American rider Joe Dombrowski wins his first Giro d'Italia Stage
American rider Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) won a very difficult fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia. Alessandro De Marchi (Bahrain Victorious) took the leaders Pink Jersey
The third stage of the race was 187 kilometres long over a rolling course that included two third category and an ascending finish on a second category.
A group of 25 riders managed to breakaway to build a gap of more than eight minutes with a pack that worked hard to control it, even Filippo Ganna (Ineos-Grenadiers) in his Pink Jersey took turns on the front.
In that breakaay were Filippo Zana, Samuele Zoccarato, Filippo Fiorelli (Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Jacopo Mosca, Koen De Kort (Trek-Segafredo), Quinten Hermans, Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Joe Dombrowski, Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), Filippo Tagliani, Nicola Venchiarutti (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec), Francesco Gavazzi, Marton Dina (Eolo-Kometa), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation), Pieter Serry (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious), Chris Juul-Jensen (Team BikeExchange), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën Team), Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos), Nico Denz (Team DSM), Louis Vervaeke (Alpecin-Fenix).
During the descent of the second climb of the Montemolino, three riders ride away from the rest of the breakaway Quinten Hermans, Christopher Juul Jensen and Rein Taaramae.
With around 25 kilometres to go, Hermans dropped, behind in the peloton it was clear that the Maglia Rosa was going to change hands as Ganna was left struggling behind.
On the last climb of the day on the Colle Passerino which climbed up to to 1,052m above sea level to the finish line in Sestola, Alessandro De Marchi and Joe Dombrowski managed to catch and pass Christopher Juul Jensen and Rein Taaramae.
Behind riders were being shelled out the back of the remaining peloton, the biggest casualty was Joao Almeida.
Soon after, Giulio Ciccone was the first to attack the reduced peloton containg most of the GC contenders. With around three kilometres to go, Mikel Landa attackedand caught Ciccone, moments later Aleksandr Vlasov attacked, followed by Egan Bernal, Pavel Sivakov, Hugh Carthy and Damiano Caruso.
Dombrowski crossed the finish line to win this the stage, while Italian De Marchi finsihed second to grab the Maglia Rosa race lead.
Dombrowski won his first pro race in Italy, in 2011, he won a stage of the Valle d’Aosta, and in 2012 he won two stages of the U23 Giro d’Italia and the final GC. Dombrowski also took the Maglia Azzurra as well as the stage, he leads Vincenzo Albanese by 18 points to 16 in that competition. The US rider is also 2nd in GC by 22″.
Behind the GC group containing Bernal, Ciccone, Vlasov, Landa and Carthy arrived one minute and 37 seconds behind the winner of the stage, while Remco Evenepoel was one minute and 48 seconds later along with names like Romain Bardet, Simon Yates and Dan Martin. Sivakov, Vincenzo Nibali, Jai Hindley and Marc Soler crossed the finish line two minutes and eleven seconds behind Dombrowski.
Vlasov is now the best placed GC rider ahead of; Evenepoel +4",Carthy +10", Bernal +11", Landa +25", Yates +25", Bardet +39", Martin +43", Sivakov +43" and Martinez +45". Bernal gained 11 seconds on Evenpoel today.
Almeida's group finally cross the line 5m 58s down, any doubts that Remco Evenepoel isn't the GC leader of Deceuninck-Quickstep have been quashed.
Attila Valter, 6th on the stage, is the new Maglia Bianca wearer, the Hungarian with Groupama – FDJ now lies 5th in GC, one minute behind De Marchi, 24″ ahead of Vlasov, 28* ahead of Evenepoel and 39″ ahead of Egan Bernal.
Joe Dombrowski said after the stage clearly elated with his win, "I'm really happy with today, obviously. I was feeling good in the last 50km, and was just trying not to do too much work and be conservative, because I knew the last climb was really a tough one. I was able to get a gap, and it wasn't enough for the pink jersey but I think the stage win is a nice way to finish the day. It was hard to know what would happen - if it would be a group of GC riders or if the break would have enough time. For a while we were at 4:30 then at one point it went up to eight minutes, so was thinking the group had a good chance to stay away, but just needed to stay attentive for splits, because when you have a group of 25, not everyone cooperates. I needed to be ready for attacks and I was able to follow everything. I knew De Marchi was probably the strongest in the break so if I took his wheel I'd be in a good spot."
Ten years after his first Giro d'Italia, after 85 stages, Italian Alessandro De Marchi wears the Pink Jersey wearer and said, “I’d been thinking about the maglia rosa all stage and even in the last few days. I’d thought I’d lost my chance at one point and would have been devastated after making a mistake but the famous rule came true: never give up."
"In end it all worked out. I’m going to cry if I think about it. This is small reward for the thousands of attempts I made during my 11-year career. I’m going to try to really enjoy it. It’s for me and my wife Anna."
Tomorrow's stage 5 will be well received by the peloton after such a hard day, its a fairly flat 171 km stage from Modena to Cattolica - one for the sprinters.