LA MOLINA, Spain (AP) Tejay Van Garderen of the United States climbed steadily after breaking from the pack and hung on to win the fourth stage of the Volta a Catalunya by three seconds, while Bart De Clerq of Belgium took the overall lead on Thursday.
On the mountainous 188-kilometer (117-mile) ride from Tona to La Molina, Van Garderen fended off an attack by Richie Porte of Australia, who finished second, and Alberto Contador, who was third, eight seconds behind.
Van Garderen's chances of a good overall position were damaged by a fall on Wednesday.
''After the unfortunate event yesterday with the crash, luckily I came away with minimal damage. So I changed my tactic and put everything into this stage,'' Van Garderen said. ''I lost more than 20 minutes yesterday so there's no chance (to win overall). We told the team last night and we stay positive to try and get into more breakaways and maybe try to win another stage.''
Van Garderen said he would ''just keep racing aggressive and take the most out of it all.''
Friday's race is a 195-kilometer (121-mile) mainly downhill ride from Alp to Valls featuring a category 2 ascent near the finish.