Daniel Moreno (Katusha) claimed a well-taken stage win at the Vuelta a Espana on Tuesday when he beat Chris Anker Sörensen (Saxo Bank-Sunguard) to the line at Sierra Nevada.
The Spaniard jumped away from his fellow breakaway in the final 300m to take this early foray into the mountains by a comfortable margin.
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Daniel Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) claimed his best yet result in a Grand Tour stage when he led in the main group of contenders, eleven seconds back.
The Irishman showed prominently on the 23km first category finishing climb and beat the usually fast finishing Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) for third place.
On an yet another hot day, and one on which Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) abandoned, Britain’s Bradley Wiggins also showed well.
Although the steady graded, wide and well surfaced ascent was always going to be his suiting, he looked comfortable all the way up. He was in close attendance when defending Vuleta champion Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) tested the water with 8km to go and even had Sky team mate Chris Froome set a high pace on the front of the main group in the closing two kilometres.
One of the upshots of Froome driving the pace as the race approached the finish, was that Wiggins’ potential overall rival Igor Anton lost more time.
The Euskaltel-Euskadi man, who was leading the Vuelta when he crashed out last year, was dropped by the main contenders group with 9km to go and came in with a team mate 1-22 down.
Sylvain Chavanel was another rider who lost time at the top of the climb in the hot conditions. However with race leader Pablo Lastras (Movistar) having been dropped by the group earlier on, the Frenchman moved into the leader’s red jersey.
The winning move emerged shortly after Nibali’s brief skirmish when Astana’s Robert Kiserlovski launched a counter attack.
Quickly joined by Sörensen, the pair bridged across to the four remnants of the day’s early break: Thomas Rohregger (Leopard-Trek), Matthew Busche (Radioshack), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) and Guillame Bonnafond (AG2R).
As Sorenson rode almost straight past the group, Bonnafond latched onto him but made little contribution to the effort. As Bonnafond faded in the final 3km, he was immediately replaced by Moreno who, like Sorenson, had ridden across from the main group and past the chasers with an apparent level of ease.
With Sorenson doing the bulk of the work towards the line, it was with a similarly straightforward move that Moreno struck out for his win. He kicked from off Sorenson’s wheel and immediately opened up a gap of several lengths.
As well as taking the stage, he moved into second overall.
Vuelta a Espana 2011, stage 4: Baza-Sierra Nevada, 170.2km
1. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha 4-51-53
2. Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank-Sunguard at 3sec
3. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervélo at 11 sec
4. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
5. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre
6. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
8. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank all same time
18. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky at 11sec
28. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at st
148. Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky at 18-27
DNF Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep 13-19-09
2. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 43sec
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek at 49sec
4. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard-Trek at same time
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 53sec
6. Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad at 58sec
7. Frederik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana at 59sec
8. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Movistar at 1-03
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Movistar at st
10. Kevin Seeldrayers (Bel) Quickstep at 1-04
20. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 1-31
21. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky at st
144. Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky at 30-23
Matthew Busche leads the escape group
Chris Anker Sorensen attacks in the final kilometres
Chris Froome rode hard for Wiggins on the final climb, and earned himself 20th place overall
Daniel Moreno wins
Andrew Talansky congratulates Daniel Martin on his third place
Bradley Wiggins finished with the leaders
Sylvain Chavanel takes the race lead
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Latest news
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Vuelta heads for first major showdown on Tuesday
Matt Goss first rider to abandon Vuelta
Team Sky’s TTT horror on troublesome course
Dan Martin confident and collected as Vuelta team leader
Pro predictions: Who will win the Vuelta?
HTC-Highroad’s reservations about TTT course
Vuelta team time trial start order
Sky plans early start for Vuelta team time trial recon
Wiggins looking to minimise losses in testing Vuelta TTT
Riders voice support for Hushovd over Vuelta exclusion
Cancellara late to Vuelta after being hospitalised by bee sting
Nibali back for victory again in 2011 Vuelta
Wiggins: “I’m in a great position going into the Vuelta”
Wiggins confirmed as Sky leader for the Vuelta
Freire: It’ll be tough in the Vuelta with Cavendish
Hushovd left out of Vuelta; Dan Martin to lead Garmin-Cervelo
Cavendish and Wiggins on provisional Vuelta start list
Climbers set to dominate in 2011 Vuelta
Millar on 2011 Vuelta: ‘Modern-looking and very challenging”
2011 Vuelta set to return to Angliru and Basque country
Angliru back in 2011 Tour of Spain
Hushovd left out of Vuelta; Martin to lead Garmin-Cervélo
Vuelta a Espana 2011
: Stage reports
Vuelta a Espana 2011: TV guide