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Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) won a select, three-up sprint against race leader Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Bahrain-McLaren’s Mikel Landa to take the fourth stage of Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol.
The testing 125km stage from Villanueva de Mesia to Granada crested a category climb with 18 kilometres to go. Haig attacked over the top and took only the two riders with him.
“Taking the win against Fuglsang and Landa is quite important to me, they are the sort of riders I want to try and become – true Grand Tour contenders,” Haig said. “So to be up there with them today was a really nice feeling and a reassuring feeling knowing I am heading in the right direction.
The win came a day after Haig and Dylan Teuns tangled in the final corner of stage 3, nearly crashing and losing any chance at victory.
“After yesterday’s disappointment and being consistently up there in Valencia and after the first stages, to get the win was really really nice,” Haig said. “Starting the season like this is similar, or maybe a little bit better than last year. Hopefully, I can finish the job off tomorrow and then continue the good form.”
The finish of stage 4 was flat and Landa started his sprint 200m only for Haig to overhaul him at the line. The three men finished with the same time. Fuglsang still leads Landa by 14 seconds. Haig climbed to third at 35 seconds.
Everything will be decided on Sunday in the fifth and last stage, in an individual time trial of 13 kilometres around Mijas.
“The time trial tomorrow looks incredibly technical, up and down and complicated so it will be hard but I think I have a decent little buffer now between myself and Ion Izaguirre (Astana) so hopefully I can hold onto third place,” Haig said.
Watch a replay of the finish here:
1. Jack Haig (AUS/MIT), 3hrs 7min 35sec
2. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST), s.t.
3. Mikel Landa (ESP/BAH), s.t.,
4. Ion Izagirre (ESP/AST), 27″
5. Brandon McNulty (USA/UAE), s.t.
1. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST), 17hrs 30min 1sec
2. Mikel Landa (ESP/BAH) 14″
3. Jack Haig (AUS/MIT) 35″
4. Ion Izagirre (ESP/AST) 1′ 1″
5. Pello Bilbao (ESP/BAH) 1′ 44″