1 Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-Quickstep 03:53:29
2 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
3 Jakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC Team
4 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6 Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7 Max Kanter (Ger) Team Sunweb
8 Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Start-Up Nation
9 Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
10 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Pro Cycling
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 16:30:53
2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 00:00:05
3 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:13
4 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:32
5 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:38
6 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:44
7 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:01:17
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 00:01:29
9 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:55
10 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:01:57
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 4 of the Vuelta a España.
After three days of hard stages which have seen the GC men thrive, today sees a more relaxed stage suited to the few sprinters at the race.
It has been a day of chaos over in Italy as the stage has been considerably shortened after rider protests.
In Spain, meanwhile, the riders have started riding through the neutralised zone.
⏩ En marcha la etapa 4 Aaaaaaand they’re off! The 4 stage begins!#LaVuelta20 pic.twitter.com/SunrdjnxHLOctober 23, 2020
Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates), Magnus Cort (EF Pro Cycling), Jon Aberasturi (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) will be among the favourites for victory today.
It's not a deep sprint field, but there are some quality names here.
There are no classified climbs along today's route – just a single intermediate sprint for any possible breakaway to fight over.
Daniel Martínez (EF Pro Cycling) and Simon Geschke (CCC Team) are the only riders who didn't take the start today.
Race leader Primož Roglič anticipates bad weather at thee stage start
"It feels rainy, it feels cold so it will be a full-gas race, I guess. Every day it's cold, some wind especially and some rain. For sure it has its role but we have to adapt, and it is how it is."
191km to go
The stage is underway! 167 riders have started the race.
Harry Tanfield (AG2R-La Mondiale), Luis Ángel Maté (Cofidis), Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH) and Willie Smit (Burgos-BH) have jumped away at the start. I can't imagine there'll be a whole lot of fighting for the break today, or much resistance to their move.
180km to go
The four men have a gap of two minutes already. This is the break of the day.
Smit spoke before the stage, a pre-planned move to make the break today, of course.
"The legs are OK but yesterday was a hard day at the front, with a lot of wind. I did some recon of stage 3 a week ago and I thought it would be good for the break but Movistar worked hard. They were scared of the crosswind. So we’ll try again, for sure! Being in the break is much less stressful and it’s always good to represent your team at the front."
Deceuninck-QuickStep are in charge of the peloton as the gap goes up to four minutes.
165km to go
The riders have covered 26km so far.
Maté is the best-placed man on GC, but he's 24:51 down on Roglič, so no worries there.
The Break got away from km2 and have been keeping a high pace to build a gap of 3'58" by km20 🚀🚀🚀#lavuelta20 | @lavuelta pic.twitter.com/YzEcVC2Ow1October 23, 2020
Bora-Hansgrohe and Trek-Segafredo are also on the front of the peloton alongside Deceuninck-QuickStep. Not a surprise given their sprinting talents.
Ineos Grenadiers' Chris Froome at the stage start:
"I feel good so far. It’s nice to have a bit of an easier day today. The first three stages have been explosive. It’s been great to test the legs and to see what the condition is. Obviously we have Richie Carapaz in a really good position. He’s fighting for the overall victory and we’re going to keep trying to protect him as much as possible in the next days. It’s nice for me to be able to find my condition again being here at La Vuelta.
"I’m looking to get the most out of this race from a personal point of view to try and progress my condition and hopefully finish the race in a really good way. I’ve been very fortunate over the years to have so many people helping me to win the big races. I know how important this job is and certainly when I’m not in a position to win myself nothing gives me more pleasure than being able to repay the other riders."
Harry Tanfield leads the break of the day.
140km to go
The peloton are keeping the break on a tight leash. The gap is just 2:35 at the moment.
Deceuninck-QuickStep riders Zdenek Štybar and Michael Mørkøv share a laugh at the front of the peloton.
120km to go
2:50 for the four-man breakaway as theey embark on a gentle climb.
108km to go
Bora-Hansgrohe, Trek-Segafredo and Deceuninck-QuickStep still lead the peloton as they pass through the town of Tarazona. Back in 2015, Nelson Oliveira won a stage there, while Fabian Cancellara won a time trial there in 2013.
Already the gap is only two minutes for the four leaders. There's not really much motivation for them today with very little to fight for other than pride, sponsor airtime, and the combativity prize.
#LaVuelta20 We're approaching the final 100km, the breakaway of four's advantage has been reduced to 2minutes and the sprint teams have the day in control. pic.twitter.com/SLuTIlVlPOOctober 23, 2020
Movistar have moved up to the front of the peloton now on the windy plains. They're trying to create splits here.
82km to go
Ineos also came to the front, but there was nothing do. It was strung out at the back a little as riders hung on but it's calmed down now.
77km to go
The peloton pushing the pace had brought the break back to within 30 seconds, but now that they've slowed things down again the gap is going up again. It's a minute now.
There's no single team taking charge at the front at the moment. Ineos, Bora, Bahrain, ISN, Jumbo, Movistar are all up there are the peloton is fanned across the road.
An average speed of 51.3kph so far.
The peloton out on the road today.
63km to go
The peloton have let the gap go back up to 1:30 now. It's still the same four men – Tanfield, Maté, Ezquerra, Smit.
Here's one of the favourites for today, Pascal Ackermann, speaking before the stage.
"Today is the first chance for us. We were really looking forward to it, and we hope for a bunch sprint. The first three stages were quite okay, it was not so hard, although it’s always hard for the sprinters when you have uphill stages but my shape is good and the legs feels good and im looking forward to today.
"I think the wind is less strong than it was the last days and we have a lot of tailwind in the beginning and maybe there is a little crosswind section but I think it shouldn’t factor too much. I think we have a lot of strong leaders here, I hope we do a good job, have a right timing and then hopefully we will cross the finish line first today."
56km to go
Trek-Segafredo, Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep are back on thte front of the peloton now, and they've brought the gap back down to a minute.
33 kilometres to go until the intermediate sprint in Sádaba.
46km to go
The gap is up to 1:50 now. No change in the situation at the front.
Movistar pushing the pace in the wind earlier on.
After a somewhat lumpy start, it has been flat all day and will continue like that to the finish.
38km to go
The gap is right down now. The peloton have brought it just under a minute.
The pace will be shooting up again soon as the GC teams try to mass on the front and stay out of trouble at the 3km mark, while sprinter's teams will also want a strong presence on the front.
Astana's Merhawi Kudus and Mitchelton-Scott's Tsgabu Grmay share a joke in the peloton.
EF Pro Cycling and Bahrain McLaren move up in the peloton among the sprinter's squads.
29km to go
Very wide and straight roads here, typical of the Vuelta. The pace is still quite high with 7km to go to the intermediate sprint. 45 seconds to the peloton.
Down to 35 seconds now. The break won't last long. We'll just have to see who fancies prolonging the pain a little longer with one final attack.
Tanfield jumps off the front of the break a little to lead the way over the sprint point.
24km to go
Smit jumps past Tanfield on a rise in the road seeking the combatitivty award.
Movistar, Caja Rural, Ineos and Bahrain all move up in the peloton.
21km to go
Just 20 seconds for the break now. Maté and Ezquerra almost caught.
The last gasp for these men out front.
17km to go
Smit is the last man standing, just a few seconds up on the peloton.
15km to go
Smit is caught and spat out the back, and now it's Astana, Movistar, Bahrain, Sunweb up front.
Israel Start-Up Nation are also riding to protect Dan Martin.
Astana are driving it along more than most here.
10km to go
Final 10 kilometres for the riders now.
Astana's Luis León Sánchez with a big turn on the front on this long, straight road.
6km to go
Deceuninck-QuickStep, Sunweb and EF also have a strong presence on the front.
5km to go
Now Bora-Hansgrohe move up.
4km to go
The peloton is touching speeds of 60kph on this run-in.
3km to go
Bora on one side of the road, Sunweb on the other. Caja Rural move up the middle.
A group of riders are trailing off the back due to the high pace.
Deceuninck-QuickStep back to the front now en masse.
2km to go
All looks set for a Bennett vs Ackermann showdown.
The Belgian team are charging here with their full squad on the front.
The peloton looks surprisingly small, given the relatively easy day we've had.
1km to go
QuickStep ahead of UAE and Bora in the final!
Bora and UAE up the inside of the final corner. Philipsen launches first!
He went long but Bennett came quick from behind, closing a bike length in the final 200 metres.
Bennett takes the win!
Bennett won it by three-quarters of a bike length. Jakub Mareczko in third.
Two wins for Irishmen in two days at the Vuelta.
Ackermann finished fourth just behind Mareczko.
Gerben Thijssen (Lotto Soudal) rounded out the top five.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) retains the race lead, of course.
Bennett called it a sketchy run-in and said he was nervous, but praised his team for coming together at just the right point.
"It was mad how we said 'we need to be together at one point', and at the point the team was all there. They did the job perfectly, came together when we needed to – even more than we asked to be there. We only asked a few guys but it was the whole team. They did an absolutely fantastic job."
"Philipsen came up the inside and got such a jump that I didn't think I'd catch him but in the end I started getting more and more speed and I was still accelerating towards the line."
A shot of Bennett taking the victory.
Ezquerra took the combativity prize today, which is strange seeing as his teammate Smit was the last man left from the break... I think it was a public vote, though, and Ezquerra is Spanish.
Bennett celebrates his win on the podium.
Here's what Roglič had to say after the finish:
"There was quite a lot of wind, tailwind so it was really fast. It was quite nervous at some points, especially the last 20km were super fast and a little scary. Luckily everything went through, the team did a good job at protecting me, I was in the right place. One more day in red.
"It looks easier in watts because it's not so high powered but you have to be every moment there, in the front and there are no mistakes you can do."
Movistar's Enric Mas:
"It’s been anything but an easy day, we had to be wary from the start. But luckily nothing happened although it was a tense stage for the whole day. We did well today, trying to spend as little energy as possible. We know tomorrow is going to be an important day, we can’t hide. We have to be up front and focussed."
⏯ El primer sprint masivo de #LaVuelta20 ha llegado después de un día de viento, con gran remontada final de @Sammmy_Be 💨 Revívelo en 1'.⏯Bennett did an amazing comeback to get the first sprint of this Vuelta for his team @deceuninck_qst 🔥. The 1' summary. pic.twitter.com/0c9o7ApsISOctober 23, 2020
Slovenian remains in the race lead on a quiet but windy day in Aragón
📊 Clasificaciones tras la etapa 4 | Classifications after stage 4 #LaVuelta20+ info ➡️ https://t.co/7s84I3FjHm pic.twitter.com/xYwQjwMCh5October 23, 2020
Sam Bennett resumes winning ways in second Grand Tour of the year
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