Volta a Catalunya: Nacer Bouhanni wins stage four, Froome & Thomas well placed

Nacer Bouhanni
Bouhanni out-sprinted stage one winner Davide Cimolai and Daryl Impey to win stage four

Britain's Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas will look to make their move on Friday after no change in the overall classification following stage four of the Volta a Catalunya.

Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni of Cofidis won the 134 km stage from Llivia to Igualada with a sprint finish.

Team Sky's Thomas remains third overall, 44 seconds behind American Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing.

Thomas's team-mate Froome is a further five seconds back in fifth place.

Van Garderen leads Spanish team-mate Samuel Sanchez by 41 seconds in the general classification.

Friday's fifth stage of seven is expected to decide the race as it culminates with a gruelling 8.4km climb to Lo Port.

Stage four was shortened by 60 kilometres because of snow at the start.

Tour de France champion Froome made a break on the descent from the final climb along with Movistar's Alejandro Valverde and Marco Soler, and David Gaudu of FDJ, but they were caught by the peloton with five kilometres left.

"We knew it would probably be a bunch sprint with a reduced group, but with the shortened stage it was super fast all day," said Welshman Thomas.

"It's a big, big day tomorrow so we'll rest up now, fuel up, and see what we've got."

There were signs of lingering discontent following the decision by officials earlier in the week to penalise Movistar, as their rider Jose Joaquin Rojas drew attention to the behaviour of Van Garderen.

Rojas was penalised three minutes, and his team-mates 60 seconds each, for pushing during Tuesday's team time-trial which cost the Spaniard the lead.

He took to Twitter after Thursday's stage to highlight what he saw as an infraction by Van Garderen, saying: "Taking off your helmet during a race is not allowed!! Rules are made for everyone!!!!!"

Jose Joaquin Rojas on Twitter

Stage Four result:

1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra/Cofidis) 3hrs 04mins 27secs

2. Davide Cimolai (Ita/FDJ) Same time

3. Daryl Impey (SA/Orica)

4. Alexander Edmondson (Aus/Orica)

5. Dion Smith (NZ/Wanty)

6. Pieter Serry (Bel/Quick-Step)

7. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita/Bhr)

8. Petr Vakoc (Cze/Quick-Step)

9. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa/Movistar)

10. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek)

General classification:

1. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing) 13hrs 29mins

2. Samuel Sanchez (Spa/BMC Racing) +41secs

3. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) +44secs

4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +45secs

5. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +49secs

6. Marc Soler (Spa/Movistar) +1min 10secs

7. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek) +1min 13secs

8. Adam Yates (GB/Orica) +1min 18secs

9. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek) +1min 25secs

10. Jarlinson Pantano (Col/Trek) same time

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