Capitalizing on a teammate’s crash at one kilometer to go that slowed nearly the entire front of the peloton, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) stole a stage win with an extended sprint to take stage 4 of the 2020 Vuelta a Burgos.
This is Deceuninck–Quick-Step’s second win in two days, after Remco Evenepoel’s blistering uphill attack to take Thursday’s stage 3.
Commenting on how the final kilometer played out, Bennett said, “It was a hard final. Really hot. And unfortunately, Michael [Mørkøv] crashed in the last corner but the whole team did a fantastic job today, and coming right into the corner we were right where we wanted to be. I took a look around to see who was there after the crash, because everybody kind of paused for a second. I decided to go. It was a lot longer than I remember, and it really, really hurt, but I was happy to take the win. I needed it.”
With the win, Bennett takes the points competition jersey from the shoulders of teammate Evenepoel.
Evenepoel still wears the leader’s jersey and also the best young rider’s jersey.
Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) appeared to slide out on a 180-degree uphill hairpin turn, disrupting the Groupama-FDJ sprint train that lined up to deliver Arnaud Démare to the line.
The Deceuninck–Quick-Step rider looked to be scraped up but otherwise fine when he crossed the line several minutes behind his victorious teammate.
Stage 4 was an otherwise flat stage, and saw a six-man break forge a lead of over two-and-a-half minutes early on.
While this break was no threat to the general classification, Deceuninck–Quick-Step still lead the beginnings of the pursuit, but turned over this responsibility after 100km of racing gone.
The six-man break became five when one rider suffered a mechanical and had to drop back for assistance from his team car.
While this was happening, Bahrain-McLaren and Groupama-FDJ went to the front to ratchet up the pace and secure positions for their sprint specialists.
The next 30km saw the break having discussions about who was sharing the workload, while the peloton cruised at nearly 50kph eating away the fivesome’s lead.
With 12km to go the break was caught, as Jumbo-Visma, Groupama-FDJ, Bahrain-McLaren, Bora-Hansgrohe, Israel Start-Up Nation, and Deceuninck–Quick-Step all were at the front, pedaling effectively knowing that the technical portion at 3km would be crucial for positioning going into the final kilometer.
At the 3km mark, this jostling strung out the peloton as Groupama-FDJ took over the lead with Démare in tow.
But with Mørkøv’s fumble at the 1km kite, the best-laid plans for a French win were all but gone.
Démare managed to avoid the pileup, and out-kicked Nizzolo, both five seconds back of Bennett.
Saturday’s finale promises excitement, as Remco Evenepoel looks to defend his 18-second lead, finishing on the Lagunas de Neila, a 4.2km climb with an average grade of 11 percent.
Stage 4 Results
1. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck–Quick-Step), 3:51:19
2. Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), at :05
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling), at s.t.
4. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation), at s.t.
5. Lionel Taminiaux (Bingoal WB), at s.t.
6. Biniam Hailu (Nippo Delko Provence), at s.t.
7. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), at s.t.
8. Martin Laas (Bora-Hansgrohe), at s.t.
9. Alexander Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott), at s.t.
10.Rick Zabel (Israel Start-Up Nation), at :08