Vuelta a Espana Stage 4: Race Goes Up, Anton Doesn't

Dani Moreno of Katusha hitched a ride to the line on Saxo's Chris Anker Sorensen and came by to win today's Vuelta a Espana stage to the Sierra Nevada ski resort, while the big favorites mostly kept themselves in check... with one exception. Euskaltel's Igor Anton dropped 1.24 to his rivals, having a bad day on the moderate slopes and wide highway to the Vuelta's highest point. Sorensen was the day's big star, towing Robert Kiserlovski up to the remnants of an early break including Moreno, and then attacking away with only the Spaniard for company. He picked the wrong company. If Anton was the day's biggest loser, Mark Cavendish came close, as the HTC sprinter climbed off his bike in disarray. Not that the Vuelta is any place for a stage sprinter.

The stage was an uncharacteristically early blow to the peloton, forcing guys to weigh the benefits of forcing the issue with some guys flagging versus the detriments of heating up the engine so far from Madrid. Add to that the gentle slopes (relatively) and the altitude (7000 feet) and you have a confusing set of circumstances for a grand tour. Anton, one hopes, has a plan for exploding over the later climbs, but the reality is that there are three decent mountain stages this week and the mind-numbing Angliru next, with little to gain in week three. Whether Anton can get up to speed in time to have a chance left remains to be seen, no later than this weekend.

Results!

  1. Dani Moreno, Katusha
  2. Chris Anker Sorensen, Saxo Bank, at 0.03
  3. Daniel Martin, Garmin-Cervelo, at 0.11
  4. Joaquim Rodriguez, Katusha, s.t.
  5. Przemyslaw Niemiec, Lampre, s.t.

Yesterday's heartbroken stage hunter is today's big winner, as Quick Step's Sylvain Chavanel had more left over than Red Jersey incumbent Pablo Lastras, who disappeared today. Chava takes the jersey:

  1. Sylvain Chavanel, Quick Step
  2. Moreno, at 0.43
  3. Jakob Fuglsang, Leopard, at 0.49
  4. Maxime Monfort, Leopard, s.t.
  5. Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, at 0.53
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