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Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) powered to the sprint victory on stage 4 of Tour Colombia Friday. He held off Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) at the line for the victory. Nelson Soto (Petrolike) completed the podium in third in the flat, fast finish in Zipaquirá.
From the peloton led by Astana with 3km go, Petrolike’s Jose Ramon Muñiz launched a solo attack. He glanced back passing under the 1km mark and fell in line behind a line of Astana riders, which delivered Cavendish for the win.
The Manxman reversed his fortunes from the opening stage, finishing third to Gaviria in Duitama. His Astana team was attentive to moves all day, including a late breakaway in the final 30km, while Nu Colombia held steady in the peloton to project race leader Rodrigo Contreras.
A late breakaway of Julián Cardona (Team Medellín), Laureano Rosas (Swift Carbon Pro Cycling Brasil) and Alexander Gil (Orgullo Paisa) took their chances into a headwind and moved clear by 43 seconds with 27km to go. The final third of the stage had left the mountainous terrain behind after the final KOM at Alto del Sisga and it was only flat roads through farming communities headed to Zipaquirá.
Gil was the first to relent from the front as Cardona and Rosas cooperated to hold a 20-second gap with 12km to go, a few looks revealing the peloton in full flight. Movistar was massed behind Nu Colombia with 7.3km to go and had the catch almost in hand on a small rise on the wide road. The duo resisted for another kilometre before the bigger teams took over.
How it happened
Stage 4 of the Tour Colombia was always likely to be race of two distinct parts. The opening phase from Paipa took the peloton through some rugged terrain, culminating in the 2,866m-high Alto Sisga, ahead of a fast drop onto the altopiano that led to Egan Bernal’s hometown of Zipaquirá.
Bernal’s sometime training partner Óscar Sevilla (Medellín) was the stage’s lone non-starter. The 47-year-old, who began a new life in Colombia after Operación Puerto effectively ended his career in…