Dani Moreno won stage 4 of the Vuelta a España in Fisterra, Spain, on Tuesday. Moreno (Katusha) attacked late on the 2.5-kilometer finish ramp to seal victory in the 189km leg from Lalín/a Estrada.
Coming up short in his chase, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) was second and Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) was third.
“It was a spectacular victory, both the sprint so long, and here at Finsterre,” said Moreno. “I saw Movistar working, but I didn’t know Cancellara was coming behind. I knew a long attack to surprise the others would be the best chance. We’re working for ‘Purito’ [Joaquim Rodríguez], but some days are better for me, others are better for him. Every day we will be looking to take advantage when we can.”
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) displaced overnight leader Chris Horner (RadioShack), who lost six seconds on the stage, as the race’s overall leader. Unaware he had taken the red leader’s jersey, Nibali had to be transported to the finish from the buses at the bottom of the finish climb to the podium.
Nibali was part of a group of 21 riders awarded the same time as Moreno. The group also included overall contenders Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Rodríguez (Katusha).
“I am surprised because I didn’t try to contest the stage win,” said Nibali, who is looking to win his second Vuelta after also claiming the Giro d’Italia this year. “I stayed at the front of the peloton just to avoid risks and control things a bit, and in the end I have left with the leader’s jersey.”
Nibali leads Horner, winner of stage 3, by three seconds, and stage 2 winner Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) by eight seconds.
“There was a small gap at the end and that happens sometimes,” Horner said in a press release. “For me, it’s no problem since now I can finish the stage, return to the bus, shower, relax and prepare for the next stage. There is only a small time difference of three seconds, so we will try to take the jersey again when we go to the mountains. I’m going to always remember yesterday and how it felt to take the jersey, but the important day to have it is at the end. It’s not good for the sponsors to lose the jersey, of course, but it’s ok for now and I will use my good legs to get it back. I plan to have a fantastic Vuelta.”
The stage didn’t really come to life until the final stages as the peloton set a controlled pace throughout the day to prevent significant breakaways.
Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) had been part of an early five-man breakaway and attacked on his own after the short but incredibly steep climb up the Mirador de Ezaro, which included ramps with 30-percent gradient. However, the Frenchman was soon swallowed up the peloton, which then stayed together until the climb to the finish line.
The 68th Vuelta continues Wednesday with the 174km fifth leg, from Sober to Lago de Sanabria.