Vuelta a Burgos general classification leader Anthony Roux (FDJ) consolidated his lead in the overall standings after taking victory on Saturday’s stage four.
It was Daniele Ratto (Cannondale) however, who crossed the line first on the 162km penultimate stage, but was later disqualified from the stage standings for forcing France’s Roux into the barriers on the right hand side of the finishing bend during the closing sprint.
The run into the finish line was a difficult, twisting course and presented the only real opportunity to the pure sprinters.
With only one categorised climb on the day’s stage, a breakaway seemed inevitable and it came to fruition just before the riders hit the climb.
Four men took up task, including Efren Carazo (Burgos BH), Ricardo Garcia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Aritz Bagües (Euskadi) and Romain Hardy (Cofidis) and worked together well to hold out until there was only 20km to go.
Roux’s FDJ team put in a huge effort to bring back the escapees, while Orica-GreenEDGE worked with them to up the tempo of the peloton.
Astana took the initiative going into the closing metres in an attempt to help Simone Ponzi’s GC contentions, but the Italian ultimately came up short as Roux held on to his two second advantage.
Sky celebrated some success on stage four after an opening to the race which saw a number of their riders crash out, as Britain’s Luke Rowe took fourth on the stage and Dario Cataldo looks set to hold on for a top ten finish overall.
Tomorrow’s stage takes the riders from Comunero de Revenga to Lagunas de Neilain on a testy 170km finale where FDJ will be looking to secure Roux a major win.
Stage four result
1 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr, 3:54:59
2 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team, same time
3 Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, st
4 Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky Procycling, st
5 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, st
1 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ, 15:02:08
2 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana, +2sec
3 Sergey Chernetskiy (Rus) Katusha, same time
4 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE, +3
5 Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ, +7
6 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +10
7 Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini, st
8 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +11
9 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky, st
10 Jeffry Romero (Col) Colombia, st