caja Rural before joining us. He did a lot of good work to help our leaders but this season he already showed his worth by finishing 6th in the Tour Down Under and in Poland. Yesterday in the finale, he was simply the stronger. Of course, we have to defend the red jersey but in the same time we must not forget that there's a long way to go to Madrid. We cannot afford to wear out the team. Today's finale is more difficult than it looks on paper."


Miguel Ángel Lopez broke three teeth yesterday, Luis Ángel Maté lost five; punctured before Ézaro 'wall', had to swap 32-sprocket for 27.

Finally it looks like we've got our move of the day with 19 men jumping off the front. No Fernandez in it this time. These are the riders in the breakaway: Darwin Atapuma (BMC), Andrey Zeits. (Astana), Nikias Arndt (Giant Alpecin), Thomas Se Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep), Ben King (Cannondale-Drapac), Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac), Nathan Haas (Dimension Data), Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data), Larry Warbasse (IAM Cycling), Marcel Wyss (IAM Cycling), Tsgabu Grmay. (Lampre Merida), Stéphane Rossetto. (Cofidis), Cesare Benedetti (Bora Argon 18), Scott Thwaites (Bora Argon 18), Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural), Jaime Roson (Caja Rural), 213 Lilian Celmejane. (Direct Energie).


We can now add Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin), Axel D0mont (AG2R La Mondiale) and Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo) to that group out front, making it 21 riders. 


111km remaining from 163km

The 21 have established a lead of 1:48 over the peloton as they ride towards the base of the second of the day's classified climbs, the category 3 Alto Monte Caxado.

The break hits the lower slopes of the Alto Monte Caxado (7.3 km of climbing at an average gradient of 4.5%) and the buffer over the peloton has edged out beyond the two-minute mark.


Federico Zurlo (Lampre-Merida), meanwhile, has abandoned the Vuelta a Espana. The 22-year-old Italian was riding the first Grand Tour of his career.


104km remaining from 163km

The 21 escapees continue to nudge their advantage as they approach the upper reaches of Monte Caxado. The gap now stands at 2:30, which means that Darwin Atapuma (BMC) - who was 1:35 down on Fernandez on GC after yesterday's stage - is the virtual race leader.


101km remaining from 163km

The break crests the summit of the climb with a lead of 2:35 over the peloton, which is being led by the Movistar team of red jersey Ruben Fernandez.


De Gendt led over the summit of Monte Caxado, incidentally, and he picks up another three points towards the king of the mountains classification. Alex Domont was second to the top, ahead of Angel Madrazo.


97km remaining from 163km

There is no particular intensity to Movistar's chase for the time being, and the break's advantage stretches out to 3:25.


91km remaining from 163km

A break of this size can sometimes be a rather unwieldy entity, but the 21 leaders appear to be working smoothly together for the time being, and they nudge their lead out a little further, to 3:35.


The escapees have reached the base of the descent of Monte Caxado and are now on a short, uncategorised climb. Cannondale duo Ben King and Pierre Rolland set a steady tempo on the front.


83km remaining from 163km

With such a spread of teams represented in the break, Movistar have no allies of circumstance to help with the chase in the main peloton. The gap is holding steady at around the 2:45 mark.


79km remaining from 163km

The gap is holding station at around 3:30 as the leaders finish that descent.

The lead group is now just 20 riders with Arndt now back in the peloton. As a sprinter, it was always going to be tough for Arndt to stay up there.


As the riders head towards the feed zone, the pace knocks off a little bit and the gap is growing out past four minutes. Movistar with most of their team up front and Sky sitting right behind them. 


70km remaining from 163km

As a teenager, my boss used to tell me never to go anywhere empty handed and Castroviejo has taken that piece of advice today. He's been forced to change his bike but also took the opportunity to collect a few bidons for his teammates. 

Cannondale-Drapac has two riders in the break today. They've posted this photo of the inside of their musettes. Ice in tights very common at the Vuelta. 



The riders are almost at the 100km mark in today's stage with 67km still to run. They've got that one final classified up to the finish to contend with. The 4km ascent isn't too steep but it is very narrow and exposed meaning that we could have a bit of wind at the finish. 


The advantage over the peloton is now almost up to five minutes. It's normal for this to happen around the feed zone as riders inspect the contents of their musettes and try and take on as much sustenance as they can. The gap is likely to stay how it is for another 10km or so before the peloton begin picking up the pace again. 


Contador says his Vuelta a Espana hopes are not over even at 1:31 on GC #LV2016

@Cyclingnewsfeed Tue, 23rd Aug 2016 13:52:35

Esteban Chaves is having a good race so far and sits up in forth place overall. His DS Neil Stephens is happy with the Colombian's performance until now.


"I expected Esteban to be around the other GC contenders and that's where he was, and even a little bit better than I expected with Valverde and Froome. I'm not surprised to see these riders up there early in the Vuelta, you don't lose the form you had in the Tour or the Olympics. Today is a hill finish again, it's not as grueling as yesterday but it's a climb and we must respect it. I'm sure we are going to see the same guys as yesterday in the finale, not only today but for the rest of the Vuelta."


56km remaining from 163km

The peloton is fairly strung out at the moment as they make their way up an unclassified climb. The pace still isn't too high though, it just appears that many are taking it a little easier for now. 


Ruben Fernandez is at the back of the Movistar train at the head of the peloton. He tried to get away in the break earlier today, perhaps forgetting that he was in fact in the red jersey. Sitting in front of Fernandez is Nairo Quintana with Alejandro Valverde in front of him. All three riders are in the top 10 as the moment, as is Daniel Moreno. If they play this right, they should still have the red jersey at the end of the day. 


We mentioned earlier that Eros Capecchi had signed for Etixx-QuickStep. He has come on board to help bolster their Grand Tour line-up. You can read the full story here


50km remaining from 163km

50km to go for the leaders and their gap is still up at 4:40 for now. Rory Sutherland is doing the chasing for Movistar in the peloton. 


If the gap were to stay as it is right now, Darwin Atapuma would be the new race leader. Atapuma is only 1:35 down in the overall classification, although BMC is looking to Samuel Sanchez for their GC ambitions. 


The leaders are onto a short descent, which is narrow and twisting and could cause some problems when the peloton go through. Let's hope not though. 


There are four Grand Tour stage winners in today's breakaway. They are Enrico Battaglin - who has won two stages of the Giro d'Italia, Thomas de Gendt - who has one stage at the Giro and the Tour de France, Pierre Rolland - who has won two stages of the Tour, and Zdenek Stybar - who won a stage of the Vuelta in 2013 and a stage at last year's Tour. 


Darwin Atapuma came close to winning his first Grand Tour stage at the Giro d'Italia earlier this year. He finished fourth, third and second in stages of the Giro. He was caught late on the penultimate stage and burst into tears upon crossing the line. 


As we said before, it is Sanchez that BMC is pinning their hopes on. Team DS, Valerio Piva had this to say on the Spaniard ahead of the stage. 


"Things are going pretty well for us. Samu is our leader on this Vuelta an he's where he should be. He had a great season already at the Pays Basque and in Liege and he prepared very well for this Vuelta. He has the experience and the consistency. Of course, you have Valverde, Quintana, Froome, Chaves but Samu is capable of a top 5 finish. As for Tejay, he rested after the Tour and is not in the kind of shape you need for a stage like yesterday's. Seven minutes is a lot but you can take back some time by going in the right break and he's looking for a stage win anyway."


Information on the final climb from our reporter on the ground Alasdair Fotheringham.


"The final climb is very much one of two halves. The first chunk is steady, not too hard and mid-way up, with about nine kilometres to go there's a long downhill of about two kilometers, fairly technical. then after sharp right hand bend with about six kilometres to go it kicks up again.


"In the last two kilometers comes through a wood and it's very exposed, long, steady drag up to the finish. It's also quite narrow. It's a bit breezy, not as hot as it was yesterday but certainly warm."


35km remaining from 163km

Meanwhile, there has been a short-lived attack from Axel Domont but the lead group has come back together. We can expect some more of this as they try to shed the weaker riders. They'll need to do this if they want to hold off the peloton. 


As the pace f the break goes up, the peloton looks like it's slowed a little. Orica, AG2R, Dimension Data have all moved up to help them but there doesn't seem to be any impetus to chase the leaders down. The gap came down to around 4:20 but it's growing out again. 


Attacks coming from the lead group and the breakaway briefly splits. The pace is really chugging along in the break as they close in on this final climb. 


27km remaining from 163km

With the gap at just below five minutes, it's not out of the question for the peloton to catch the breakaway but it is looking increasingly unlikely. Perhaps they are cutting their losses and focusing on the GC contenders within the bunch. Let's wait and see. 


The peloton is still taking it relatively easy and they really do look like they're giving the glory of the stage win to the breakaway. If the do allow this to keep creeping out, Atapuma could well find himself in red at the end of the day, the leader's red that is. 


Thomas de Gendt looks particularly keen to put himself forward for this stage victory though so he can complete his collection of Grand Tour stage wins. He's made another couple of attacks and has forced some fractures within the group. 


There's a small descent and Stybar is really going for it. He knows that he doesn't have the climbing ability of many in this group. He's got Ben King for company but they haven't got much of a gap yet. 


21km remaining from 163km

Domont is the next to have a go as Stybar and King are brought back. 


De Gendt is once again the rider that will try and drag back the move. He's pulling back Domont pretty much on his own. 


Domont back in the group and there is a brief ceasefire. But probably not for long. 


And Madrazo has a punt. The Spaniard has one stage win from Etoile de Besseges earlier this season. He's got a decent gap at the moment. 


No surprise in who is trying to track Madrazo down. It is the indomitable De Gendt, who is hell bent on claiming the stage win today. Will he burn his matches too early?


Grmay attacks from the break too. 


15km remaining from 163km

It's all back together again and it looks like there is a full compliment up front despite the attacks. Ben King leads the charge with 15km to go. 


Orica-BikeExchange is now setting the pace at the front of the bunch with Tinkoff as Domont attacks from the breakaway. The gap between the leaders and the peloton is still up at 5:15.


The leaders passed through the intermediate sprint a few moments ago with Stybar taking the full points, King going through in second and De Gendt in third. 


11km remaining from 163km

The final climb of the day begins in just a few hundred metres and the peloton has finally sprung into action a little further down the road. The gap has dropped to 4:42.


Domont has 23 seconds on the group chasing behind him. Still 10km to go for him. 


A mix of teams chasing in the peloton now. Tinkoff still has one man at the head of proceedings with Sky, Orica-BikeExchange and Movistar doing some work. 


Nairo Quintana is keeping himself right near the front of the bunch. He doesn't want to get caught out. 


9km remaining from 163km

Domont's lead is slowly growing out. He now has 31 seconds on the group behind. 


Domont has been reeled back by a diminished looking breakaway group. We've certainly lost a few riders. 


8km remaining from 163km

Calmejane now tries an attack as the peloton keep pulling them back with Rojas setting the pace. 


Tejay van Garderen has been shelled from the peloton, he was dropped yesterday too. 


Rolland is trying to chase down Calmejane. It's been an unlucky year for Rolland and a stage win would be a big boost for him.


Rojas has done his job for the day and immediately drops off the back of the peloton. 


6km remaining from 163km

More attacks coming from the breakaway group as Calmejane remains out front with Rolland not too far behind. Atapuma has a go as he thinks about wearing the leader's jersey as well as the win. He takes Madrazo with him but they are both caught.


Scene at finish as swannys and press officers gather around TVs to watch final kilometers. Stunning backdrop!

@Ride_Argyle Tue, 23rd Aug 2016 15:24:16

Calmejane still pushing on alone. He's got 15 seconds over Rolland at the moment and 30 seconds over the main breakaway group. 


4km remaining from 163km

Calmejane is now on that little descent that we mentioned earlier. The road will kick up again with about 4km to go. 


The Direct Energie rider tries to do up his jersey on the descent but he quickly gives up on what is a futile exercise. He can't waste any time here. 


At this point, Calmejane is still extending his lead over Rolland. He has 21 seconds over his compatriot and 41 seconds on the chasers. 


Meanwhile, Nacer Bourhanni has but the disappointment of the weekend behind him to win at Poitou Charentes. Read the report here


2km remaining from 163km

The gap has stabalised briefly and our leader has 26 seconds. Atapuma has attacked again further down the road. 


Back in the peloton, Kennaugh has gone off the front. Interesting tactic by Sky, perhaps they are trying to draw out some of their rivals. 


Word coming in that De Gendt has been given the most aggressive rider award. He's been dropped from the breakaway group at the moment. 


1km remaining from 163km

Calmejane passes under the flamme rouge. He is closing in on victory but the chasers aren't too far behind. 


Atapuma has Rolland and Zeits for company now as they chase down Calmejane.


Fernandez has waved goodbye to the red jersey as he is dropped from a very small peloton. Moreno takes up the pace with Valverde in his wheel. Valverde is the only rider that can snap the red jersey from Atapuma. 


Calmejane out of the saddle and sprinting for the line


Calmejane finally manages to zip up his jersey and he punches the air as he crosses the line for victory. 


Atapuma sprints past Rolland on the line to take second. He gets some bonus seconds but now he has to wait and see what the gap to the peloton is. 


De La Cruz leads the favourites up the final climb with Brambilla, Contador, Chaves and Chaves all behind him. Froome is there too. 


The clock ticks up and Atapuma should be in red now. 


It looked like there might be an attack from the group of favourites but in the end they come over the line together led by Valverde. 


Calmejane's win is the first for Direct Energie since Pierre Rolland and Thomas Voeckler netted three stages of the 2012 Tour de France. It is also Calmejane's first professional victory. 


Confirmation of the top 10 in the stage


1 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie 04:05:19
2 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team 00:00:15
3 Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team 00:00:15
4 Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 00:00:19
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data 00:00:23
6 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNL - Jumbo 00:00:24
7 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team 00:00:33
8 Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant - Alpecin 00:00:37
9 Jaime Roson (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA 00:00:40
10 Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 18 00:00:42


Stage winner Calmajane had this to say after the stage. 


"It’s a very great feeling. I started the Vuelta with a lot of ideas in my head but to win a stage so soon in the Vuelta is just awesome.


"Yesterday I was feeling good and I tried to get into the breakaway but just seven guys got into it. I didn’t think that the breakaway would go to the finish but it did and Geniez won and today in my head it was all the breakaway and to have no regrets. At the beginning, I saw that we had a lot of guys with Atapuma just 1:53 down in the general classification so I only thought about winning the stage when we got halfway and we had four minutes. I saw that Thomas de Gendt was very strong in the group when I attacked. I gave everything to the finish line and it is great.


"I’m not really a good go climber but this type of climb I’m good but on the big climbs like Aubisque then it is a little bit difficult for me. It’s my first year as a pro, it’s my first Vuelta and the goal was to win a stage. So now the future in the Vuelta is positive so I’m feeling good."


Calmejane did a heart with his fingers & pointed them to the sky.A dedication to former teammate Romain Guyot, who died in training in march

@AlexandreMignot Tue, 23rd Aug 2016 15:55:57

This is how the GC looks after that little shake up. 


1 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team 13:23:10
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar 00:00:29
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:33
4 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-BikeExchange 00:00:39
5 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar 00:00:39
6 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 00:01:09
7 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar 00:01:11
8 Leopold König (Cze) Team Sky 00:01:13
9 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky 00:01:15
10 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx-Quick-Step 00:01:23


Thumbs up from Atapuma as he heads to the podium to collect his red jersey. 



First report and images from @lavuelta as Calmejane attacks the break to win the stage.

@Cyclingnewsfeed Tue, 23rd Aug 2016 16:10:29

Today's victory is the culmination of a very strong debut season as a professional for Lilian Calmejane. The 23-year-old finished second in the youth classification at the Tour de Wallonie, won the youth classification at La Méditerranéenne and came close to a stage win at La Provence. We can certainly expect more from him in the future. 


Looking to tomorrow's stage, it's lumpy but much flatter compared to today's offering and could be a chance for the likes of Philippe Gilbert or perhaps Simon Gerrans. This is what the profile looks like. 



That is it from us today, remember to check out our report here with full results and photos. We'll have race highlights too.


Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Latest on Cyclingnews