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Australian rider Michael Matthews remains the overall leader of the Tour of Spain after Germany’s John Degenkolb won Tuesday’s fourth stage, a 164.7-km ride from Mairena del Alcor to Cordoba.
Degenkolb, second in this year’s Paris-Roubaix one day classic, crossed the line ahead of Spaniard Vicente Reynes with Matthews in third after a fiercely-contested sprint finish.
Degenkolb, who picked up a stage on the Tour of Italy last year and victory in the Paris-Tours one day race, said he was delighted to have made up for missing out on Monday’s stage.
“I adore the Tour of Spain and the country itself,” he said.
“I am so happy to be here. Yesterday’s stage was disappointing for me as I was unable to follow the lead riders.”
“It was just I needed two days to get accustomed to the heat. My team-mates were there to help me and to support me too. It is terrific to win a stage of the Vuelta again,” added the German, who in the 2012 edition won five stages.
Matthews, who won two stages in the race last year, took the overall lead after winning Monday’s third stage.
The 23-year-old — who is racing the Vuelta as an after thought after he missed his main target Tour de France this year having suffered a hand injury just prior to it — leads two of the race favourites Nairo Quintana of Colombia and Alejandro Valverde in the overall standings.
Wednesday’s fifth stage is a 180km ride from Priego de Cordoba to Ronda.
— peloton magazine (@pelotonmagazine) August 26, 2014
Stage 4 Results
1. John Degenkolb (GER/GIA) 4h02min 55sec
2. Vicente Reynes (ESP/IAM) at same time
3. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI) s.t
4. Damiano Caruso (ITA/CAN) s.t
5. Daniel Martin (IRL/GRM) s.t
6. Alexandre Kolobnev (RUS/KAT) s.t
7. Lloyd Mondory (FRA/ALM) s.t
8. Valerio Conti (ITA/LAM) s.t
9. Bob Jungels (LUX/TRE) s.t
10. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) s.t
1. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI) 13h30min 44sec
2. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) at 8sec.
3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 0:15.
4. Rigoberto Uran (COL/OPQ) 0:19.
5. Damiano Caruso (ITA/CAN) 0:21.
6. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) 0:21.
7. George Bennett (NZL/CAN) 0:24.
8. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/TRE) 0:24.
9. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 0:27.
10. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN) 0:27.
13. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 0:29, 15. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 0:35.