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Irishman Dan Martin stormed into the lead of the Tour of Catalonia with an impressive victory in the fourth stage of the race on Thursday.
The Garmin-Sharp rider surged clear with nearly eight kilometres remaining of the gruelling 217.7km kilometre ride from Comprodon to Port Aine to finish 36 seconds clear of Joaquim Rodriguez and also move 10 seconds ahead of the Spaniard in the overall standings.
However, the big news of the day was the retirement from the race of Movistar's Alejandro Valverde.
The Spanish rider had been leading after the first three stages of the tour but he and teammate Eros Capecchi crashed just short of 120 kilometres into the stage and, although Valverde tried to continue, he eventually retired after a further 10 kilometres.
Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzué said that both riders were heavily bruised but he didn't believe they had suffered any serious injuries.
Valverde's crash also significantly altered the development of the stage as the peloton slowed to see if he would return to the race, allowing a breakaway pack of 23 riders to build up a significant advantage.
Martin was part of that group and whilst others struggled to maintain their pace on the climb up Port de Canto he was strong enough to hold off breaks by compatriot Nicholas Roche and Jose Herrada to move clear at the front.
Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana of the Katusha team then made late breaks to take second and third respectively with Quintana also just 22 seconds behind Rodriguez in the overall standings.
Last year's Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins is a further four seconds off the pace after he could only finish in sixth after Team Sky's push in trying to breach the gap from the peloton to the breakaway group left him without support on the final climbs.