Simon Clarke Wins Two-Man Sprint in Stage 4 of Vuelta a Espana

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08/22/2012| 0 comments
by Mark Watson
Simon Clarke rides to stage 4 victory for Team GreenEdge ahead of breakaway companion Tony Martin (Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep) Photoreporter Sirotti

Simon Clarke Wins Two-Man Sprint in Stage 4 of Vuelta a Espana

Team GreenEdge's Simon Clarke took his first professional win in his Grand Tour debut in the fourth stage of the Vuelta a España 2012.

with me. I launched the sprint but I knew he was faster then me. I'm happy about my race. Today was really hot and wasn't so easy to stay in the front with only five guys. My condition is improving. I trained good before coming here and I'm really looking forward to the time trial next week and — why not — to try to grab a stage victory in one of the next stages."

"Luckily, Tony was feeling strong, and we were able to work well together until we reached the top," Clarke described. "I really backed myself in the sprint finish. I was confident I could beat Tony in a sprint, so I had to be careful that he didn't attack me in a moment of lost concentration in the closing kilometers. At the same time, I was a bit worried about Bazayev, who was only about 20 seconds behind us. I knew he wasn't far off our pace, and he's a fast finisher. I didn't want to go to the line with him."

Clarke and Martin held off all of their pursuers. The stage win came down to a two-up sprint.

"I wanted Tony to lead out the sprint, and I knew I needed to wait long enough to come around him," Clarke explained. "With a hilltop finish, you don't have a 400 meter sprint left in your legs, so it's important to wait. In the end, Tony was the one to go too early. I followed him and waited. I made sure I saw the 200 meter sign before I started my sprint. From there, I went for it and it worked out."

The general classification is led by Team Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez ahead of Team Sky's Christopher Froome and Alberto Contador of Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank.

Watch video highlights from the 2012 Vuelta a Espana in our videos section (U.S. only) and stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for more Vuelta coverage.

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