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Vuelta Stage 4: Sprints are Fun...

It’s a race to the coast with a bunch kick at the end, I suppose.

Vuelta shot JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images

This stage is early enough in the race that I don’t really feel like doing that whole “hang your head, what’s the point of this” schtick that I’ve done before in previews of sprints, but I cannot emphasise enough how big a waste of a day watching this stage will be. There’s not enough wind, not enough climbing and not enough motivation to make anything out of it. So tomorrow I suggest reading the Podium Cafe livethread and catching up on whatever you might otherwise skip until the sprint.

Stage 4: Escaldes-Engordany - Tarragona (198.2 km)



The stage is gently downhill for the most part, with close enough to two hundred kilometres of terrain to which a Vuelta peloton may be unused — just one categorised climb awaits them en route to the finish line, and I’d hazard a guess that the Alto de Belltall isn’t going to pose much of a problem, all thirteen kilometres of it at under three per cent.

Whom Does it Favor?

Sprinters, of course, though there’s a chance that even they aren’t the hugest fans of bunch kicks in Spain and let a break go away.

Did You Know?

You might miss it on the profile, but this stage actually starts in Andorra, leaving the country, along with the parish (yes, parish) of Escaldes-Engordany. And there I thought cycling was an escape from parishes. I’m no expert about Andorra, the three facts I can come up with off the top of my head are: mobile phone charges are through the roof, nobody pays any tax, and the one with which I’m about to bore you. Andorra’s government comes in the form of a diarchy. This means it is ruled by two co-princes. Or was, at least, there’s now a democratic body, but tradition means that the heads of state are the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell, the Catholic diocese which covers the principality. There, bet you didn’t expect a lecture on Andorran politics when you clicked on this article.

Pick to Win

Hmm, this looks to me like it’s between Trentin, Theuns and Modolo. Trentin probably doesn’t quite have the fast-twitch kick of the other two and Theuns looked the stronger on Saturday, so he’s my pick for this one.