Dan Martin [Garmin-Sharp] has catapulted up the general standings to take the leader’s jersey at the Volta a Catalunya after winning the queen stage in a superb solo victory in Port Aine Rialp.
Martin finished the stage 35 seconds ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez [Katusha], who became virtual leader when Alejandro Valverde [Movistar] crashed on a descent 119km into the 217.7km fourth stage, which at the finish topped out at about 2000m. Yesterday’s victor Nairo Quintana [Movistar] was third.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins [Sky] finished the stage in fifth, and about a minute behind Martin, to slide from second to fourth overall. The Tour de France champion is now 36 seconds adrift of the new leader.
Martin started the day ninth in the general classification and was the only survivor of a 23-man break that escaped early in the piece.
The escapees had a maximum time gap of more than four minutes but started to fracture on the Hor Categorie Port del Canto before Nicolas Roche moved off the front. Martin drove what was left of the break, picked up the Saxo-Tinkoff rider and kept going with only one other able to follow.
Sky controlled the pace back in the main group with Katusha largely letting the British-squad do the work.
Sky did not respond to an attack from Robert Gesink [Blanco] who moved within the final 15km and was joined by Jurgen Van Den Broeck [Lotto Belisol]. Gesink lost contact with Van Den Broeck inside the final 7km where Wiggins was down to just Rigoberto Uran to protect him at the front of the main group.
Martin averaged around a one-minute buffer on Van Den Broeck, who Rodriguez and Quintana caught with roughly 900m remaining. His stage win didn’t look in doubt however and the climber left the latter two to race for second.
The tour continues tomorrow with the 156.5km fifth stage from Rialp to Lleid.
Volta a Catalunya 2013, stage four: Llanars-Vall de Camprodon to Port Aine-Rialp, 217.7km
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 6-02-40
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 36secs
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 47 secs
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 51 secs
6. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at 1-02
7. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1-08
Overall classification after stage four
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 18-48-38
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 10 secs
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 32 secs
4. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at 36 secs
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 39 secs
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 51 secs
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1-00
8. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1-07
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1-13
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1-15
Daniel Martin takes the stage win
Dan Martin dons the leader’s jersey
Volta a Catalunya 2013: Related links
Stage three photo gallery
Stage three: Quintana wins after Wiggins attacks
Stage two: Gianni Meersman makes it two from two
Stage one: Wiggins makes aggressive start in Catalunya