Dan Martin fifth on La Vuelta’s stage four
Irish man moves up to 20th in the overall rankings after chasing home John Degenkolb
German cyclist John Degenkolb of Giant team celebrates as he wins the fourth stage of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana from Mairena del Alcor to Cordoba. Ireland’s Dan martin (blue and white) was fifth. Photograph: Javier Lizon / EPA
The Garmin-Sharp rider was second behind race leader Michael Matthews (Orica) of Australia yesterday and moved to 20th on the overall classification when chasing home German John Degenkolb in a sprint finish today.
Matthews was third, behind Vicente Reynes of Spaina and IAM Cycling, and in front of Italian Damiano Caruso (Cannondale).
Degenkolb led the riders home on the 164.7 kilometre stage, unleashing a decisive sprint in the final 200 metres.
In energy-sapping heat several sprinters fell away earlier in the day, but Degenkolb was well protected by his Giant-Shimano team-mates, who moved to the front after the second of two big climbs with a kilometre to go.
Reynes made the break for the line but Degenkolb had enough to cover his move and won by a comfortable distance.
Orica-GreenEdge leader Matthews retains a slender general classification lead over Nairo Quintana (Movistar), with the latter’s team-mate Alejandro Valverde third.
Germany’s Degenkolb was delighted with his success at one of his favourite events.
“I love the Vuelta a Espana and also the country,” he said. “Yesterday was quite disappointing, it was too hard and too explosive. Today was better and I am very happy to have a stage of the Vuelta.”
Team Sky leader Chris Froome moved up two places to 15th overall after finishing in the lead group.
Froome’s Sky colleague Mikel Nieve, who helped close down an attempted break 9km from home to keep the peloton in touch, also finished in the bunch and lies 19th.
Martin’s fellow Irishman, Sky’s Philip Deignan, rode strongly on the climbs for his team leader, but suffered a mechanical problem at a crucial time and was delayed.
He was unable to get back up to the front group afterwards and elected to ease back, finishing 92nd and saving his energy for another day.
Results from Vuelta a Espana Stage 4 (Mairena del Alcor - Cordoba, 164.7 km)
1. John Degenkolb (Germany / Giant) 4:02:55”
2. Vicente Reynes (Spain / IAM Cycling) ST
3. Michael Matthews (Australia / Orica)
4. Damiano Caruso (Italy / Cannondale)
5. Daniel Martin (Ireland / Garmin)
6. Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia / Katusha)
7. Lloyd Mondory (France / AG2R)
8. Valerio Conti (Italy / Lampre)
9. Bob Jungels (Luxembourg / Trek)
10. Fabio Aru (Italy / Astana)
92. Philip Deignan (Team Sky) + 8 mins 31 secs
1. Michael Matthews (Australia / Orica) 13:30:44”
2. Nairo Quintana (Colombia / Movistar) +8”
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) +15”
4. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +19”
5. Damiano Caruso (Italy / Cannondale) +21”
6. Esteban Chaves (Colombia / Orica)
7. George Bennett (New Zealand / Cannondale) +24”
8. Haimar Zubeldia (Spain / Trek)
9. Alberto Contador (Spain / Tinkoff - Saxo) +27”
10. Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands / Belkin)
11. Robert Gesink (Netherlands / Belkin)
12. Samuel Sanchez (Spain / BMC Racing) +29”
13. Cadel Evans (Australia / BMC Racing)
14. Warren Barguil (France / Giant) +34”
15. Chris Froome (Britain / Team Sky) +35”
16. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Poland / Lampre) +40”
17. Lloyd Mondory (France / AG2R) +41”
18. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain / Katusha) +42”
19. Mikel Nieve (Spain / Team Sky)
20. Daniel Martin (Ireland / Garmin) +43”
92. Philip Deignan (Team Sky) + 10 mins 44 secs