Simon Yates takes 15th on a tough finish to stage four of Vuelta a Burgos

Fri 5 Aug 2016

Clasica de Ordizia winner Simon Yates finished with the leaders on stage four of the Vuelta a Burgos today after ORICA-BikeExchange teammate Amets Txurruka led the day's early breakaway.

23-year-old Briton Yates has enjoyed a run of good from of late and on today’s steep and technical finish he again showed that he is right up there with the best climbers in the world.

Nathan Haas (Dimension-Data) won the stage from the elite group of riders that broke clear in the final kilometre to contest the cobbled finale with Yates crossing the line just three seconds behind.

Spanish climber Txurruka animated the breakaway alongside four companions for over 100kilometres before the move was eventually reeled in with only 30kilometres to go.

Yates is ten seconds down on the general classification in 21st place going into tomorrow's fifth and final stage.

Sport director Dave McPartland praised the team’s performance and highlighted how tight the fight for the overall is.

“Our objective for today’s stage was to not lose any time and to try and finish at the front of the race,” said McPartland. “Thankfully we managed to achieve that and Simon (Yates) did very well to finish with the leaders on a very tough finale.”

Mitch Docker stayed with Simon up until the final few hundred metres and his role proved to be important with the cross winds splitting the bunch in the final kilometres.

“The general classification is very tight and for sure we are going to see a major shake up tomorrow, the last stage is going to be very, very difficult with seven categorised climbs to contend with.

“I’m happy with our position with only one day to go and Simon and the team can take a lot of confidence into tomorrow's stage.

“There will definitely be an elite selection that contests the finale and we will be looking to support Simon as best we can, certainly we have the capacity to get a result, but it will be a tough day all the same.”

How it happened:

The early breakaway on stage four was made up of five riders and included Txurruka for ORICA-BikeExchange. The group formed almost immediately and after 40kilometres of racing had a lead of two minutes 45seconds.

The undulating parcours held the potential for the versatile opportunist and 70kilometres into the stage the five leaders had extended their advantage to just over three minutes.

Three minutes was the most that the Team Sky-led peloton would allow the escapees and with 45kilometres to go the gap had fallen to one-minute 40seconds.

Ten kilometres later and the Txurruka group split as Jacques van Rensburg (Dimension-Data) and Luis Mas (Caja-Rural) both attacked from the front, with the peloton now only one minute behind. 

Van Rensburg and Mas held a 30second lead with 15kilometres to go as Txurruka and the rest of the breakaway were swept up by the marauding peloton.

The chase continued to intensify and the field came back together within the final ten kilometres and the stage was set for an exciting conclusion to the stage.

A very technical approach to the finish ran over cobbled streets with gradients reaching 7% and an elite group of around fifteen riders attempted to go clear inside the last three kilometres.

The reduced bunch did not give up anything willingly and once again the race came back together with only 1500metres to go.

The sprint to the line was won by Haas, with Yates finishing just outside the top ten in 15th place.

Tomorrow's fifth and final stage is a full on day in the mountains, covering 163kilometres from Caleriúga to Lagunas de Neila. The stage includes seven categorised climbs and a truly brutal summit finish that come after the second ascent of the Alto del Collado.

Vuelta a Burgos stage four results:

1. Nathan Haas (Dimension-Data) 03:15:42
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) ST
3. Patrick Bevin (Cannondale-Drapac) ST
15. Simon Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:03 

General classification after stage four:

1. Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quickstep) 11:36:46
2. Dimitry Gruzdev (Astana) ST
3. Michele Scarponi (Astana) ST
19. Luka Mezgec (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:10