Stage four win for Clarke in Spain

AUSTRALIAN rider Simon Clarke has outsprinted world champion time triallist Tony Martin to take out stage four of the Tour of Spain.

It was the first stage win of a Grand Tour event for the 26-year-old, and the second for the Australian-owned Orica GreenEDGE outfit after Matt Goss won stage three of the Giro d'Italia.

"It's been a long time coming. I never imagined it would come in such a big way for me and the team. I couldn't be happier," Clarke said.

Clarke joined Martin, Assan Bazayev, Jesus Rosendo and Luis Angel Mate in a five-rider breakaway group during the opening hour.

They built up a lead of more than 13 minutes at one point, with Clarke and Martin surging away to open a four-minute gap on the other three with just the 9km climb up to Valdezcaray.

The result catapulted Joaquim Rodríguez into the overall lead, one second ahead of team Sky rider Chris Froome with Spain's Alberto Contador five seconds adrift in third place.

Fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde dropped from first to ninth after being caught in a crash 14km from the finish

Topics:  tour of spain

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