Vuelta a España 2021
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) surfed the wheels perfectly and powered to the line to beat everyone to stage four victory at the Vuelta a España 2021 with a bike length gap over the rest.
Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) crashed in the final 3km which meant he does keep his red leaders jersey.
The three man break managed to hold on until 13km to go when the pace jumped up dramatically with just Taaramäe coming down. He looked to be okay and finished with a team-mate and doesn’t lose time due to the 3km time cut-off.
The day started in El Burgo de Osma with a 163.9km rolling route with no climbs that would cause any problems and a slight uphill finish in Molina de Aragón.
Three riders went up the road with two men from the Burgos-BH team in Angel Madrazo and Carlos Canal along with Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi) with Madrazo being the best placed at 7:25.
They were allowed a maximum gap of around five minutes by the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux team that was leading the peloton for the overall leader, Taaramäe.
Alpecin-Fenix did put one man up to the front to join the pacing with 100km to go that brought the gap down by 40 seconds as they worked for a second stage win for Jasper Philipsen.
The intermediate sprint with 62km to go was won by Bou with Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) leading in the peloton as Philipsen decided last moment to take the last remaining point ahead of Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange). This pace also saw the gap drop to 1:12.
The pace completely left both the break and the peloton with 50km to go with the gap sticking around 50 seconds with the race getting a bit, dare I say, dull. Fortunately, the pace did kick up as the wind did swirl a little bit, but nothing came of it.
The break’s gap dropped to 15 seconds but when the wind didn’t blow the gap went back to 50 seconds again with 25km to go.
Finally, the break was caught with 13km to go by the peloton led by Groupama-FDJ and Alpecin-Fenix.
All the sprint teams were joined by the GC riders in the final 7km to try and make the 3km mark so they didn’t lose any unnecessary time due to a crash or mechanical failure. They did stay near the front even in the final few KMs as they came into the last 2km.
Taaramäe hit the deck with 2.4km to go but keeps red due to the 3km cut off.
The pace became infernal after this crash as the route became very technical with multiple sprinters getting boxed out in the tight bends at high speed.
Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) was led in by his team perfectly but Jakobsen was slotted perfectly in the wheel. Jakobsen kicked round the Frenchman to win by a bike length in the end. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) held on for third with stage two winner, Philipsen, finishing down in ninth.
Stage five is a completely flat stage and is set to be yet another sprint stage with a stage from Tarancon to Albacete on a 184.4km route.
Stage 4 result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, in 3:43:07
2. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo
4. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Team DSM
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange
6. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
7. Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, all at the same time.
1. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, in 13:08:51
2. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo, at 25s
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 30s
4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Ag2r-Citroën Team, at 35s
5. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar Team, at 45s
6. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Movistar Team, 51s
7. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team, 57s
8. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, all at the same time
10. Mikel Landa (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 1:09.