Alberto Contador of Saxo-Tinkoff came out on top in a battle between the overall contenders in the 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico to win Stage 4 of the race, which ended with a summit finish at Cittareale Selvarotonda this afternoon. Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Michal Kwiatkowski, who had looked in trouble on the final climb, recovered to finish seventh and keeps the race lead, with Contador 16 seconds back in second place.
The Spanish rider came off the wheel of Team Sky's Richie Porte to attack from a small group with the closing few hundred metres of the 244km stage from Indicatore, getting daylight on Movistar's Nairo Quintana, who finished second. Daniel Moreno of Katusha came third.
Contador's team mate Roman Kreuziguer managed to distance the overall contenders on the final 14km climb, one of three tough categorised climbs that featured on the second half of today's route.
As the Czech aproached the final kilometre with an advantage of 15 seconds, he began zig-zagging across the road, having apparently got the order from his team to wait for Contador, who was in the next group on the road.
Astana's Michele Scarponi was the first to bridge across but soon a group of a dozen riders formed, and first to attack was Sky's Porte, but he was quickly shut down by the Italian as well as Contador and Quintana.
When Contador launched his decisive attack, however, Porte had no reply and only Quintana was able to give chase, although the Tinkoff-Saxo rider had already established a gap that would prove impossible to close.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.