Tireless Wellens takes his reward
October 24 th 2020 - 17:46 [GMT + 2]
Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) won stage 4 of La Vuelta 2020 at the end of an action-packed day with many attacks over the hills leading to Sabiñanigo. The Belgian puncheur already displayed his aggressive style in the first days and made it to another breakaway after 100km of battle from Huesca. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Thymen Arensman (Sunweb) were with him at the front all the way to Sabiñanigo but they couldn't match Wellens' punch on the uphill finish. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) dominated the sprint in the bunch to assert his grip on La Roja ahead of Sunday's mountain stage. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) crashed in the final hectometres.
Most of the 167 riders at the start of stage 5 expect the early attackers to shine in Sabiñanigo and many of them want to be up there. Martin Salmon (Sunweb) attacks in the first kilometre and 13 more baroudeurs quickly join him: Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Power, Salmon, Storer (Sunweb), Fraile (Astana), Seigle (Groupama-FDJ), Woods (EF Pro Cycling), Barta (CCC), Edmonson (Mitchelton-Scott), Dewulf (Lotto-Soudal), G. Martin, Barcelo (Cofidis) and Ligthart (Total Direct Energie). But that strong group doesn’t get away.
100km of battle
EF Pro Cycling, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and Burgos-BH are determined not to let the breakaway go without them. The gap never gets higher than 40’’. Many riders counter-attack, and Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) even bridges the gap at km 64. But the attackers are caught 5km later. The likes of Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Andrey Amador (Ineos Grenadiers) try their luck but the pack is bunched after 90km of hard racing.
Attacks keep flying and 12 riders get away inside the last 90km, including Jumbo-Visma’s Sepp Kuss. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Thymen Arensman (Sunweb) attack from that group with 79km to go. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) joins them in the fist climb of the day, the Alto de Vio (cat 2). Their chasers are caught by the bunch, trailing by 2’50’’ at the summit.
Roglic dominates, Dan Martin crashes
Wellens collects the KOM points and the attackers increase the gap to the Ineos-led peloton: 3’27’’ atop the Alto de Fanlo, with 47km to go. Ineos Grenadiers give up on the chase with 32km to go. Total Direct Energie take over at the bottom of the final climb, the Alto de Fanlo, but the leading trio maintain a 3’ gap at the summit, with 17km to go. Romain Sicard (Total Direct Energie) gives up on the chase inside the last 15km.
Tim Wellens, Guillaume Martin and Thymen Arensman work together until the last kilometre. Arensman attacks at the flamme rouge but Wellens jumps in his wheel and dominates the uphill finish ahead of Martin. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is the strongest from the bunch to finish 4th while Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) hits the deck with David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) in the final hectometres but they're all in the same time.