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Sam Bennett sprints to win Vuelta’s 4th stage, Primoz Roglic keeps lead

La Vuelta's pack cover the last meters before crossing the finish line during the third stage of La Vuelta between Lodosa and La Laguna Negra Vinuesa, in Vinuesa, northern Spain, Thursday Oct. 22, 2020.  (Associated Press)
La Vuelta's pack cover the last meters before crossing the finish line during the third stage of La Vuelta between Lodosa and La Laguna Negra Vinuesa, in Vinuesa, northern Spain, Thursday Oct. 22, 2020. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

EJEA DE LOS CABALLEROS, Spain — Irish cyclist Sam Bennett won a sprint finish on the fourth stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Friday, and defending champion Primoz Roglic kept the red leader’s jersey.

After being put into position by his Deceuninck-Quick Step teammates, Bennett stayed close to Jasper Philipsen at the front and shot forward at the finish line to claim his third career victory at the grand tour.

“I really didn’t think I was going to catch him, but I got more and more speed and accelerated until the end,” Bennett said. “My team did their job perfectly. They all came together just when we needed them.”

Roglic maintained his five-second lead over Dan Martin in the general classification. Richard Carapaz stayed third, 13 seconds behind, with Enric Mas next 32 seconds behind.

“The last 20 kilometers were really fast, with a back wind, and a bit scary,” Roglic said. “But my team did a really good job protecting me.”

A small breakaway group opened up a gap before its last member was swallowed by the peloton near the end of the 191.7-kilometer (119.1-mile) flat ride from Numancia to Ejea de los Caballeros.

This year’s Vuelta was reduced from 21 to 18 stages after being rescheduled from August and September because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is being held entirely in northern Spain.

Saturday’s stage is a hilly 184.4-kilometer (114.5-mile) ride from Huesca to Sabiñánigo.

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