Vuelta a Espana: Daniel Moreno wins stage four as Vincenzo Nibali regains overall lead
Daniel Moreno claimed victory on stage four of the Vuelta a Espana as Vincenzo Nibali regained the race lead.
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 28/08/13 5:21pm
Moreno (Katusha) launched a searing attack 600m out from the uphill finish at Fisterra and held off a strong counter from second-placed Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) and third-placed Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE).
Nibali (Astana) finished 16th, on the same time as Moreno, and now returns to the top of the general classification after previous leader Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) fell away in the closing stages and lost six seconds.
Moreno's triumph made amends for narrowly missing out on victory on stage two and continues an impressive season in which the Spaniard also won the Ardennes Classic La Fleche Wallonne.
'End of the World' stage
Stage four took the riders on a 189km route dubbed the "End of the World" stage due to its finish on a peninsula on the Atlantic coast.
A five-man breakaway was allowed to go clear and build up a maximum gap of over seven minutes, but with the brutally steep Mirador de Ezaro and its 30 per cent gradients waiting 36km from home, the pace in the peloton was ramped up as teams fought for prime position, and the gap consequently tumbled.
As expected, the climb blew the peloton to pieces and, at its steepest, a clutch of riders were forced to stop and dismount under the severe strain of the incline.
All of the main contenders for overall victory crested the summit at the head of the race, but all breakaway riders bar Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) were among the hordes of riders dropped.
Flecha ignites finale
Edet was soon joined by five other riders as a new breakaway group of six formed, but with RadioShack-Leopard setting a fierce pace in the now reformed peloton, their plight was futile and the last of them was caught 15km from home.
RadioShack-Leopard continued to lead the bunch on to the final, uncategorised rise to the finish but, despite being ripe for attacks, the peloton stayed as one on the lower slopes.
Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) finally made the first move 1km out, but he had no response to Moreno's stinging burst and everyone else was left to fight for scraps.
Stage four result
1 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha, 4:37:47
2 Fabian Cancellara (Sui) RadioShack-Leopard, same time
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE, st
4 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step, st
5 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin, st
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky, st
7 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
8 Warren Barguil (Fra) Argos-Shimano, st
9 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, st
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff, st
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 14:15:30
2 Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard, +3secs
3 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff, +8
4 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) RadioShack-Leopard, +16
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +21
6 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack-Leopard, +26
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky, +28
8 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha, +31
9 Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff, +38
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff, +42
- Green (points classification): Daniel Moreno (Katusha)
- Blue polka dot (mountains classification): Nicolas Roche (Ire) Saxo-Tinkoff