João Almeida won the fourth stage of the Volta a Catalunya ©Getty Images

Portugal’s João Almeida won an uphill sprint finish on stage four of the Volta a Catalunya, as Colombia’s Nairo Quintana took the race lead at Boí Taüll.

The queen stage of the race was expected to be key in the general classification battle, with only handful of riders forming the lead group towards the end of the 166.7 kilometre climbing route from La Seu d'Urgell to Boí Taüll.

Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz attacked inside the final three kilometres, after the remaining riders from the day’s breakaway were caught on the final climb.

Race leader Ben O'Connor of Australia was distanced by the move, but Almeida, Quintana and fellow Colombian Sergio Higuita were able to follow.

An acceleration from Quintana in the closing kilometre led to Carapaz being dropped, leaving three riders to contest the stage win.

Almeida proved the fastest finisher with the UAE Team Emirates rider crossing the line in 4 hours, 20min, 27sec, earning 10 bonus seconds for the stage win.

Quintana and Higuita completed the top-three on the same time, earning six and four bonus seconds respectively.

The Netherlands' Wout Poels was seven seconds behind in fourth, with Carapaz finishing as part of a group 13 seconds adrift of the stage winner.

The result saw Quintana move to the top of the general classification, with the Arkea-Samsic currently having the same overall time as Almeida.

Quintana, a two-time Grand Tour winner, holds the leader’s jersey due to his higher cumulative finishing positions across the four race days to date.

Bora-Hansgrohe’s Higuita is third in the standings at six seconds down.

Almeida’s Spanish team-mate Juan Ayuso lies fourth at 17 seconds behind, level on time with Poels and former race leader O’Connor.

The seven-stage International Cycling Union (UCI) World Tour race will continue tomorrow with a 206.3km route from La Pobla de Segur to Vilanova i la Geltrú.

The one-day E3 Saxo Bank Classic, another UCI World Tour race, will take place in Belgium tomorrow.

The classic will be held over 203.9 kilometres, with the route featuring 17 climbs.

Belgian star Wout van Aert has been viewed as the pre-race favourite.

Denmark’s Kasper Asgreen won last year’s event.