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Thanks to an ideal lead-out from his UAE teammate Simone Consonni, Fernando Gaviria won stage 4 of Vuelta a San Juan Wednesday, despite a last-minute lunge to the line by Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). Sagan was second, and Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was third.
It was Gaviria’s second stage win in the Argentinian race after he sprinted to victory in stage 1 on Sunday.
“It was a high-level sprint, against serious rivals like Sagan and Hodeg,” said Gaviria. “The team was perfect in the approach of the last curve, then Consonni was very good at launching me.”
Although the 185.8km stage from San José de Jáchal to Villa San Agustín, Argentina included a substantial climb at the halfway point, the sprinters were able to regroup on the long, gradual downhill to the finish.
The two surviving breakaway riders, Daniel Zamora and César Paredes, were caught inside the final five kilometers, on a flat, straight highway to the finish.
Consonni wound up the sprint along the right-side barriers. Gaviria was tight in his draft and blasted clear in the final few hundred meters. Although Sagan managed to hold Gaviria’s wheel, in the final throes of the sprint, he couldn’t muster his kick to come past.
“I had the legs today,” said Sagan. “I went at full speed but it wasn’t enough and I missed the victory at the finish line.”
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) kept the overall lead, which he earned with a win in Tuesday’s time trial stage. He also won stage 2 in a solo breakaway.
The race will have a rest day Thursday. On Friday, racing resumes in earnest with what is likely a pivotal stage 5. The 169.5km stage finishes atop the 2,624-meter Alto de Colorado climb, a classic mountaintop finish in this Argentinian race.