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Matevž Govekar of Bahrain-Victorious won out of a breakaway in the 169km fourth stage from Torresandino to Ciudad Romana de Clunia at the Vuelta a Burgos.
Omar Goldstein (Israel Premier Tech) opened up the seven-up sprint up a steep wall, but ran out of gas. Govekar timed it right to pass Valentin Retailleau (Ag2r Citroën), with Goldstein hanging on for third.
Despite a sharp uphill kicker in the final two kilometers, the undulating stage looked like it could another chance for the sprinters. The pack, however, didn’t seem too interested in working too hard in another hot day across Spain’s northern meseta.
With temperatures pushing into the mid-90Fs, a breakaway of nearly 15 riders pulled clear in the first hour of racing, and it was gone.
Overnight leader Pavel Sivakov‘s Ineos Grenadiers did the tempo at the front to keep the gap from growing too much. The gap hovered around 5 minutes with 25km to go, keeping Sivakov’s jersey safe.
The front group split in some unrated climbs in the final hour of racing, and a select group of seven hit the final wall with the stage win in play.
Sivakov came through with the main GC group to carry the leader’s jersey in Saturday’s finale.
The GC will be decided at Lagunas de Neila
The 44th Vuelta a Burgos will be decided Saturday in the fifth and final stage that returns to the emblematic climb at the Lagunas de Neila.
Sivakov holds a slender 23-28 second lead over a closely coiled pack of GC contenders ahead of Saturday’s stage.
The Lagunas de Neila summit finale typically settles the GC. At 12km at 6.2 percent, the HC climb comes at the sharp end of the otherwise routine 170km run starting in Lermas.
The route features three third-category climbs before the final hump into the Sierra de la Demanda.