Vuelta a España 2021: Stage 4 preview

Stage 4: El Burgo de Osma to Molina de Aragón

Date: August 17, 2021 

Distance: 163.6km 

Stage timing: 13:47 - 17:30 CEST

Stage type: Flat

Vuelta a España stage 4 preview video

Just four days in and here’s another Vuelta a España stage without a single categorised climb. It takes the race south-east from the start in El Burgo de Osmo to the finish town of Molina de Aragón, which is overlooked by a magnificent castle that was first established by the Moors in the 10th century and by the Torre de Aragón fortress, which stands on the crest of the same hill.

The profile is more undulating than the second stage, but this is once again very benign terrain for the Vuelta. As on day two, the most likely difficulty on what are very open roads is the wind, which often barrels across Spain’s central plateau. 

With so many stages ahead that will suit riders looking for breakaways and so few clear opportunities for the sprinters, it would be surprising to see the sprint teams let this chance escape them. Although they may be happy to let a break contest the intermediate sprint at Alcolea del Pinar, they should be well in control coming into the final half-dozen kilometres. The final kilometre is uphill all of the way to the line, the gradient around 7 per cent, which will suit punchier sprinters such as UAE Team Emirate’s Matteo Trentin and Team BikeExchange’s Michael Matthews.

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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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