Vuelta a Espana has been going strong ever since it was first organized in 1935. The race in Spain was motivated by the previous success of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia and eventually was considered the third jewel in the crown of professional cycling.
On Tuesday, Stage 4 of the 2014 edition followed a 100-mile (164.7 km) route from Mairena del Alcor to the finish line in Córdoba.
The 198 participants would normally be inspired by the countryside but with the temps hitting 105 F, it became a struggle to keep going at a good pace, and a number of riders suffered in the heat. The first 75 miles (120 km) was flat and followed with two mountains the peloton had to climb.
Four riders assailed early in the stage, and established the day’s breakaway. During the final 6.2 miles (10 km), the weary group pushed on for the descent into the city of Cordoba.
It was in the concluding tenth of a mile that a substantial sprint by John Degenkolb of Germany (Giant-Shimano) had him win by several bike lengths. The official time was 4 hours 2 minutes 55 seconds.
Michael Matthews gained 3 seconds over Stage 3’s result and retains his red jersey and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) right behind in the Overall Standing Results.
More sizzling heat is anticipated on Wednesday for Stage 5. The 111-mile (180 km) race will head from Priego De Córdoba to Ronda. Much of it is among rolling hills with the final 12 miles (20 km) offering one category 3 climb.
Stage 4 Results Tuesday August 26th
1. John Degenkolb of Germany (Team Giant-Shimano)
2. Vicente Reynes Mimo of Spain (IAM Cycling)
3. Michael Matthews of Australia (Orica-GreenEdge)
4. Damiano Caruso of Italy (Cannondale)
5. Daniel Martin of Ireland (Garmin-Sharp)
Overall Classification Results
1. Michael Matthews of Australia (Orica-GreenEdge) 13:30:44
2. Nairo Quintana of Colombia (Movistar)
3. Alejandro Valverde of Spain (Movistar)
4. Rigoberto Uran of Colombia (Omega Pharma-QuickStep
5. Damiano Caruso of Italy (Cannondale)