California - Slovakian Peter Sagan won his fourth consecutive stage of the Tour of California in Wednesday's fourth stage, leaving Australian Heinrich Haussler runner-up for the fourth day in a row.
Sagan, a 22-year-old rider for the Liquigas team, stretched his overall lead to 16 seconds over Garmin rider Haussler with the victory in the 209.6km stage, winning with a time of 5hrs, 18mins, 8secs.
Sagan has an overall time of 19 hrs, 52 mins, 52 secs ahead of Thursday's fifth stage, a 29.7km time trial at Bakersfield.
After Haussler in the overall chase are Americans Jeffry Louder at 34 seconds, Alex Howes at 35 seconds and Freddy Rodriguez at 36 seconds.
Australian Michael Matthews was third in the stage followed by Belgium's Tom Boonen, the world's top-ranked cyclist.
The race continues through Sunday, with a pivotal day being Saturday's 186.3km mountain stage at Mount Baldy.
Top finishers of Wednesday's 209.6km fourth stage of the Tour of California:
1. Peter Sagan (SVK/Liquigas) 5hrs, 18mins, 8secs
2. Heinrich Haussler (AUS) same time
3. Michael Matthews (AUS) s.t.
4. Tom Boonen (BEL) s.t.
5. Roger Kluge (GER) s.t.
6. Jasper Stuyven (BEL) s.t.
7. Guillaume Boivin (CAN) s.t.
8. Alexander Candelario (USA) s.t.
9. Leigh Howard (AUS) s.t.
10. Lloyd Mondory (FRA) s.t.
1. Peter Sagan (SVK/Liquigas) in 19hrs 52:52
2. Heinrich Haussler (AUS) at 16
3. Jeffry Louder (USA) 34
4. Alex Howes (USA) 35
5. Freddy Rodriguez (USA) 36