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Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 4 Preview

Alberto Contador took yesterday’s stage and it looks like the race for the red jersey is over. The climbing isn’t and today presents a sharp summit finish. Revenge for Chris Froome, confirmation for Contador or the chance for a new name to emerge.

Stage 3 Wrap
A clear win for Alberto Contador who was dropped into place by his Tinkoff-Saxo team with Ivan Basso the last to set the pace before the Spaniard took off. In fact Basso’s pace was so strong he’d towed Contador clear with only a few riders able to follow. Then Contador went clear, he appeared to be checking his power meter a lot initially but it later turned out to be faulty, he blamed interference from TV signals. The move was vintage Contador, he can be impossible to follow but doesn’t keep riding away, he gets a gap then manages and preserves the lead. Yesterday he took 30 seconds within one kilometre – although the TV time captions were off at times – and maintained this advantage most of the way up the long climb. Behind Sky’s Peter Kennaugh was leading the chase with Romain Bardet behind and initially Froome was nowhere to be seen, at least on TV. But Froome came past the others. Contador was clearly superior but Froome’s time for the climb will have been close.

Rutal Del Sol

Stage 4 Preview
As the profile shows there’s another summit finish. This one is shorter than yesterday but has 3.5km at over 10%, one for the pure climbers again. See altimetras.net for the full profile.

Yesterday’s climb helped establish a hierarchy to the race and today it’s likely riders far down on GC are given some more leeway: Tinkoff-Saxo can contain the race but don’t need to neutralise everyone. Contador is still the obvious pick, this time he only needs to track Chris Froome and then pip in the sprint. The shorter climb should suit Romain Bardet more and Tim Wellens too.

Alberto Contador
Chris Froome, Mikel Nieve, Romain Bardet
Wellens, Kudus, Inxausti, Reichenbach

Weather: cloudy with rain at times and a top temperature of 10°C with a light crosswind for the long approach to the final climb.

TV: live on Eurosport with the finish forecast for around 3.45pm. Tune by 3.00pm to watch them approach the climb. For more viewing options, as ever cyclingfans.com and steephill.tv have links to live feeds.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alex Saturday, 21 February 2015, 3:00 am

    Alberto was regal today, though Froome was best of the rest by a long shot, too. Cool to have HC racing so early in the season. Such a treat compared to the flat boring sand dune stages that have infested The early season.

    • The Inner Ring Saturday, 21 February 2015, 9:33 am

      The action in the crosswinds is good although reserved for classics fans who want something extra. But yesterday in Oman wasn’t flat at all and today, sandstorms permitted, isn’t either, a very tough climb too. But it’s not on TV.

  • Ian Saturday, 21 February 2015, 4:06 am

    It was hard to tell from the patchy coverage, but it seemed that Froome was badly positioned in the approach to the final climb. Kennaugh was where he needed to be, but Nieve was off the back before the action started. It was like he had had a mechanical or something and was working to regain his position, but never quite got there (although he finished well in the end). Part of the problem was that the front group got caught up with the slow auto/moto cavalcade on the tricky descent into the foot of the climb, but if anything that disadvantaged Saxo-Tinkoff – they were pushing off the front by that stage. Then when they hit the climb proper, Basso was very impressive in just motoring away with Contador in tow. Froome must have climbed very, very fast to get back to Kennaugh and Bardet. Big chapeau for Kennaugh. He helped motivate Froome in that initial phase when he’d been left behind. Then Froome got his rythmn and slowly started to chip away to Contador, but not fast enough. I think the two looked fairly close in terms of form, but that Saxo-Tinkoff worked better as a team than Sky…

  • channel_zero Saturday, 21 February 2015, 7:19 am

    RoboBasso returns by riding everyone in the WT off their wheel.

    Hmm. Something sure sounds familiar about that but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

    • The Inner Ring Saturday, 21 February 2015, 9:35 am

      Since returning from his ban Basso is famous for being able to ride at a fast tempo uphill, yesterday he blew after a kilometre, the suspicion would be if he followed Contador all the way up, just like he did with Armstrong. If he’s up to know good he’s not very good at it.

  • LeoA Saturday, 21 February 2015, 8:45 am

    Isn’t that the same Basso who was dumped by a certain DS when things got a bit tricky? Now they are reunited and IB looks like he could go up the Zoncolan on 52×11. That DS must have found a way to inspire him again….

  • Anonymous Saturday, 21 February 2015, 9:03 am

    I thought Basso had run out of steam years ago, seems I was wrong.

  • Ian Saturday, 21 February 2015, 10:21 am

    I thought Nieve did brilliant yesterday to ride from last at the bottom of the climb to finish 5th.. He might be given the nod today to attack if his legs are that good, I think he could win today. Contador could win but does he need to put himself in to the red so early in the season? He can just mark and follow today..

    http://www.cyclingbetting.co.uk/vuelta-a-andalucia-2015#stage-4

    • Andrew Saturday, 21 February 2015, 4:59 pm

      Nearly right. He tried to mark… but he couldn’t follow!

  • Adrian Holman Saturday, 21 February 2015, 6:56 pm

    Froome 1 – 1 Contador

  • Anonymous Saturday, 21 February 2015, 7:52 pm

    Nicolas Edet still in the top ten, with only one stage left to go. Very nice.