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Vuelta Stage 4: Degenkolb Crushes All Comers

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Another day in Spain, another blast of sweltering temperatures and some climbs to thin the herd before the finish, another versatile sprinter taking the win.

Jose Jordan, Getty Images

It's hot in Spain. You might have heard this before, even in prior Vueltas, but it's HOT. Paired with two decently sized climbs along the route, the conditions thinned the peloton down to roughly 50 riders at the finish, a mixture of general classification riders, roulers, and heartier sprinters, including current red jersey Michael Matthews and John Degenkolb. With all the more pure fast men dispatched before the line, the stage looked like a duel between these two, and that's exactly what we were treated to in the final 200 meters.

Adam Hansen jumped early at roughly 1700 meters to go as the Orica-GreenEDGE leadout faltered. His advantage was decent, but with Giant-Shimano waiting in the wings waiting to launch their leadout, the odds never looked good for the Lotto Belisol rider and he was duly caught inside the final 500 meters. Dan Martin - second yesterday and containing a surprisingly fast kick in those climber legs of his - followed an accelerating Tony Martin at that point, a move that put him in an unenviable first wheel at 300 meters to go. While Martin hesitated, Vicente Reynès of IAM Cycling hit out at 300 meters. However, Degenkolb was not to be denied and easily easily outpaced everyone else to win by bike lengths. Predictable, but still fun to watch.

Results:

1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 4:02:55
2 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge
4 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
5 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp
6 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha
7 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9 Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team

Overall Classification:

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 13:30:44
2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:08
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:15
4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:19
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:21
6 Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica Greenedge
7 George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale 0:00:24
8 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:27
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team