The tipping peloton continued rolling through north western Spain today, rolling over the awful Mirador de Ezaro which featured as a hilltop finish in the 2012 Vuelta. With ramps in excess of 25% but a full 35km to the finish, it was a unpredictable stage to tip. Back a pure climber? Back a sprinter?

WHO TIPPED WHO??

And indeed the tipping peloton was on a wide variety of steeds. Meersman was in for 44 tips, Gilbert for 38 and Bling Matthews had 33 tippers.

Rider | Number of Tips
Gianni Meersman | 44
Philippe Gilbert | 38
Michael Matthews | 33
Simon Gerrans | 21
Edvald Boasson Hagen | 15
Alejandro Valverde Belmonte | 12
Zdenek Stybar | 11
Bauke Mollema | 9
Daniel Martin | 9
Tyler Farrar | 6

A total of 56 different riders were tipped, which really shows the degree of uncertainty in the tipping peloton.

Of course in the end it all came together and we had a (sort of) sprint. The win went to Moreno, the classics type rider rom Katusha.

THE EXPERTS

Woody from Velotipper took Meersman, hoping the OPQS rider could hang on over the climb or at least get back in contact on the run in to the finish.

Wade Wallace from Cyclingtips went for Stybar.

I had Diego Ulissi down who is still back on the steep roads of the Ezaro as I write this. He is forecast to finish at some point tomorrow around 10am Spanish time.

The InnerRing backed Valverde, perhaps hoping that the favourites would do battle on the slopes of the Ezaro. A good defensive tip — this was a stage where there could have easily been massive time gaps and the best way to avoid dropping time is to take a favourite. Of course, Valverde lost something like 9 minutes on stage 13 of Le Tour…

STAGE WINNERS

Moreno took a comfortable win and five people backed him to do so: Nick Brown, Warren Suen, Jon Hollis, Mike Ward and Jackson Ankers.

Nobody managed to stick the break, though I suspect that more people will start chucking hail marys as their GC hopes fade to black.

Four people picked Cancellara who came in second place, including yesterday’s winner Heath Wade! Heath was joined by Scott Thomas, Anthony O’Toole and Pavel Raus.

Now in terms of lost time, look no further than Philippe Gilbert who has challenged Gerro for the Spanish Omelet (aka, the Egg of the Tour). With 38 people backing him, Gilbert dropped 14:21 for a total lost time of 9h 12m. Gerro himself managed to cause barely 5 hours worth of cumulative lost time across the tipping peloton. So Gilbert wins the “Egg of the Day” for Stage 4.

OVERALL LEADERS

With this stage we have a new leader! Welcome to the Red jersey Gabriel Herry! Gabriel is ahead on countback from Adam Millar, having backed Mollema on stage 4 and Rodriguez on stage.

The top 10 is as follows:

Gabriel Herry
Adam Millar
Heath Wade
Ben OMalley
James Fox
Darren Cathie
Ter Culloty
Jackson Ankers
Bianca Ehmke
Brad Stephens

The Cyclingtips webmaster Ben Dunn leads the pack expert tippers, though he’s barely inside the top 50.

A full 33 minutes separates the top and bottom tippers.

LOOKING FORWARD

Stage 5 is a short 165km affair with two category 3 climbs and a finish that isn’t uphill. It is the first non-uphill finish in the Vuelta, though it is far from flat. Someone like Tony Martin might have a dig at the flat finish given the relatively challenging profile that might derail sprint trains over the day. If you like sprinters, Michael Matthews or Greg Henderson potentially. Flecha has been very animated this race, and Higgs Boasson-Hagen is looking for a few more wins this season on his recovery from a shoulder crack sustained in Le Tour.