Vuelta a Espana Stage 4 - Preview

Hang on, we've got this wrong. The Vuelta is a race for sprinters, after all. This is the third stage in a row where they should divide up the day's main honours between them, and the most straightforward so far as it loops inland into the Comunitat Valenciana in order to avoid the province's main city before finishing at the Costa del Azahar resort of El Puig, which is welcoming the race for the first time.

There are no notable difficulties prior to the intermediate sprint at Náquera, where bonus seconds could be very hotly contested. The stage's only classified climb, the third-category Puerto del Oronet begins soon after, but with an average gradient of 4.5 per cent it won't shake many out of the peloton.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).

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