photo credits @ La Vuelta
Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) claimed stage 4 of the Vuelta a España today, beating Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) in a sprint finish in Tarragona, after overhauling the Colombian rider during the last 300 meters to score his third Grand Tour stage win of his career and the second this season.
Meanwhile, Edward Theuns (Lidl-Trek) grabbed the last spot on the podium ahead of Milan Menten (Lotto-Dstny), with Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) finishing safely in the peloton to retain the red leader’s jersey.
Elsewhere, the finale was marred by a number of crashes, with Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) and Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) both coming down in an incident during the final 3 kilometers, while Marijn van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost) and Groves’ teammate Robbe Ghys both crashed when they overshot a sharp corner with 350 meters to go.
On a day lacking in drama save for the frantic final kilometers, Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto Dstny) moved into the lead of the king of the mountains classification after taking maximum points over two categorized climbs in a three-man breakaway that never held more than a two minute advantage over the peloton.
By taking over the blue polka dot jersey from Evenepoel, Sepulveda became the first rider from Argentina to lead any of the jersey classifications in a Grand Tour.
After riding clear of the main field during the opening kilometers, Sepulveda combined with Spanish duo David Gonzalez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) in the breakaway, were eventually reeled in with 20 kilometers to go.
From there, the pace was high heading into the last 5 kilometers, with the large crash plaguing the peloton at a pinch point along the course.
While all the big favorites managed to avoid the incident, Buitrago hit the ground with considerable force and dropped out of the top 10 after coming home over two minutes in arrears.
In the perilous jostling for positions ahead of the ramped finale, Van den Berg touched shoulders with Molano, subsequently crashing into the barriers that caused a small spilt at the head of the field.
This handed the initiative to Molano and Groves, with the Australian rider seizing the moment with a turn of speed that proved insurmountable for his Colombian rival.
As a result, Groves will have a chance to double up on Wednesday with the 186.5 kilometer stage 5 from Morella to Burriana that features numerous hills and a single Cat.2 climb ahead of a flat and fast finish on the Costa del Sol.
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