By Nigel Wynn
John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won stage four of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana on Tuesday in a sprint from a peloton reduced in size from a hilly day run out in sweltering temperatures.
Degenkolb got the better of Vicente Reynes (IAM Cycling) in the run-in to the line, with Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) in third to retain his overall lead in the race.
Matthews extends his general classification lead over second-placed Nairo Quintana (Movistar) to eight seconds.
An escape group of four riders formed very quickly after the start in Mairena del Alcor, comprising Sébastien Turgot (Ag2r), Francisco Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural), Gert Joeaar (Cofidis) and Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar).
Turbot was the first to get caught as he was dropped on the third category Alto de San Jeronimo climb. Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural) attacked on the climb and crest the hill first. Txurruka and Engoulvent then spent a short while out front.
The peloton temporarily split up over the climb, and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was one of those in difficulty at the back. Tinkoff-Saxo, Movistar and Sky kept themselves near the front to prevent getting caught on the wrong wide of a split.
After the descent, the peloton largely reassembled ready for the final finishing circuit around Córdoba and the first category two climb of the race, Alto del Catorce por Ciento.
With Txurruka and Engoulvent caught, Sky took up the pace-setting on the climb with more riders suffering in the heat and dropping out of the peloton to reduce its size.
Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) attacked over the top, followed by British Grand Tour debutant Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge). Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Romain Sicard (Europcar) bridged over to them for the descent but they were all caught with 9km to go to set up a bunch finish.
Vuelta a Espana 2014, stage four: Mairena del Alcor to Córdoba, 164.7km
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 4-02-55
2. Vicente Reynes (Spa) IAM Cycling
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
6. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha
7. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r
8. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Bob Jungels (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana all same time
19. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at same time
24. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at same time
Overall classification after stage four
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 13-30-44
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 8 secs
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 15 secs
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 19 secs
5. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 21 secs
6. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge at 21 secs
7. George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale at 24 secs
8. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing at 24 secs
9. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 27 secs
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 27 secs
15. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 35 secs
Orica-GreenEdge's Michael Matthews edges out Daniel Martin for the stage win and to take the overall lead in the Vuelta
French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni takes first road stage of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana
Jonathan Castroviejo is first rider to wear the leader's jersey in the 2014 Vuelta a Espana
Best Best Black Friday shoe deals
Black Friday is just around the corner and while the deals aren't here yet there are still plenty of bargains on offer
By Henry Robertshaw •
Route for 2022 Commonwealth Games road race and time trials announced
The time trial heads through Wolverhampton, while Warwick hosts the road race
By Ryan Dabbs •
No Goodbyes: David Millar's Grand Tour finalé
David Millar bid farewell to the pro peloton at the Vuelta a Espana, his final race as a Garmin-Sharp rider. Cycle Sport travelled to Spain to interview the Scot and look back on his favourite race.
By Kenny Pryde •
Shimano neutral service help pull Jonathan Castroviejo from a ravine (video)
Watch as the Shimano head cam captures another incident as they help pull Movistar's Castroviejo from a steep hill side after a crash
By Richard Windsor •
Chris Froome on Vuelta a Espana: 'I did everything I could'
Chris Froome reflects on his second place at the 2014 Vuelta a Espana, and looks ahead to next year's Tour de France
By Gregor Brown •
Alberto Contador wins 2014 Vuelta a Espana
Overall favourites ride final time trial cautiously in wet conditions; Adriano Malori wins stage
By Nigel Wynn •
Alberto Contador wins final Vuelta a Espana mountain test
Chris Froome attempts to put time into Alberto Contador in mountain finale, but Contador is too strong
By Nigel Wynn •
Vuelta a Espana peloton pays tribute to Civil Guard who lost life during race
Peloton holds tribute to Eusebio Garcia Flores, the Civil Guard who died during Monday's stage of the Vuelta a Espana
By Jack Elton-Walters •
Adam Hansen takes solo win on Vuelta a Espana stage 19
Adam Hansen surprises sprinters with solo win; No change to top 10 overall
By Nigel Wynn •
Chris Froome on the attack in the Vuelta a Espana
Chris Froome is seeking every opportunity to gain time of Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde in the remaining stages of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana
By Gregor Brown •