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Vuelta a España 2020: Stage 4 preview

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Stage 4 profile 2020 Vuelta a Espana

Stage 4 profile (Image credit: Unipublic)
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Stage 4 map 2020 Vuelta a Espana

Stage 4 map (Image credit: Unipublic)

Stage 4: Garray. Numancia to Ejea de los Caballeros

Date: October 23, 2020

Distance: 191.7km

Stage start: 1:09 pm CEST

Stage finish: 5:20-5:45 pm

Stage type: Flat

Having moved westwards away from the Pyrenees, the Vuelta turns back towards the mountain chain with the first stage that should see the small cohort of specialist sprinters in the field come to centre stage.

The riders will roll into action for 191.7 kilometres at Garray, just to the north of Soria, and close to the Celtiberian settlement of Numancia that was besieged by the Romans in the second century BC, and in recent years has been partly reconstructed. Heading east in the direction of Zaragoza, the route steadily loses altitude, dropping away from the Soria plateau and into western part of the region of Aragón.

This area is known as the Cinco Villas, of which there are three on the route: Tauste, Sádaba and the finish town of Ejea de los Caballeros. The terrain is very open and often quite windy, which could add some spice to what is a very straightforward stage on paper. It tends to come from the north, in which case it shouldn’t have too much of an impact until the riders turn east approaching the intermediate sprint at Sádaba, when it would be blowing side-on, perhaps offering the opportunity to force echelons to form. The course turns again beyond this sprint, running directly south-east into the finish, the prevailing wind now assisting the riders.

The run-in is uncomplicated, with a couple of roundabouts around two kilometres out from the line, and a relatively straight course beyond that. There’s a slight kink to the right 400 metres from the finish, where it seems likely that Tour de France points winner Sam Bennett will be the favourite for victory, with Pascal Ackermann and Jasper Philipsen probably among the Irishman’s biggest threats.

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