Wout Poels won stage 4 of the 2014 Vuelta al País Vasco in Arrate, Spain in a solo finish today, after executing a perfectly timed attack over the summit of today’s final climb. Alejandro Valverde finished second, with Samuel Sánchez rounding out the podium in third place.
Meanwhile, Alberto Contador managed to defend his overall lead against Valverde, who now trails by just 12 seconds.
How the Race Unfolded
Simon Yates was the last of the escapees to be caught, after he was absorbed by the peloton at the base of the Alto de Usartza – 2 kilometers from the finish.
During the final ascent, Contador attempted to ride clear of the peloton – followed by a quick counter move by Valverde. However, the Spanish duo were easily reeled back in by the chase. In turn, Samuel Sánchez attempted an attack of his own. But, Contador countered, again with Valverde on his wheel.
As the race headed into the final kilometer of the climb, Poels, Thibaut Pinot and Simon Spilak succeeded in catching and passing Contador, Velverde and Sánchez. From there, Poels proceeded to jettison his companions as they neared the summit. And, once over the top, the Dutch rider managed to open up a gap of 10 seconds over the pursuit.
Despite the peloton’s last ditch effort, which was being lead by Michal Kwiatkowski, Poels managed to hold-off the chase well enough to beat Valverde by one second on the line.
The Vuelta al País Vasco continues tomorrow with a 162 kilometer stage from Eibar to Markina-Xemein. The penultimate stage includes five categorized climbs, with the Cat. 2 Alto de Aiastia topping out 8.4 kilometers from the finish.
Stage 4 Results NED 1 POELS, Wouter (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) 3:39:22 ESP 2 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 1 ESP 3 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) NED 4 SLAGTER, Tom Jelte (GARMIN SHARP) + 3 NED 5 MOLLEMA, Bauke (BELKIN) RUS 6 TROFIMOV, Yury (KATUSHA) AUS 7 EVANS, Cadel (BMC RACING) ESP 8 LANDA MEANA, Mikel (ASTANA) ITA 9 CUNEGO, Damiano (LAMPRE – MERIDA) ESP 10 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF-SAXO) FRA 11 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE) USA 12 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) FRA 13 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ.fr) SLO 14 SPILAK, Simon (KATUSHA) POL 15 KWIATKOWSKI, Michal (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) + 10 ESP 16 NIEVE ITURALDE, Mikel (SKY) + 26 GBR 17 YATES, Simon (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 42 ESP 18 IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Gorka (MOVISTAR)
General Classification after Stage 4 ESP 1 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF-SAXO) 16:33:35 ESP 2 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 12 ITA 3 CUNEGO, Damiano (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 36 AUS 4 EVANS, Cadel (BMC RACING) FRA 5 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE) RUS 6 TROFIMOV, Yury (KATUSHA) POL 7 KWIATKOWSKI, Michal (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) + 41 ESP 8 LANDA MEANA, Mikel (ASTANA) + 54 NED 9 POELS, Wouter (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) + 55 ESP 10 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) + 56 NED 11 SLAGTER, Tom Jelte (GARMIN SHARP) FRA 12 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ.fr)
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