- Published on Monday, 26 August 2013 23:20
Vuelta Stage 4 Preview
Stage 4 - Lain to Fisterra, 186.4km
I won't even begin to try to describe everything that happened today, as firstly, I spent most of the day in the car drving back from Ireland and secondly, even if I had watched everything I don't think I have the time or the space to describe everything that happened!
A day that looked like it was going to be benign and boring up until the final climb was anything but as the race was blown apart by crashes and sidewinds long before they hit the final climb of the day. An early crash caused splits that caught out Pozzovivo amongst others, Movistar and Astana drove on at the front, putting the hirt on in the chase. They came back together before the final climb, but clearly many had burnt too many matches before as things exploded again on the climb with some huge time gaps appearing by the finish.
As predicted, Philippe Gilbert was a terrible favourite for the stage, coming in in 37th place, 24 seconds down. I did say that Rodriguez was a huge price at 16/1 and if you took some of that each-way he rewarded you for your faith with a great 3rd place! Valverde was again best of the rest though as the veteran of the Peloton Chris Horner took the stage in spectacular style at the ripe old age of 41!
So on to stage 4 and once again we have some of the usual suspects up there in the betting with Gilbert second favourite ranging from 6/1 to 10/1, behind the favourite Gianni Meersman who is 3/1, as big as 7/2. Others up towards the top of the betting include the likes of Michael Matthews (12/1), Boasson-Hagen (15/1) and Simon Gerrans (18/1) and this is because although the day is a really lumpy stage with a little kick up at the finish, most of the 'strong-men' sprinters are expected to be there at the finish to fight it out.
The stage heads north-west to Fisterra to the 'end of the world' and the route is a lumpy, hard one with a cross/tail wind for most of the day (NE wind expected) so it could be another day that sees splits and carnage as the riders hit the 3rd cat climb of the Mirador de Ezaro. It should cause some splits and some suffering, but it is relatively short at less than 2km - but there are parts that hit 30%!! If the stronger men like I have mentioned earlier stay in the hunt then we could see our first 'sprint' finish of the Vuelta, albeit probably a slow, uphill grinding one as it kicks up again in the last 2kms!
It's a really hard stage to pick a winner from - there could be a break on that 3rd cat climb from the likes of Luis Leon Sanchez (33/1) or Samu Sanchez (125/1) ahead of the descent, we could see late attacks on the climbs by 'outsiders' like we have had for the last two days by the likes of Roche (66/1), Konig etc or it could come down to a big mans gallop at the finish.
If it does, you would have to expect the likes of Michael Matthews, Simon Gerrans and Valverde to be right in the mix. Matthews will love this finish but Gerrans I am not sure is in tip-top form at the moment so I will not be backing him tomorrow. One that does interest me though is Tyler Farrar - if it does come down to a proper sprint he is one of the few out and out sprinters actually in the bunch. He impressed me in the 3rd stage of the Eneco Tour coming in behind Demare on an uphill finish and this could well suit him if Garmin can look after him and drag him to the last 500m. At 30/1 on Betfair he is worth a shot (he is only 16/1 best price with the bookies).
Meersman is favourite for the stage at just over 4/1 on Betfair (7/2 best with bookies) but I am going to steer him tomorrow in favour of a win bet on Farrar at 30/1, a top 3 place at 6/1, a top 3 bet on Matthews at 7/2 and a lay of Philippe Gilbert to place at 6/4 (if I get matched.. will lay up to 5/2 if I have to to try to get matched.)
Stage 4 Route
Stage 4 Profile