Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) was the strongest in Molina de Aragon, on Tuesday, to power to victory ahead of Arnaud Démare on stage 4 of La Vuelta 21. On the uphill, the Dutch sprinter claimed his third Grand Tour stage win, a couple of years after he already snatched the first two in Spain.

In between, he almost lost his life in a terrible crash during the 2020 Tour de Pologne. His painful recovery process is awarded with a spectacular victory. Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) retained La Roja.

The 182 riders who made their way to Picon Blanco on Monday all return to action for stage 4 as the peloton roll from El Burgo de Osma in the early afternoon. Three of them go on the move as soon as the flag drops. Burgos-BH’s Carlos Canal and Angel Madrazo make the break of the day alongside Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Joan Bou.

Sprint teams control the day

The peloton let them go and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux drive the bunch while Rein Taaramäe makes history as the first Estonian rider to wear the leader’s jersey on the roads of La Vuelta. The gap hits a maximum of 4’35’’ before the sprinters’ teams move to the front position to cut the attackers’ lead.

Alpecin-Fenix are the first to react, with 100km to go, two days after Jasper Philipsen dominated the first bunch sprint of La Vuelta 21. Groupama-FDJ and Deceuninck-Quick Step joined the Belgian team at the front of the bunch and the gap is down to 1’15’’ when Philipsen takes 10 points in the intermediate sprint of Alcolea del Pinar (62.9km to go).

Jakobsen powers past Démare

The early attackers are eventually caught with 13km to go, after 150km at the front of the race. Tension is high and Taaramäe crashes inside the last 3km, a distance that allows him to retain La Roja.

Alpecin-Fenix and Groupama-FDJ are the most active teams inside the uphill last kilometre, Démare leads the way into the last 200m… But Jakobsen powers past him to take his third win since his return to competition after the crash that almost took his life in August 2020. – www.lavuelta.es

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