Trek-Segafredo's Matteo Moschetti scored his first win in almost a year on stage four of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
The Italian forced his way through a tightly-packed sprint finish in Torrevieja to win by a bike length from Burgos-BH's Manuel Peñalver, with Alexander Kristoff (Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert - Matériaux) having to settle for third.
It is Moschetti's sixth win of his career, the 25-year-old having secured three of his other five victories also in Spain. His victory is Trek-Segafredo's second of the season, following on from Mads Pedersen's win at the Etoile de Bessèges three days prior.
The fourth stage was a largely flat day that was always destined to end in a sprint, stage three winner Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) maintaining his 32 second lead over stage one victor Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).
How it happened
The day began with the news that Jumbo-Visma had withdrawn from the race after two positive Covid-19 tests, while Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl's Mikkel Frølich Honoré also didn't take to the start.
Three Spaniards made up the breakaway on the longest stage of the race, Ángel Madrazo (Burgos-BH), Jesús Antonio Soto (Esukaltel-Esukadi) and Urko Berrade (Equipo Kern Pharma) being joined by the Italian Manule Boaro (Astana Qazagstan) and Belgian Kenny Molly (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB).
The quintet had a lead that hovered around four minutes, but it was no surprise given the largely flat run-in that they were caught by the peloton with around 25km left to race.
In the closing kilometres, the peloton was pulled by numerous teams but notably Movistar and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, the latter trying to set up stage two winner Fabio Jakobsen.
Attempting to win their third stage in four, the Belgian team were aided by former GC leader Evenepoel pulling a huge turn in the final five kilometres to try and set up Jakobsen, but as the peloton entered the finishing kilometre in the city of Torrevieja, Jakobsen found himself closed in by the sprint, unable to contest the day's honours.
That allowed Moschetti to emerge through the pack on the left side to sprint to an unfancied win, the Italian keeping to his line and holding off the charge of the 23-year-old Peñalver who was hoping to score a statement victory.
It was not to be, though, with the podium completed by Alexander Kristoff and Elia Viviani of Ineos Grenadiers just missing out.
The stage race ends on Sunday with a 92km flat parcours into the Valencia, where Vlasov is expected to win his first ever general classification title.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2022, stage four: Orihuela > Torrevieja (193.1km)
1. Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 4-32.17
2. Manuel Peñalver (Esp) Burgos-BH
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) intermarché - Wanty - Gobert - Matériaux
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
5. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
6. Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
7. Juan Sebastian Molano (Col) UAE-Team Emirates
8. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingial Pauwels Sauces WB
9. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious
10. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels - KTM, all at same time
General classification after stage four
1. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 17-00.56
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 32s
3. Carlos Rodriguez (Esp) Ineos Grenadiers, at 36s
4. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar Team, at 50s
5. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team, at 1-02
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech, at 1-05
7. Luis León Sánchez (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 1-14
8. Giuliu Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 2-00
9. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers, at 2-05
10. David De La Cruz (Esp) Astana-Qazaqstan, at 2-28
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