There was to be no back-to-back stage wins for Peter Sagan at the Vuelta a Espana, as Alejandro Valverde sealed the fourth leg.
Movistar's Alejandro Valverde claimed the fourth stage of the Vuelta a Espana on Tuesday, coming in ahead of stage-three winner Peter Sagan.
Sagan had led going up the final climb into Vejer de la Frontera on what was the longest stage of the race so far.
However, he was edged out late in the 209.6-kilometre route, Valverde capitalising on a gap afforded to him inside the final 200 metres to top the podium, with Katusha's Daniel Moreno third.
The top three in the general classification remains unchanged, with Esteban Chaves (Orica Greenedge) leading Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant - Alpecin) and Nicolas Roche (Team Sky).
An initial six-man group broke away from the remainder almost immediately and saw their lead grow to over 13 minutes before it dwindled following the mid-race feed zone.
Team Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo both enjoyed spells on the front of the peloton before a crash impacted a host of BMC riders, including Tejay van Garderen.
Jimmy Engoulvent and Markel Irizar moved clear of their four rivals in the break as BMC sought to claw back time, with the leaders enjoying a 30-second lead going into the final 20 kilometres.
All the riders were together 11 kilometres from the finish before the stage kicked up a notch with a final climb four kilometres out.
Sagan led the way on the energy-sapping ascent before being joined by Valverde and Astana's Fabio Aru.
The Slovakian was unable to make it back-to-back stage wins, however, as Sammy Sanchez (BMC), Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) all launched their own attacks.
However, it was Valverde who had the most left in the tank as he opened up an advantage en route to his first win of this year's Vuelta.