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23/08/16 - 12:29
Betanzos - Mirador Vixía de Herbeira
Vuelta a España • Stage4

Betanzos - Mirador Vixía de Herbeira
Vuelta a España - 23 August 2016

Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 12:29 on 23 August 2016. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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It's confirmed: Darwin Atapuma is the new race leader, by 29 seconds over Valverde.


The remnants of the break come over the line in dribs and drabs. Meanwhile, the favourites battle it out to cross the line 2:06 down on Calmejane just after passing Axel Domont ahead of the finish.


Darwin Atapuma (BMC) pips Ben King (Cannondale-Drapac) for second place and the six bonus seconds. Has he done enough to take the red jersey?


Victory for France's Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie).


He's going to do it. Calmejane does up his jersey, smiles to the crowd and gets ready... it will be Direct Energie / Europcar's first World Tour win since June 2013.


The road flattens out a little as Calmejane goes under the flamme rouge before the road ramps up to the finish. He still has about 20-odd seconds so he should hold on... Atapuma has been joined by Zeits and King in pursuit.


Atapuma passes under the 2-to-go banner with a small gap over the other chasers. It's probably too late for the stage win, but he should take the red jersey...


Just 2km remaining for Calmejane now who is within sniffing distance of a maiden Grand Tour win. Back with the peloton, Team Sky's Peter Kennaugh has attacked but to little fanfare.


Rolland has been caught by five riders - including his team-mate King and Atapuma. And it's Atapuma the Colombian who puts in a big attack - he must know that the pack is closing in and his red jersey drive is in the balance...


His jersey undone and flapping in the wind, Calmejane tackles the start of the climb with gusto. What a start to his Grand Tour career this would be. No sign of Rolland or the others so his lead must be bigger than we first thought. Yes, it's about 25 seconds now back to Rolland, with the others about 10 seconds further back.


Calmejean is on that downhill section ahead of the final steep rise to the finish. He has a small gap over Pierre Rolland who rides just ahead of the other escapees... it's perfectly poised.


Many riders have been spat out of the peloton - including Tejay Van Garderen (BMC). The gap is down to 3:30 for the lone leader Calmejane and the escapees...


Calmejane hits a flat section on this first ascent and has one rider in pursuit. It looks like Rolland. This is the 23-year-old's maiden Grand Tour, by the way.


Domont has been caught by 10 riders, including Cannondale pair Rolland and King. Atapuma is there so he's looking good for the red jersey. And there's a counter attack from Calmejane of Direct Energie.


Quite a nice vista from the summit today, it has to be said...


Tinkoff and Team Sky have come to the front of the pack for their men Contador and Froome ahead of this final climb, which should blow the pack apart. Meanwhile, Domont continues his lone ride out ahead. No time checks back to the other escapees just yet but he has 4:10 on the pack. Oh, the Frenchman has 30 seconds apparently...


Right, we're onto the final climb to the finish: the Cat.2 Mirador Vixia de Herbeira (11.2km at 4.8%). If the average gradient sounds low that's because there's a small downhill segment in the middle. In reality the final 4.5km has an average gradient of 7.5% on exposed roads over looking the sea - so the riders can also expect an Atlantic sea breeze.


Scrap that, the intermediate sprint has come and gone, with Stybar taking the points ahead of King and De Gendt - just before Domont launched his attack.


Madrazo's dig came to nothing and Domont then has yet another go at pulling clear. He's clearly very motivated in getting a win today. This time it's fourth time lucky and the Frenchman opens a gap ahead of the intermediate sprint and final climb.


Now Angel Madrazo breaks clear. The Caja Rural rider is a former team-mate of Valverde at Movistar and is riding his third Vuelta. He also has some important fans watching him today at home...


No can do: Domont is reeled in. But it's official, we're going to have two battles today: one for the stage, the other for GC. For the gap is up to 5:30 for the escapees.


Ben King and Zdenek Stybar have a pop but they're reeled in. The Axel Domont has another go for Ag2R-La Mondiale, and the French pocket-rocket finally opens up a bit of air between himself and the fellow escapees.


Now Thomas De Gendt has a go. He's won on the Stelvio in the Giro, he's won on Mont Ventoux in the Tour. Is the Belgian about to add San Andres de Teixido to that list??


It's still pretty feisty in the break with the attacks coming in thick and fast. Six odd have gone clear but it won't come to anything. Atapuma is near the back and doesn't seem to concerned by these early preliminaries... The gap is up to five minutes.


The break has been invigorated by that attack by Domont and now the pace is much higher, with the gap coming out to 4:45 accordingly. It looks like this one will go the distance so we could well see a new rider in red tonight, with Atapuma the clear danger man.


Axel Domont (Ag2R-La Mondiale) has a dig on the front of the break and causes a split after a handful or riders react. Someone needed to do something because the break wasy stagnating a little - albeit still with a 4min+ advantage over the pack.


The jerseys are all a bit confused today... Fernandez is in red and Valverde in the white combined jersey. Yesterday's winner Alexandre Geniez leads both the points and mountains classification and has opted for the green jersey, so it's Swiss youngster Simon Pellaud who wears the blue polka dots. The IAM Cycling rider is second in the KOM standings - although not for much longer for De Gendt now has 6pts to Geniez's 10pts.


While we wait for the fireworks, here's a video of the top five moments from yesterday's stage 3 for you to feast your eyes upon...

Video - Geniez, Angel Lopez, Contador... Top 5 moments from stage 3


It's the calm before the storm here with Movistar riding en bloc ahead of Sky and Tinkoff on the front of the pack. The gap is 4:40 so it's very much a stalemate for now. Yesterday Alberto Contador distanced Froome on the final climb before cracking and conceding 28 seconds. He's now 1:31 down on GC after his Tinkoff team's terrible opening TTT. The Spaniard remains upbeat, however. "The race isn't over, by any means," Contador told Spanish newspaper AS. "The differences aren't so big overall, even if it wasn't a good day for me overall. I don't feel at all satisfied even if I think my form will get better over the coming days. I'll have to wait for other opportunities."


Movistar have taken up the chase again as the riders tackle one of the many uncategorised climbs in this rolling stage. The gap is 4:35 so it's still touch and go for this large 20-man break, which includes a raft of riders who could do well in today's uphill finale: the likes of Battaglin, Domont, Atapuma, De Gendt, Rolland... Can they hold on like Geniez yesterday or will the pack swallow them up before the finish?


Ever wondered what's in a musette? Well, thanks to Cannondale-Drapac's kindly social media person, here's your answer. Basically, a load of gels, energy bars and sweet treats, with a load of ice and what appears to be an old brown sock.


The peloton slows for musettes as it passes through the feed zone. The gap is 4:30 for the 20 leaders. The average speed after two hours of racing today was 42.2km/h.


Team Sky have now come to the front of the peloton as the gap rises above the four-minute mark. Sky had the first two race leaders in this Vuelta in Peter Kennaugh and Michal Kwiatkowski before Fernandez took over the baton yesterday.


The gap is 3:45 for the 20 leaders which means Darwin Atapuma of BMC is comfortably in the virtual red jersey position. The Colombian was 1:35 down on Fernandez this morning, in 14th place.


One big casualty yesterday was Colombian youngster Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana, the Tour de Suisse winner and Grand Tour debutant, who crashed badly ahead of the final climb, chipped two teeth and cut his upper lip. Lopez eventually rolled over the line 12+ minutes down to see his GC hopes reduced to tatters. In his temporal absence, Italian veteran Michele Scarponi takes over as race leader for Astana - although he's already 2+ mins down on GC.


It's the Movistar team of red jersey Fernandez and white points jersey Valverde who control the pace on the front of the peloton, which trails the leaders by a rounded 3:33. It appears that Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) has been dropped by the leading group, which is down to 20 riders after that second climb.


We've had some withdrawals today: Vincente Reynes (IAM Cycling) and Federico Zurlo (Lampre-Merida) became the second and third riders to pull out after yesterday's adieu to ill Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin).


This break formed after 40km of riding today on yet another cloudless, but cooler, day in Galicia. There had been earlier attempts for riders to form a break but everything was thwarted by the high pace of the Movistar team. Indeed, when Movistar's Ruben Fernandez - the red jersey - got himself into a 19-man lead, Chris Froome's Team Sky inevitably led the chase to neutralise the lead. Fernandez moved into the lead after yesterday's stage with his second-place over the line, which he erroneously believed was a victory. The Spaniard leads team-mate Alejandro Valverde by 7secs on GC with Froome in third at 11secs. Two Colombians, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange), complete the top five a further six seconds back.


The riders have already crested the summit of two Cat.3 climbs with De Gendt taking the maximum 3pts over the Alto de Serra Capela with 135km remaining ahead of Egor Silin (Katusha - 2pts) and Rolland (1pt). That was before the break formed but it was the same story over the Alto de Monte Caxado with 110km remaining with the Belgian taking 3pts ahead of Domont and Madrazo.


The 21 riders are: Darwin Atapuma (BMC), Enrico Battaglin (Lotto NL-Jumbo), Andrey Zeits (Astana), Nikias Arndt and Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin), Axel Domont (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep), Ben King and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac), Nathan Haas and Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data), Lawrence Warbasse and Marcel Wyss (IAM Cycling), Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Cesare Benedetti and Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon18), Angel Madrazo and Jaime Roson (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie).


We pick up the race live with just over 100 kilometres remaining and a break of 21 riders currently have an advantage of 2:20 over the peloton.


Hola and welcome to live coverage of stage 4 of the Vuelta a Espana - a rolling 163.5km stage from Betanzos to San Andres de Teixido which culminates with the race's second summit finish and the third of three categorised climbs.