|Italian cyclist Matteo Trentin of Quick Step team celebrates on the podium after winning the fourth stage of the Vuelta a Espana cycling race, over 198.2km between Andorra la Vella and Tarragona, Spain on August 22. — EPA Photo|Viet Nam News
TARRAGONA — Italian sprinter Matteo Trentin claimed stage four of the Vuelta a Espana on Tuesday as Chris Froome maintained the overall lead.
Four-time Tour de France winner Froome, who is aiming to become just the third man in history to win the Tour and Vuelta in the same year, holds a two-second lead over David de la Cruz, Nicolas Roche and Tejay van Garderen.
Trentin edged out Spaniard Juanjo Lobato and Belgium’s Tom van Asbroeck in a time of 4hrs 43mins 57secs on the 198.2km ride from Escaldes to Tarragona as the race entered Spain for the first time after opening stages in France and Andorra.
Security was tightened following a pair of terrorist attacks that killed 15 and left over 100 injured in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils last week, with the finish line just 20 kilometres along the Mediterranean coast from Cambrils.
After Froome took the race lead by finishing third as the general classification favourites fought it out in the Andorran mountains on Monday, Trentin took advantage of one of the few stages designed for sprinters to shine.
Victory completed an illustrous treble for the Quick-Step rider, who is now the 100th cyclist to win stages in all three Grand Tours.
"I will think about that in the future," said Trentin, who will join Orica-Scott next season.
"I am really proud to make this with Quick-Step team. I won in the Tour with them, in the Giro with them...and now in the Vuelta as well so I am really proud to make all these results."
Froome and the rest of the contenders enjoyed a trouble-free day as the Sky rider rolled in 17th on the stage.
"It was just about enjoying being in the red jersey today," said Froome after his first day in red at the Vuelta since 2011. — AFP