2016 Vuelta a España

Stage 4: Betanzos to San Andres de Teixido

Another finale in a spectacular setting. The Vuelta will finish its fourth stage in an unprecedented location: San Andres de Teixido. The stage will depart from Betanzos and consist of 161 kilometers. The peloton will have to overcome three mountain passes, two third category climbs and one second category climb. The finale is not particularly difficult, although it is unlikely that the entire peloton will make it to the end. There will likely be no notable differences among the favorites in the general classification.

vuelta stage 4

Lilian Calmejane rode to his first grand tour stage victory in the Vuelta's stage 4. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Lilian Calmejane rode to his first grand tour stage victory in the Vuelta’s stage 4. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The French cheered a second stage win in a row with Lilian Calmejane riding solo to victory in stage 4 of the Vuelta a España Tuesday. The young Direct Energie rider won his first grand tour stage, a follow-up to Alexandre Geniez’s victory Monday. He rode clear of a large breakaway on the category 2 finish climb, while behind, Darwin Atapuma of BMC Racing sprinted into the overall race lead, finishing second ahead of Cannondale – Drapac’s Ben King.

“It’s a very great feeling. To win a stage soon in the Vuelta, is just awesome,” said Calmejane. “Yesterday I was feeling good, and I’m trying to take the breakaway, but just seven guys in the breakaway. I thought that it wasn’t going to go to the finish, but Geniez won. Today it was just ‘the breakaway, the breakaway, the breakaway’ just to have no regrets.”

Stage 4, top 10

  • 1. Lilian CALMEJANE, DIRECT ENERGIE, in 4:05:19
  • 2. Darwin ATAPUMA HURTADO, BMC RACING TEAM, at :15
  • 3. Benjamin KING, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING TEAM, at :15
  • 4. Andrey ZEITS, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :19
  • 5. Nathan HAAS, TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at :23
  • 6. Enrico BATTAGLIN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at :24
  • 7. Pierre ROLLAND, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING TEAM, at :33
  • 8. Chad HAGA, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at :37
  • 9. Jaime ROSON GARCIA, CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA, at :40
  • 10. Cesare BENEDETTI, BORA-ARGON 18, at :42

Top-10 overall

  • 1. Darwin ATAPUMA HURTADO, BMC RACING TEAM, in 13:23:10
  • 2. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :29
  • 3. Christopher FROOME, TEAM SKY, at :33
  • 4. Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO, ORICA-BIKEEXCHANGE, at :39
  • 5. Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :39
  • 6. Samuel SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, BMC RACING TEAM, at 1:08
  • 7. Ruben FERNANDEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 1:11
  • 8. Leopold KONIG, TEAM SKY, at 1:13
  • 9. Peter KENNAUGH, TEAM SKY, at 1:15
  • 10. Gianluca BRAMBILLA, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 1:23

Riders from the early breakaway of 21 riders began to launch attacks and counter-attacks with about 25 kilometers remaining. The move included three American riders: Giant – Alpecin’s Chad Haga, King, and Larry Warbasse of IAM Cycling.

For a moment, it looked like Ag2r La Mondiale’s Axel Domont had gone clear after the sprint at the base of the category 2 climb of Mirador Vixia de Herbeira. However, Domont was caught as the climb began, just shy of nine kilometers from the finish.

Calmejane launched the next attack. Cannondale – Drapac’s Pierre Rolland tried to chase down his fellow Frenchman alone. But the 23-year-old leader rode stubbornly and Rolland resigned himself to return to the dwindling chase of five men.

Into the final kilometer, Calmejane was clear, on his way to a career-first grand tour stage win.

BMC’s Darwin Atapuma had attacked the chase group, and was joined by King and Andrey Zeits (Astana). They finished in that order, second through fourth on the day.

“The last four km were steep so after we caught Pierre [Rolland]; I started an interval on my Garmin and aimed for the numbers I’ve been hitting in training,” said King. “That helped me stay on the limit and know when I could afford to surge. I knew my form coming into the Vuelta was decent relative to myself, but I’m happy and surprised how well it stacked up against climbers like Atapuma.”

Movistar brought the peloton into the final climb, riding tempo at the front for race leader Ruben Fernandez. Though the Spaniard lost the red jersey to Atapuma, the top GC riders finished as a group.

“This jersey is a dream I still haven’t taken in, but it’s been a dream come true,” BMC Racing’s Atapuma said. “No doubt Samu [Samuel Sanchez] is the team leader, but today they gave me freedom and we were alert to the breakaway and completed our goal.”

Wednesday’s stage 5 should not prove as decisive. The 170km ride from Viveiro to Lugo features just one category 3 climb, but the run to the finish should be lumpy and tough.

2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Team Sky
Chris Froome and Team Sky rode well together on stage 4. Peter Kennaugh attacked out of the main group late in the stage and Chris Froome finished with the other GC riders. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Fernandez in red
Ruben Fernandez wore the red race leader’s jersey, sheltered from the wind by his Movistar teammates. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Wind farm
Stage 4 was 163 kilometers from Betanzos to San Andres de Teixido and finished with a punchy category 2 climb to the line. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Movistar
Alejandro Valverde finished near the front of the main GC group, but Ruben Fernandez was dropped on the final climb to the finish. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Stybar in the break
Stage 4 saw a large breakaway group full of strong riders including Zdenek Stybar. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Peloton
Movistar and Team Sky did much of the work on stage 4, followed by Tinkoff. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Atapuma
Darwin Atapuma attacked out of the breakaway with three kilometers to go and gained enough time on the chase to claim the lead in the overall. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Rolland
When Atapuma made his move, Pierre Rolland tried to chase but could not close the gap. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: De Gendt
Breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt tried to attack out of the front group. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Breakaway
American Ben King was in the break on stage 4 and came across the line in third place. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Atapuma finish
Atapuma claimed some bonus seconds by sprinting for second ahead of King. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Calmejane victory
Lilian Calmejane rode in the large breakaway group all day and then attacked on the final category 2 climb to ride solo to the finish in San Andres de Teixido to claim his first grand tour victory. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2016 Vuelta a España, stage 4: Van Garderen
Tejay van Garderen continued to struggle at the Vuelta, losing more time on stage 4. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com