Fernando Gaviria gave Quick-Step Floors their third stage victory in the 2017 Vuelta a San Juan on Thursday, cruising to win the bunch sprint on stage four.
The Colombian won the bunch sprint at the end of the rolling 160.5km route around San Martín, repeating his victory from the opening stage of the race.
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And for the third time, Elia Viviani – riding for the Italian national team rather than Team Sky – placed second. Fellow Italian Nicola Ruffoni (Bardiani-CSF) was third.
Stage two winner Tom Boonen helped the Quick-Step Floors team reel back a dangerous 13-man escape group during the stage, with the catch made during the final kilometres to set up a mass sprint.
Ramunas Navardauskus (Bahrain-Merida) retained the overall race lead after finishing in 10th place on the stage. The Lithuanian took the race lead after winning the previous day’s key individual time trial.
Navardauskus sits three seconds ahead of Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), with Matthias Brändle (Trek-Segafredo) in third at seven seconds.
Viviani moves up from eighth to fifth overall thanks to his bonus seconds for placing second.
It’s crunch time on Friday, as the riders face the race’s climbing stage from Chimbas to Alto Colorado.
On paper, Mollema is the best placed of the GC men, particularly as pre-race favourite Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) lost crucial time during the TT and sits in 14th overall and 32 seconds adrift of Mollema.
The race concludes on Sunday, January 29.
Vuelta a San Juan 2017, stage four: San Martín to San Martín, 160.5km
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors, in 3-34-44
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Italy
3. Niccola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina
5. Luke Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare
6. Andrea Guardini (Ita) UAE Abu Dhabi
7. Carlos Alzate (Col) UnitedHealthcare
8. Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Laureano Rosas (Arg) Argentina
10. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida, all same time
General classification after stage four
1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida, in 9-57-11
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 3 secs
3. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo, at 7 secs
4. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, at 7 secs
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Italy, at 17 secs
6. Sebastian Trillini (Arg) Italomat-Dogo, at 19 secs
7. Oscar Sevilla (Esp) Medellin-Inder, at 19 secs
8. Laureano Rosas (Arg) Argentina, at 21 secs
9. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 29 secs
10. Ricardo Escuela (Arg) Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima, at 32 secs