Vuelta a Espana 2021 : Stage 4 – Jakobsen takes a popular win; Taaramae stays in red

After a quiet opening three stages it was probably a little naive of us to be placing our hopes and dreams of some grand tour excitement and drama on Stage 4‘s flat (ish! for La Vuelta) profile. Would there be echelons? No – no matter how many times a certain commentator mentioned them. Would we see some GC guys have a little dig on the final small, yet steep-ish, ramp (I told you, it was flat-ish!)? No. Would we indeed get any action? No. What did unravel was a classic GT sprinters stage – the breakaway, the catch, the bunch finish. But, come the end of the stage there wasn’t an unhappy cycling fan in the universe, thanks to a strong comeback win by Deceuninck QuickStep’s Fabio Jakobsen! A tumble in the closing kilometres for Rein Taaramae while looking resplendent in the red jersey, meant that he finished some time behind the bunch, but with his GC lead safely intact, thanks to the 3km rule.

Pre-stage coverage

Coverage of bike racing has been so superb this season that television fans almost don’t know what to do with themselves while waiting for La Vuelta coverage to begin.

While we waited, there was plenty of time to appreciate the new custodian of the red jersey, Rein Taaramae.

Before coverage began, a trio made up of Carlos Canal Blanco (Burgos BH), Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Angel Madrazo (Burgos BH) formed the day’s breakaway and built a gap of around 4 minutes on the peloton.

And seemingly by the time the TV coverage did start, the peloton had settled down into a steady but not frantic pace.

Bike racing? What bike racing?

When the actual cycling is lacking in action, cycling fans are experts at coming up with their own creative ways to entertain themselves.

Felix was on Castillo watch…

If no bike racing, then surely there’d be some field-art?!

Le Tour… is that you?!

Some beady eye viewers spotted La Vuelta trying to impede on Le Tour territory…

The Catch

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the peloton picked up the pace and brought the break back, making the catch with 13.5km to go.

The pace really picked up, and the teams started to form their orderly queues/sprint trains in preparation for a bunch finish.

Rein Down!

It almost wouldn’t be a crazy, chaotic finish at a grand tour if there isn’t at least one spill.

At under 3km to go the peloton took a tight turn and the red jersey took a tumble.

Fortunately, Taaramae seemed to get up and move again with ease and was able to finish with his GC lead intact. Miraculously, although he was mid-bunch, no one else was taken down with him.

The return of fabulous Fabio

The closing metres saw a dig by Alexander Krieger of Alpecin-Fenix who were reaching out for grand tour glory once more.

Krieger, however, had gone too hard too soon, and a trio of Arnaud Demare (Groupama FDJ), Magnus Cort (EF Education Nippo) and Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck QuickStep) were the trio to battle out the sprint for the stage win.

And Jakobsen, who was by far the strongest of the three, took his third Vuelta a Espana stage victory!

Given the crash that Jakobsen suffered at the Tour of Poland last year, there is not a cycling fan in the house who was not pleased by this result!

A reminder of those injuries that Jakobsen suffered…

The final word

All the results

Stage results 

1 Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 3:43:07

2 Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) same time

3 Magnus Cort (EF Education Nippo) s/t

4 Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) s/t

5 Michael Matthews (Team Bike Exchange) s/t

GC Top 10 

1 Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) 13:08:51

2 Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) +0:25

3 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:30

4 Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën Team) +0:35

5 Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +0:45

6 Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar Team) +0:51

7 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:57

8 Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +0:57

9 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) +0:57

10 Mikel Linda (Bahrain Victorious) +1:09

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey : Rein Taaramäe (Intermarche-Wanty)

Points jersey : Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

King of the Mountains: Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty)

Best young rider : Egan Bernal (Ineos)

Best team : UAE Team Emirates

For full race results, go to

Official Vuelta website is here 

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