American Ben King claimed victory in the fourth stage of the Vuelta a España in Sierra de la Alfaguara today.
The Dimension Data rider completed the 161.4km course, which featured the first summit finish of the race, in a time of 4:33:12.
Astana’s Nikita Stalnov finished second, with EF Education First-Drapac’s Pierre Rolland completing the podium.
With 25km remaining there were nine riders in the breakaway, including King, Stalnov, Rolland, Cofidis’s Luis Angel Mate, Lotto Soudal’s Jelle Wallays, LottoNL-Jumbo’s Lars Boom, Burgos BH’s Oscar Cabedo Carda, Euskadi Basque Country-Murias’s Aritz Bagues and AG2R La Mondiale’s Ben Gastauer.
As the riders approached the intermediate sprint, Wallays attacked, but King managed to secure the points and with it three bonus seconds.
Stalnov then made an effort to join these two escapees, which ultimately resulted in them establishing a 27-second gap to the chasing group, with the peloton a further seven minutes and 57 seconds back.
Wallays was eventually dropped when the three leaders started the last climb. They created a 38-second gap to the chasers.
With just under 10km to the finish, Rolland attacked and joined Wallays. They soon closed the gap to the two leaders to 24 seconds, but shortly after this the latter was dropped.
The gap decreased to 16 seconds with 3.9km remaining, but soon jumped back to 24 seconds with Rolland chasing hard.
Stalnov led King into the final 500m, with the pair soon afterwards being caught by Rolland.
King executed an attack with a couple of hundred metres to go which saw him cross the finish line first.
“It’s a dream come true. I didn’t start believing it until the last kilometre. I’m really happy for the way that it worked out,” he said.
Team Sky’s Michał Kwiatkowski, who was the general classification leader coming into the stage, remained in red but lost some time overall.