Martijn Keizer, a day after LottoNL-Jumbo’s win with Victor Campenaerts, attacked and spent most of the Ruta del Sol’s fourth stage free in an escape group. They covered 179.3 kilometres to Seville, caught by the peloton in the final kilometres ahead of a Bryan Coquard sprint victory. Alejandro Valverde remains the race leader with one day to race.
"It took some time until the escape was formed,” Keizer said. “Team LottoNL-Jumbo went to Andalucía without a defined sprinter so we have other objectives for flat stages. Along with Campenaerts, I tried several times to get in the break.”
After 40 kilometres, six men worked free. The sprint teams controlled the gap closely, however.
"When you realise that the peloton gives you no more than three minutes you certainly do not go full gas, they will laugh about you in the peloton. Therefore, we tried to save some energy for the final. we hoped we could stay away in the city centre. When we still had 30 seconds, I started to believe in it."
In Seville, the peloton closed in at three kilometres from the finish. "It’s not nice when it does not work out, but I had a good day in the escape,” added Keizer. “My legs felt good after the time trial yesterday. Tomorrow is a difficult day and I think we are going to see the GC men make the race hard."
Little changed in GC. Floris De Tier finished in the peloton and remains 16th overall. Team-mate Stef Clement sits 18th. Tomorrow, they will race to Malaga.