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La Vuelta Ciclista a España. Stage 4. A solid 2nd place for Nikita Stalnov

Nikita Stalnov fought until the very last meters for the victory at stage 4 of the Vuelta España and finished second, just behind the American rider Ben King. The Kazakh rider of Astana Pro Team made part of the daily breakaway and later he was able to attack to create a leading group of three riders: Stalnov, King and Jelle Wallays. Later, on the final climb of the day Sierra de la Alfaguara Stalnov and King dropped Wallays, fighting for the stage victory. Astana Team rider did an amazing race, but in sprint on the finish line he lost to the American.

- Honestly, I gave my all today and I can’t complain. Of course, I would prefer to win this stage, I was so close, but anyway, I think, I did a great race. The final climb was really tough and we had to push hard to stay away from the chasers behind. I wanted to attack before, but I felt like I was on the limit inside the last few kilometers. However, this result bring me motivation for the next stages and for the whole Vuelta, - said Nikita Stalnov.

- It was not our plan to do something today, but when a quite big group broke away, Nikita Stalnov was able to follow and to move himself into the break. We can be happy with his performance as he showed his good form and fighting spirit. I am sure this is just a beginning for him, - added sports director Dmitri Sedoun.

The fourth stage from Vélez-Málaga to Alfacar (161,4 km) brought the peloton in the mountains of Sierra Nevada near Granada. It was the first real test for the GC riders. A group of 9 riders went away shortly after the start and Nikita Stalnov was able to join this group.

Behind the shoulders of the breakaway, the GC contenders tried to do something inside the last kilometers to the top of the final climb. It was Simon Yates who attacked first from the peloton, followed by Emanuel Buchmann and later by Astana’s leader Miguel Angel Lopez, who finished 10th, taking some seconds over his rivals.

- After attack of Yates I saw nobody wanted to start chasing, so with 1,5 km to go I launched an attack to do the difference. Yeah, the final kilometer was not too steep, but I took some seconds. In general this was a good stage for me. I am happy for Nikita Stalnov despite he finished second. He was very strong today! – said Miguel Angel Lopez.

The Polish rider Michal Kwitkowski kept the red jersey of the GC leader as Miguel Angel Lopez moved up to 14th position, 46 seconds behind Kwiatkowski.

Astana Pro Team moved into the lead in the team classification of the Vuelta a España.

Stage 5 of the race will be held tomorrow: 188,7 km from Granada to Roquetas de Mar.

Photo credit: ©Bettiniphoto

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