The consolation prize for Bennett's second place will be the green jersey, which he takes from Nairo Quintana. But no change in the red jersey standings as Nico Roche retains his two-second lead over Nairo Quintana. Thanks for joining me today and see you tomorrow for the first summit finish of the Vuelta.
Cullera - El Puig
Vuelta a España - 27 August 2019
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 12:19 on 27 August 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Neither knew who had won that after they crossed the line: Bennett had a better lunge but was coming from behind, and had to deviate his sprint a little after the Dutchman moved off his line to the left. Max Walscheid took third for Sunweb ahead of Fernando Gaviria and Luka Mezgec.
Victory for Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) ahead of Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Photo finish! Jakobsen is led out by Richeze and looks to have it - but Bennett could have pipped him right at the death!
Under the flamme rouge (which is actually dark green) they go. Cavagna has been caught. Bahrain Merida and Bauhaus move up but Sam Bennett is out of position...
It's Bora who are leading the chase but Jakobsen appears to be well placed.
They're closing in on Cavagna slowly but surely. The Frenchman is dying a thousand deaths and will be caught before the flamme rouge. Still three more roundabouts to go...
They're through the magic 3km marker so some riders will start to sit up now.
Cavagna is still out ahead after digging deep into the pain cave. He almost came a cropper on that last roundabout - as did many of the riders in the pack behind - and he has around 10 seconds.
Cavagna still has a decent gap on the peloton. It probably means QuickStep don't think much of Jakobsen's efforts. And the Frenchman has a whole roundabout's lead over his chasers.
Roundabouts galore! And they're taking their toll on the already streamlined pack, which is in disarray. Remi Cavagna of Deceuninck-QuickStep takes advantage to zip clear.
Wout Poels and Jesus Herrada have been caught out in that split, as has Louis Meintjes.
Big Tony Martin has now come to the front to keep Primoz Roglic out of trouble. It's very flat and exposed with a bit of wind, so they could be worried about echelons and splits.
A lot of riders are losing contact off the back of the peloton so there could be some time losses today if some of the GC guys have not been attentive.
Now EF Education First have come to the front with four riders - just because they can. Astana and Sunweb are near the front, too. Ineos aren't anywhere to be seen - no surprise, for their race is effectively over until the terrain suits a breakaway for either Poels or Geoghegan Hart.
Rear wheel puncture for Thomas De Gendt, who will miss the hectic finale now. Expect him to be in the break tomorrow for the first summit finish of the race - making this probably a puncture of convenience.
Groupama-FDJ come to the front working for their sprinter Marc Sarreau, who could only make 11th yesterday. Sunweb are also in the mix to keep Roche out of trouble while protecting their sprinter Max Walscheid, who was 14th yesterday.
Wallays looks to have given up. He's outpaced the storm but couldn't defy the peloton. He wasn't helped by Cubero's mechanical.
Just 32 seconds now for Wallays. So, who can take it to Bennett in the sprint? Fabio Jakobsen couldn't keep up with his leadout train yesterday; Fernando Gaviria was dropped on the final climb; Luka Mezgec was the quickest finisher but left it too late; Edward Theuns seens to have a better knack of coming second rather than first. They're the main rivals the Irishman will have to contend with.
It's all over for Cubero but Wallays is not throwing in the towel just yet. He still has 45 seconds and will be hoping for a repeat of last year's Stage 18 heroics.
Lone leader Wallays has 40 seconds on Cubero and 1'10" on the peloton.
John Degenkolb is off the back of the peloton again - he seems to be suffering from a series of setbacks and I imagine Trek will give sprinting duties to Edward Theuns again after the Belgian finished second behind Bennett yesterday.
Game over for Jorge Cubero, who has a mechanical issue with his derailleur and needs assistance from the neutral service car. It will be unlikely that the Spaniard catches Wallays up ahead before the peloton catches him.
QuickStep have now come to the front and are driving the peloton along at quite a fair lick following the descent. The gap is still 1'40" but the pack is all lined out now with the race well and truly on.
Angel Madrazo has zipped clear of the peloton in the hunt of the final KoM point over the top. The Spaniard is currenty leading the polka dot jersey standings so this could consolidate his grip on the climbers' competition. He takes third after his teammate Cubero went over behind Wallays around 1'35" earlier.
The rain appears to have stopped now. The Trek rider in trouble was John Degenkolb and he's now being paced back by teammate Niklas Eg.
Dropped chain or a touch of wheels from one of the Trek riders, who has stopped in the middle of this sodden road with a teammate. Astana and Jumbo-Visma have come to the front.
It's raining cats and dogs now - or should we say, gatos y perros.
We're onto the Cat.3 Puerto del Oronet (5.8km at 4.5%). The gap for the two leaders is still 1'25".
Wallays and Cubero share out the spoils in the intermediate sprint at Naquera before Ag2R-La Mondiale send a couple of riders ahead of the pack to mop up the final points and bonus second. It's Pierre Latour. Wallays was the man who 'won' the sprint. Meanwhile, Rigo Uran is receiving some attention to his left elbow after that crash. He'll hope to get it bandaged up before the climb so that he doesn't lose contact should there be any action.
Uran and five EF teammates are almost back with the pack after that spill.
CRASH: Rigoberto Uran and Mitch Docker touch wheels and hit the deck. They're surrounded by other EF Education First teammates. Uran was not happy there and gesticulated towards Docker, who he clearly thought was to blame for that one...
With the gap down to just 1'25" the riders are heading ever closer to those stormy skies. They're 6km away from the intermediate sprint which precedes the only categorised climb of the day.
The riders have passed through the town of L'Eliana where tomorrow's stage begins. The locals are big fans of swimming pools - although you can say that about the Spanish in general. Can you blame them?
The pace is slow today - well slower than the slowest average speed forecast. The gap is 2'15" for the two escapees whose chances of staying out are about as big as Boris Johnson's still being Prime Minister this time in a year.
Nice tough. Although pro cycling must be one of the only places in life where people are celebrated for handing out their rubbish to strangers.
The gap has come down to under three minutes now but there's still no sign of the rain that's expected to blight the end of this stage.
Bora and QuickStep have a rider each on the front - Pawel Poljanski and Tim Declercq respectively - ahead of the Sunweb train. Interesting to see no presence from UAE Team Emirates, who sent Oliviero Troia on pacing duties yesterday, but whose sprinter Fernando Gaviria was dropped on the final climb and did not contest the sprint.
Rafa Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) was involved in that earlier crash but seems to be back in the bunch, which is passing through the feed zone with a deficit of four minutes. Aritz Bagües (Euskadi-Murias) came off the worst in the crash and has a sore wrist, but has not thrown in the towel.
Tim Declercq comes to the front to help with the chase. He'll be hoping for a better showing from Deceuninck-QuickStep's sprinter Fabio Jakobsen today after the Dutch champion was dropped on the climb yesterday before fighting back but only managing seventh place in Alicante.
The gap is 4'35" for our two leaders, Wallays and Cubero, who have been out pretty much since kilometre zero.
TRANSFER NEWS: We're hearing that the out-of-contract Wout Poels will join Bahrain-Merida next season, where he'll team up with former teammate Mikel Landa. Also tipped to join the Italian team is Mark Cavendish and Bernie Eisel from Dimension Data. It looks like Rod Ellingworth - the former Sky coach who has joined Bahrain Merida - is getting the old band back together.
We're hearing that there's an 80% chance of rain between here and the finish. Race leader Nico Roche is on red alert...
Kruijswijk was third in July's Tour de France and fourth in last year's Vuelta. He struggled on Sunday following that opening day crash, crossing the line in Calpe 1'43" down on the winner Nairo Quintana. We're hearing knee pain was the cause of his withdrawal.
And here's what Kruijswijk himself had to say about it...
This was the incident which saw most of the Jumbo-Visma team - including Kruijswijk - hit the deck on Sunday, with a leaking paddling pool apparently the cause of the water on the road.
CRASH: Numerous riders have hit the deck. Bahrain Merida, Bora-Hansgrohe, Mitchelton-Scott and EF Education First were all involved in that spill.
We're not sure what happened to Kruijswijk but the Dutchman did hit the deck badly in that opening day TTT crash for Jumbo-Visma before conceding time on the Cumbre del Sol climb in Sunday's Stage 2. He's clearly more bashed up than we thought - and that will be a blow for his team and leader Primoz Roglic.
We're hearing that Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) has abandoned the Vuelta.
We may have done Cubero a slight injustice earlier. Sure, he's no big winner, but he was twice the most combative rider during his maiden Vuelta last year. He's back for a second bite of the apple this year after a bad crash in the Volta a Catalunya derailed most his season.
Nairo Quintana is in the green jersey today once again despite being tied for points with Sam Bennett. Here's why...
The leaders covered 39.6km in the first hour of racing today - which is fewer kilometres than the trio yesterday, despite the more favourable terrain. That could be something to do with the cross headwind.
The Bora-Hansgrohe team of yesterday's winner Sam Bennett have come to the front to help out Nicolas Roche's Sunweb team in a quasi-Irish alliance. The gap for the two leaders is 6'48". I'm going to zip down to the Eurosport canteen to pick up some lunch. Back in a (brown) jiffy.
Here's how Wallays held off the rampaging peloton to win that stage last year...
Thirty-year-old Wallays is riding his fourth consecutive Vuelta for Lotto Soudal. Last year, he won Stage 18 in Lleida after he and fellow escapee Sven Erik Bystrom held off a late charge from Peter Sagan and Elia Viviani in the peloton. That was the seventh and by far the biggest win of his career - although he did also win Paris-Tours in 2014 and Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2015.
This is 26-year-old's second successive Vuelta appearance for Burgos-BH. He completed his maiden Grand Tour last year in 89th place with his best finish being 22nd, according to the gospel that is Procyclingstats. He has no pro wins to his name; indeed, his best ever result is apparently 17th place in the Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja in 2016.
With the gap up to six minutes now, Jelle Wallays is 1'45" away from being the virtual red jersey. As for Cubero, he's 16'44" down on GC so will have no lofty aspirations besides some TV time today.
The gap is pushing five minutes now for our two leaders with the Sunweb team of red jersey Nicolas Roche doing their duty and controlling the tempo on the front of the pack.
If you missed yesterday's action, here are some highlights...
They may have come first and second in the Tour de France, but Team Ineos are having a shocker in Spain with their two GC riders - Wout Poels and Tao Geoghegan Hart - shipping the best part of 10 minutes in Stage 2 on the Cumbre del Sol climb around 40km from the finish. Here's what our social worker Bradley Wiggins had to say about it...
The advantage of our two plucky escapees - who, given today's terrain, are clearly on to a hiding to nothing - is up to three minutes.
It's not often that it's warmer in south England than it is on the Balearic coast south of Valencia - but that's the case today. While the UK is engulfed in another heatwave, it's a sunny buy more tolerable 26 degrees in Cullera.
An early two-man attack comes from Belgium's Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) and Spain's Jorge Cubero (Burgos-BH). No response from the peloton.
They're off! The remaining 175 riders - just the one withdrawal: Mickael Delage of Groupama - roll through the neutral zone and get today's stage under way.
Irish riders have a good relationship with Cullera, which bodes well for the men of the moment - Bennett and Roche...
Here's what's on the cards today: The likes of Fernando Gavria, Fabio Jakobsen and Luka Mezgec will have the chance to make amends in the 175.5km fourth stage, which features just the one categorised climb ahead of a flat and fast finish north of Valencia. But with Bennett in the form that he is, it will take something special to stop the Irishman romping to a 13th win of the season.
Here's the state of play going into today's stage with Roche holding a two-second lead over Nairo Quintana, the Stage 2 winner, on the nascent GC.
Yesterday, Ireland’s Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) notched a maiden win on La Vuelta with an emphatic sprint win in Stage 3 ahead of Belgium’s Edward Theuns and Slovenia’s Luka Mezgec. On a great day for Ireland, Bennett’s countryman Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) retained the red jersey after a straight-forward day in southeastern Spain.
Hola and welcome to live coverage of Stage 4 of the Vuelta a Espana - a largely flat 175.5km schlep from Cullera to El Puig.