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Groves wins Vuelta stage four in sprint finish


Kaden Groves has sprinted to his third Grand Tour victory, a stage four win in the Vuelta a Espana after an early breakaway was reeled in before the finale.

The fourth stage was a 184.6km ride on Tuesday from Andorra la Vella to Tarragona which included two category three climbs in the final 60km.

Coming into the final kilometre the Australian was in an excellent position but had Juan Sebastian Molano and Julius van den Berg to contend with.

Van den Berg crashed into the barriers and it looked like Molano would take the stage when he went early. Coming off the final bend Molano held the lead but Groves powered home to take the stage win.

"Sebas (Molano) went full from the bottom with 350 metres to go and I was luckily patient enough and strong enough to close the gap with around 100 metres to go," Groves said after the race.

"I was confident I could pass him because he led out from very early. On a finish like that, which is super tough and long, I thought he would have to be on a really good day to beat me," the stage winner added.

Groves, who also won a stage at last year's Vuelta, was followed home by Molano in second and Edward Theuns in third place.

The stage had been billed as the first probable sprint finish of this year's race, but a three-man group who broke away at the start of the stage threatened to upset those predictions.

Eduardo Sepulveda was the first to be caught with just 22km left, but only after taking maximum points from both climbs to take over as leader in the mountains classification.

The other two riders in the breakaway, Ander Okamika and David Gonzalez were caught by the peloton 3km later to set up the exciting stage finish.

There is no change at the top of the overall standings. Defending champion Remco Evenepoel who won stage three still holds the red jersey and a five-second lead over Enric Mas.

Lenny Martinez holds onto third place ahead of this year's Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard of the Jumbo-Visma team.

Four people were arrested on Tuesday, accused of a plot to sabotage the third stage of the Spanish Vuelta.

Police said the alleged plan was to empty two drums of liquid, possibly motor oil, on the road as the peloton rode past on Monday's stage from Barcelona into the Pyrenees mountains.

Authorities believe the accused are members of a pro-Catalan independence group.

Wednesday's stage five is a hilly 186.5km route from Morella to Burriana.