Britain’s Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) placed second in Wednesday’s individual time trial stage in the Tour of Andalusia, Spain.
Alex Rasmussen (Saxo Bank) took the stage win ahead of Wiggins, with Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) in third.
Wiggins was just five seconds adrift of Madison world champion Rasmussen, who covered the 10.9km route in 12 minutes and 59 seconds.
“It was my first time trial of the year and my second time on the time trial bike this year, so it was a pretty good result for me to go out and do a performance like that,” Wiggins told Cycling Weekly.
“I was a bit disappointed not to win it but I have to keep reminding myself I haven’t really done the work to be in that position yet so soon in the year and I’ve got a long season ahead of me.”
Wiggins’ compatriot and Sky team-mate Steve Cummings put in a solid ride to finish 14th.
Former time trial world champion Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) came fourth and moved into pole position in the overall classification with one stage remaining in the five-day race.
Rogers is optimistic about his chances although his overall advantage is just 21 seconds and the final stage of Andalusia on Thursday, from Torrox to Antequera, is a tough one with the first climb, a 12 kilometre ascent, coming after just 100 metres of racing.
A third category lump follows immmediately afterwards, although the biggest challenge of the day will be the Puerto de El Torcal, a first category climb with its summit 46 kilometres from the finish – uphill again in the centre of Antequera.
Tour of Andalusia 2010: Stage 4 ITT
1. Alex Rasmussen (Den) Saxo Bank 10.9km in 12-59
2. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 5secs
3. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Columbia at 7secs
4. Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia at 12secs
5. Jens Voigt (Ger) Saxo Bank at 23secs
6. Hayden Roulston (NZ) HTC-Columbia at25secs
7. Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank at 28secs
8. Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank at 28secs
9. Greg Henderson (NZ) Team Sky at 30secs
10. Maxime Monfort (Bel) HTC-Columbia at 34secs
14. Steve Cummings (GB) Team Sky at 46secs
38. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia at 1-12
Overall classification after stage four
1. Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia in 13-52-09
2. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 19secs
3. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Carmiooro at 30secs
4. Jens Voigt (Ger) Saxo Bank at 31secs
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 35secs
6. Maxime Monfort (Bel) HTC-Columbia at 38secs
7. Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank at 44secs
8. Manuel Vazquez (Spa) Andalucia-Cajasur at 46secs
9. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Milram at 46secs
10. Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) Team Sky at 50secs
16. Steve Cummings (GB) Team Sky at 1-27
58. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 8-51
79. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia at 19-12
Alex Rasmussen was the only rider to go under the 13 minute mark
Bradley Wiggins rode hard to take second spot
Michael Rogers takes the race lead from Sergio Pardilla
Stage three: Freire wins tough uphill finish sprint in Andalusia
Stage two: Freire wins crash-ridden bunch sprint in Andalusia
Stage one: Cavendish and Wiggins battle through rainstorms in Andalusia
Oscar Freire: Rider Profile