Kaden Groves sprints to victory on stage four of the Vuelta a España

The Aussie powers home to win a chaotic uphill final in Tarragona

Kaden Groves wins stage four of the 2023 Vuelta a España
(Image credit: Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images)

Kaden Groves of Alpecin-Deceuninck won stage four of the Vuelta after a high-speed uphill dash to the line in Tarragona. The Aussie overcame a strong effort from Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE-Team Emirates) in what was a chaotic battle through a series of city-centre bends that proved the undoing of some hopefuls.

The uphill gradient and narrow, sinuous parcours on the approach to the finish made this a sprint finish with a difference, and it was never going to be an out-and-out drag race. 

The Alpecin and UAE Team Emirates teams of Groves and Molano were clearly out for blood, spearheading the drive through the last two kilometres as the race jinked through a series of turns. It was barely controlled chaos though, and one wide but tricky left-hander brought down riders from EF Education-EasyPost and Alpecin as the riders began the finishing ramp.

It was Colombia's Molano who launched first, pulling out a two-bike-length gap that looked as though it might go the distance. Groves was undeterred though, timing his kick perfectly as Molano faded, coming around the UAE man for a comfortable and stylish victory that more than made up for his second place behind Andreas Kron on Sunday's second stage to Barcelona.

The race took the riders south from Andorra la Vella to Tarragona on the east coast, a distance of 184km. There was little more than a pair of category-three climbs to break up what was a long, downhill cruise from the Andorran mountains to the Costa Dorada and a near-inevitable sprint finish.

The day's early break formed almost immediately, a ProTeam triple-decker consisting of David González (Caja Rural), Eduardo Sepúlveda (Lotto-Dstny) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH). They were allowed to roam wild and free, while at the same time being kept on a loose leash by red jersey Remco Evenepoel's Soudal-Quick Step team and only ever being allowed around two-and-a-half minutes on the bunch.

They were eventually brought to heel with 19km to go, leaving little for the bunch to do but keep the pace high for the fast finishers in Tarragona.

The final was marred by a major crash with around 4km to go, with a number of riders going down hard as the road narrowed. It was only moments later that the race entered the outskirts of Tarragona and the real skirmishes began, with Groves ultimately prevailing.

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.