Preview: What you need to know about stage 4 of the 2022 Vuelta a España

Maybe a reduced bunch sprint? Maybe a breakaway? Hard to predict!

by Matt de Neef


Date: Tuesday August 23
Start: Vitoria-Gasteiz
Finish: Laguardia
Distance: 152.5 km

After Monday’s travel day from the Netherlands to northern Spain, the riders encounter their first real lumps of this year’s race. There’s a Cat 2 climb early, then a Cat 3 that’s 7.3 km long (4.8% average gradient) and that peaks 15 km from the finish.

This stage could well end in a bunch sprint like the last couple – or more likely, a reduced bunch sprint – but that late climb does look like it could be a decent launch pad. At the very least, it will be where the more resilient fastmen will be looking to offload the pure sprinters.

To add extra intrigue to the stage, there could be wind in the closing kilometres into Laguardia. Plus, the last few kilometres are slightly uphill, including a steep kick with 500 metres to go. In short, it could be an intriguing stage!

If the bunch can drop the likes of Sam Bennett, Pascal Ackermann and Tim Merlier, will Trek-Segafredo’s Mads Pedersen finally turn his two consecutive second places into a stage win? While Ineos Grenadiers are unlikely to burn matches to set Ethan Hayter up, this day looks like the sort of finale where the Brit can flourish. Maybe Danny van Poppel, who has looked super strong leading out Sam Bennett, will get his own chance and make it three-in-a-row for Bora-Hansgrohe? It should be a good one.

Who’s it for: Probably the sprinters who also climb well, or the Classics-y puncheur types. A little hard to predict!

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