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Degenkolb is stage four sprint king

ESPN staff
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Giant-Shimano's John Degenkolb timed a sprint finish to perfection to win the fourth stage of the Vuelta a Espana.

IAM Cycling's Vicente Reynes was second, with red jersey-holder Michael Matthews of Orica-GreenEDGE edging over the line to claim third in a tight finish in Cordoba.

Degenkolb placed himself perfectly as he came through a scrum of riders to win by two bike-lengths, with around 50 men still in the mix as the stage entered the final kilometres.

Matthews found himself too far back to respond to Degenkolb's assault on the line, but the Australian did enough to cling onto the overall leader's jersey on a day when many riders wilted in the heat.

"I love the Vuelta a Espana and also the country," Degenkolb said after his victory. "I love being in Spain. Yesterday was quite disappointing not holding on, it was too hard and too explosive. Today was better. I am very happy to have a stage of the Vuelta."

Matthews leads Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar) and Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma Quick-Step) in the general classification. The riders now look ahead to stage five and the 180km from Cordoba to Ronda.

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