Vuelta a España Stage 4 Preview

A summit finish. Sunday’s stage had a hilly finish, today is mountainous and we should get more of a selection above Alfacar.

Stage 3 Review: Elia Viviani won.

The Route: the best part of 50km along the coast past frolicking beach-goers before flicking inland for the Alto de la Cabra Montès, literally “mountain goat” climb. It’s not that bad but still almost 16km long at 5.9% and the average is lower thanks to a brief descent early on meaning once that’s done it’s an Alpine 6-8% for the remaining 10km to the top and so a big interest for the mountains competition, currently lead by local rider Luis Angel Maté of Cofidis. After the feedzone there’s an unmarked climb of 6km including 6% for the final kilometre.

Puerto Alfacar

The Finish: the Puerto de Alfacar is an average of 12km at 5.4% and the Spanish media relayed stories of 20% ramps but the final route is not that steep. It is hard with 7km to go as they climb out of the town of Alfacar with a 12-14% section before leaving town and a more steady ascent of 6% before easing to 3% for the finish.

The Contenders: another Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) duel? The most likely scenario but the final climb is long and selective and it’ll be more every rider for themselves than Sky and Movistar ejecting everyone, so a late attack could pay off. But who? This is a summit finish but it’s not a mountain stage, the peloton won’t be ragged by the time they reach the final climb so pure climbers like Fabio Aru or Nairo Quintana will find it hard to dance away. George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) pack a punch for the flatter finish but they’ll have to slip away to win the stage.

Alejandro Valverde, Michał Kwiatkowski
Simon Yates
Bennett, Pinot, Kelderman

Weather: hot, sunny and a few clouds around. 35°C even at altitude.

Tune in: the finish is forecast for 5.40pm CEST.

38 thoughts on “Vuelta a España Stage 4 Preview”

    • I think the likes of Sky and Movistar are likely to set a strong pace but there’s a chance. There should be more chances for the breakaways in the coming days, remember in the Giro almost no breakaways stayed away but the Vuelta seems to offer more chances.

  1. I didn’t get to see the start of the stage, but the profile suggested a reasonably tough climb at the start and apparently a few riders were dropped. Did any teams, maybe Trek, try and drop Viviani?

  2. I think Tiesj Benoot will try to take his first GT stage today. He probably knows the routes from all the Sierra Nevada training camps and a tough but steady climb after a selective but not too mountainous course seems to be an ideal match for his talents. Of course it’s always possible a punchier rider overtakes him in the final metres but I can see him make it happen.

  3. I actually feel a bit sorry for the TdF… a stage like yday would have generated a 100 comment thread about how it’s such a boring race and the Giro and Vuelta are sooo much better…

    • It was nowhere near a dull flat TdF sprinter stage.
      The stage was entertaining when Campenaerts and Pöstlberger bridged to the break and Campenaerts was near virtual lead. Would have been another outcome if he didn’t crash cause he wanted to much.

    • Indeed. The same with the fans at the Tour „attacking“ froome and sky. Thousands of people were not ashamed to say: it is only the french, who are that way, it is only at the Tour, that people use flares, run besides riders and spit at them.

      It seems they forgot about the flares ar Milano-Sanremo every single year (just one example, there are more), it seems they forgot about the countless other races, where people run besides riders (at the american races it is especially appaling. Also shortly before the finish in L-BL etc), it also seems they forgot the person spitting at froome at the giro just a few months before the Tour and so forth. The same fondness of adapting the truth to their prejudices occured when a person was „attacking“, meaning touching, froome. The same person had touched Quintana in the same way he touched froome, yet people felt no shame to say „it is the fault of the french, that sky and froome get attacked, blablabla.“. That it wasn‘t aimed at sky didn‘t fit their narrative, so it was not mentioned.

      I think it was at the giro (but might have been another race, am unsure) a few years ago, before social media luckily, where a person tried to „attack“ a rider. That was how it looked like. People demanded all kinds of punishment and consequences and said the usual „things get worse every year, something must happen, how can the organiser let this happen!“ In truth it was totally different. It was found, that the person was mentally challenged (I don‘t know the right english word, so sorry, if this should be insensitive). He was so overjoyed to see the race, that he wanted to touch the riders, which was nice, but really dangerous. The person with him was hindered through people rushing towards the race and so it got quite critical for a second. What I mean with this is: Judging from a tv screen the intention and nationality of a person is not only wrong, but also dumb. It also is irresponsible, because it further detoriates respect and decency. Not to say the Tour or the french are perfect and all was perfect, but they, like all others, deserve to be treated fairly.

      Personally I think chris froome should be really quiet re aggression and look at himself first. I don‘t think any other rider has pushed away or hit fans as often as he did. At least I never saw another rider doing it as often as froome. I still see in my mind the picture of him hitting a person running beside him directly on the side of the head – and nothing happened to froome for that, although it was the second or third time he did it (not in the same race, I mean in general).

      Sorry for hijacking your comment, Noel, but I am still angry about all that unfairness and irresponsibility.

      • Vincenzo Nibali is only the most prominent of several riders and DS to critize the policing and stewarding of the TDF. Nibali commented that ‘ people hit Froome while he is riding, he never complains, but he has a right to do his job without being attacked’ ( my translation). Nibalis team are pursuing legal action against the Tour for failing to ensure the safety of riders on the course.

        These are facts, not wild accusations and reccomendations that one particular team and rider should not be entitled to race in safety.

        • How is this comment section on Froome topic, when the article covers the 4th stage of Vuelta? Do you guys don’t have a real life? Not everything in the cycling world is about Froome. ffs.

          • The cycling world seems to be missing him already. It’s quite ironic considering everyone seems to complain when he is competing.

          • “Anonymous August 28, 2018 at 6:39 pm
            a bunch of anglo commentators here or at cyclingnews, is not “the cycling world””

            Yet it very much seems to be a French cycling fan that started this particular thread…

  4. I don’t for a single second imagine that Kwiatkowski is going to win the Vuelta but what about Valverde? Oh I know he will have Unzue’s bad tactics to overcome but he’s as evergreen as ever and always hungry for a win. With others deciding they are here for training or simply can’t cope with the heat it will come down to whoever is left and Bala is never one to say no to a top step. And he’d hardly be the oldest winner.

    • How high do they go in Andorra? Do yo think he prefers a Vuelta title to a Worlds? The Worlds are basically the one win within his graps that has kept eluding him for so many years.

    • Sorry, no. High mountains with multiple climbs will do for him. But Simon Yates could very well win it if he can avoid getting too excited and having a Gro-style epic collapse.

    • He’s been a little inconsistent in the past but, his decent TT and placing on stage 2 hopefully mean hes going to be on decent form for whole 3 weeks.

    • The only question mark for Wilco is about his recent surgery and how recovered is he. But the prolog and Stage 2 medium hill finish show he’s where he needs to be so far.

Comments are closed.