Nicolas Roche is just 12 seconds off the overall lead in the Vuelta a Espana after producing another impressive finish on Tuesday.

The Irish rider led the fourth stage between Estepona to Vejer de la Frontera into the final 100 metres but was caught just before the line.

Spain’s Alejandro Valverde won the 210km stage as Estaban Chaves retained the overall lead. Roche finished fourth on the day and retains third place overall, but moved closer to the race leader.

Team Sky rider Roche sits just two places and 15 seconds ahead of his cousin Dan Martin of Team Cannondale-Garmin.

Tour de France champion Chris Froome finished safely in the pack in 19th place and sits ninth overall. He is 40 seconds down on Chaves but just four behind fellow general classification favourite Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

Wednesday's 167.3km fifth stage from Rota to Alcala de Guadaira is expected to end in a sprint.

Roche finished third in Sunday’s second stage and on Tuesday he launched an audacious bid for glory on the short climb to the finish.

The 31-year-old just ran out of legs however, and was reeled in before the line. Valverde denied Peter Sagan a second straight triumph when he outsprinted the Slovakian to win.