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Giro d'Italia stage 4 - Live coverage


Good morning and welcome along as the 2021 Giro d'Italia gets serious with its first uphill finish. The short but steep final ascent in Sestola won't be decisive in the battle for the maglia rosa, but it should prize open some gaps between the overall contenders and - at the very least - give us a first true indication of who's going well.

Wet conditions at the start. We're in Piacenza, on the banks of the Po river in the Emilia-Romagna region. 

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The riders are currently signing on in the main square and talking to the media under the cloisters of the Palazzo Comunale. They'll roll out at 12:05 local time (so in around 15 minutes), and the stage will officially get underway once they reach kilometre-zero at around 12:20.

Before we get going, why not catch up on yesterday's action? 

Full standings and a report, plus a photo gallery, from yesterday's thrilling stage 3, can be found here.

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You've also got time to read our in-depth stage preview, with details on today's route, and what's at stake in terms of the overall complexion of this Giro.

Nowhere to hide: Sestola finale offers first test for Giro d'Italia GC contenders

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We're off. The riders, all in rain capes and wet weather gear, set off, rolling behind the director's car in the neutral zone.

The route heads south east on flat roads for the first 50km to Parma, then tracks in a more southerly direction as the terrain grows hillier en route to the final climb in Sestola. The Apeninne hills will provide some shelter from the wind but it looks like wet conditions for most of the day.

We're nearing the end of the neutral zone and thoughts turn to today's breakaway. Who will want to get in there? How long will it take to form? 

Ineos Grenadiers have the pink jersey on the shoulders of Filippo Ganna but he's expected to lose the overall lead today. Lots of people are thinking Remco Evenepoel  fancies pink after his intermediate sprint the other day, so will Deceuninck-QuickStep instead be the team to manage the peloton? 

Controlling on a day like this will take resources, so there'll be plenty of hope for a break, and therefore surely plenty of interest in being in there.

A slight delay to the start of the stage proper after a mechanical problem for an Ineos Grenadiers rider.

And we're away!

The flag drops and the racing kicks off

Two riders immediately go on the attack - one apiece from Qhubeka Assos and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert.

Intermarché's spirits are high after Taco van der Hoorn's thrilling victory yesterday. That was the team's first of the season and first ever in a Grand Tour, this being their first Giro after a few participations at the Tour de France. 

Reactions from behind now.

The Qhubeka rider is Victor Campenaerts and the Intermarché representative is Quinten Hermans.

The duo have 12 seconds in hand but it hasn't quite settled down behind yet.

The Italian ProTeams aren't on board here and it's Bardiani-CSF looking to go after it, as are Eolo-Kometa now.

And now an Androni-Giocattoli rider makes a more convincing attack. 

It's dragged back as the bunch comes back together.

Bardiani are the next to throw a rider off the front.

The peloton bunches back up and now Eolo send a rider on the attack.

170km to go

We've done 17km now and still Campenaerts and Hermans lead an unsettled peloton by 15 seconds.

Mechanical for George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) but he's now back in the bunch.

Still moves going off the front of the peloton but nothing sticking. Campenaerts and Hermans are hanging out just ahead.

Bardiani are particularly keen here. They're in their sponsors' home region and have apparently been given the orders that they cannot afford to miss out on today's break. 

So many accelerations at the head of the bunch, so few actually going anywhere. The gap still stands at 20 seconds.

A six-man move clips off and this one looks promising.

The counter attack goes clear and it looks like the peloton is shutting up shop with the help of some road blockers.

Ah, no. It opens up again and another trio set off. More reactions behind now.

There are eight riders in that counter-attack: Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), Marton Dina (Eolo-Kometa), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo), Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF).

Still more groups coming together ahead of the bunch.

It looks like a second counter attack of 12 riders has formed. 

Ineos gather at the head of the bunch and it looks like it's finally settling down back there. But a large number of riders have got away.

150km to go

37km on the clock and still Campenaerts and Hermans lead the way, followed at 20 seconds by that group of eight, and another group of 12 following 20 seconds behind them.

Deceuninck-QuickStep have put a rider into that second counter: Pieter Serry.

One of QuickStep's leaders, Joao Almeida, was fined for littering yesterday, but that has been rescinded this morning. The Portuguese rider could have been on a 'yellow card', at risk of a one-minute time penalty for a repeat offence, but is now in the clear. 

Here's the full story.

There's a third counter-attack out there, with Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo) and the Bardiani duo of Samuele Zoccarato and Filippo Fiorelli.

The peloton is indeed slipping back, as the gap to the front of the race rises above two minutes.

145km to go

Gathering up front. 

The 12-man group joins forces with the eight-man group, and that large group now reaches the leading duo.

Mosca, Zocarrato and Fiorelli are still chasing at 27 seconds.

But now that trio do close in and make contact, finally giving us a breakaway of around 25 riders. Full composition on the way.

Here are the 25 riders in the break

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)

17 of the 23 teams are represented up front. Absent are Ineos, Astana, Bora, EF, Lotto, Jumbo.

136km to go

The gap back to the peloton has risen to 5:30.

Ineos don't seem too bothered about missing out, nor about controlling all day to keep the pink jersey. Astana, however, are panicking a little and are now en masse on the front of the bunch.

It's been a fast start, despite the cross-head wind. The riders covered 50km in the first hour. 

Ineos do come to the front now, and it's the pink jersey himself, Filippo Ganna (although the jersey is hidden under his cape) who's setting the pace. 

With Ineos and Astana now collaborating, the gap has stabilised at six minutes. With 131km to go, that's manageable on paper, but the sheer size of the break makes it a much different proposition.

Although Ineos and Astana are controlling, it remains to be seen whether anyone will mount a proper chase later to end this break and set up a stage win. At this point, there'll be plenty of optimism up front, and no shortage of riders starting to see pink. 

Oliveira is the best-placed overall, 32 seconds down on Ganna, with one-second gaps to De Marchi, then Conti, then Campenaerts. Five other riders are within a minute: Hermans, Vervaeke, Valter, Vendrame, Taaramae.

114km to go

The gap has come down slightly, to 5:45.

The road is tilting uphill and will ramp up towards the intermediate sprint at Rossena  in around 10km. The terrain is rugged thereafter, with barely a metre of flat all the way to the finish. We have two categorised climbs ahead of the final ascent of the highly-anticipated Colle Passerino. 

In tech news, Canyon has launched a new gravel bike. I can tenuously tie this plug in with the fact that the Giro will be visiting gravel roads on stage 11. Anyway, it's called the Grizl and you can read all about it here.

The break hit that steeper ramp up towards the intermediate sprint.

The gap has nudged down to 5:30.

Here comes the sprint, and it's Tagliani who sets off in search of the points.

98km to go

The gap continues to dip as the peloton come through the sprint, now five minutes in arrears.

The shake-up begins. The road continues to climb past the sprint and now riders are starting to lose contact with the back of the bunch.

Race leader Ganna continues to work, with the pink jersey now on display. Sameuele Battistella is the Astana rider ordered to the front and it's those two Italians who've been controlling this peloton for some time now. They're setting a strong tempo here, reducing the gap to the break to 4:30, and putting several riders in difficulty.

Simon Yates didn't have the most subtle build-up, winning the Tour of the Alps in style. He's clearly in form, raising questions over whether he's too good too soon. That'll be because of the way he sparkled then blew up at the 2018 Giro. As his director Matt White points out, those errors were already corrected when he won the Vuelta later in 2018, and winning the Alps is no different to winning the Dauphiné ahead of the Tour. 

Matt White: I'm not concerned about Simon Yates peaking too early at Giro d'Italia

Here's a shot of the large breakaway

SESTOLA ITALY MAY 11 Jacopo Mosca of Italy and Team Trek Segafredo in the Breakaway during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 4 a 187km stage from Piacenza to Sestola 1020m girodiitalia Giro UCIworldtour on May 11 2021 in Sestola Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

And here's Ganna leading the bunch a little earlier

SESTOLA ITALY MAY 11 Filippo Ganna of Italy and Team INEOS Grenadiers Pink Leader Jersey during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 4 a 187km stage from Piacenza to Sestola 1020m Rain girodiitalia Giro UCIworldtour on May 11 2021 in Sestola Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Here are the results from the intermediate sprint a little earlier

Tagliani - 12 points

Venchiarutti - 8

Fiorelli - 6

De Marchi - 5

Gavazzi - 4

Vendrame - 3

Dina - 2

Mosca - 1

The weather conditions , with wind gusting as well as the rain falling, have halted any television broadcast of this stage for the time being.

80km to go

The gap has stabilised at 4:30 as we head downhill ahead of the first of our three categorised climbs.

The gap starts to rise again, back out to 5 minutes.

We're about to hit that climb. It's the Castello di Carpineti, a category-3 ascent, 3.5km in length with an average gradient of 8.6 per cent.

The climb begins and Tagliano and Zoccarato are quickly dropped.

Ganna is still on the front of the bunch as they tackle the climb.

The break come towards the top and Gavazzi accelerates

Gavazzi gets to the top first and collects maximum mountains points. That's more about defending the lead of his teammate Vincenzo Albanese in that classification. 

Many riders starting to lose contact again in the peloton.

In the break, Taaramae was second over the top, followed by Juul-Jensen and Hermans. Those three are pressing on as they head downhill. 

Sprinters Merlier and Nizzolo are dropped.

70km to go

Ganna leads the bunch over the top of the climb, six minutes after the break.

This is a wet and treacherous descent, and Ineos looked keen to maintain the front positions in anticipation. Ganna leads them down. 

Hermans, Taaramae, and Juul-Jensen have opened a significant lead over the rest of the break as they emerge safely onto the flat.

Tagliani rejoined the break on the descent, but Zoccarato looks to have been definitively distanced.

The leading trio take their lead out to 35 seconds now.

Juul-Jensen is not working up there. He finds himself with two Intermarché riders and he's happy to allow them to trade turns while he takes a back seat and sees what happens.

Ganna leads them off the descent and piles on the power on the flat, stretching out the peloton, where there are small gaps between riders.

There's a small split towards the back of the bunch now.

The gap yawns open. It remains to be seen whether any GC favourites have been caught out.

Ganna continues to set a strong tempo. The main peloton is still large but a number of riders have been chopped off the back. 

60km to go

Up front, the leading trio have taken their lead out to 50 seconds. The gap back to the bunch is 6:25

The road starts to tilt uphill again and that second mini peloton stitches back onto the main bunch.

And now the riders who were dropped on the climb are getting back in, so we have pretty much a full peloton once again, 6:30 behind the leaders.

This is a bold, ambitious move from Intermarché, still a long way from the finish. Confidence must be high after yesterday, and indeed their Giro is already a success, whatever happens now. They can afford to try some things and here they're away with two riders, a minute clear of the rest of the break. A long way from the finish, but if that group doesn't cooperate smoothly, it could well work out. At the moment there's little impetus behind, as the gap grows to 1:10. 

Juul-Jensen does represent something of a problem to the Intermarché duo. He's a mere passenger at the moment, and is maybe in the best position of all. Hermans and Taaramae are both within a minute of the overall lead, so might soon be thinking of pink, while Juul-Jensen might get a tow towards a possible stage win. 

Tagliana and Zoccarato are caught by the bunch.

Trek-Segafredo have the numbers in the chase group, with three riders in there, and do have one of them on the front, but the gap is only going up. 1:50 now to the three leaders.

52km to go

The road is already rising but the three leaders are about to hit the second of the categorised climbs. It's the cat-3 Montemolino, which is 8.6km long at an average gradient of 5.7 per cent and maximum slopes of 18 per cent.

Ganna continues to lead the bunch but the gap to the leaders continues to rise. 7:30 now.

50km to go


So, as we head onto the next climb with 50km to go, we have three riders in the lead: the Intermarché duo of Quinten Hermans and Rein Taaramae, plus BikeExchange's Chris Juul-Jensen. 

Chasing are 20 of their 22 former breakaway companions (the other two are back in the bunch). That group is 1:45 in arrears.

The peloton is being led by the race leader, Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), 7:50 behind the front three. 

Onto the climb and Juul-Jensen continues to sit on. Surely we'll see some action from the group behind now.

Trek-Segafredo stabilised the gap on the approach and now De Marchi issues a first acceleration.

Hermans leads the way on the climb, arms and legs out. The taller Taaramae follows with both sets of warmers on. 

There's your lead group.

SESTOLA ITALY MAY 11 Christopher Juul Jensen of Denmark and Team BikeExchange Quinten Hermans of Belgium Rein Taaramae of Estonia and Team Intermarch Wanty Gobert Matriaux lead the Breakaway during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 4 a 187km stage from Piacenza to Sestola 1020m girodiitalia Giro UCIworldtour on May 11 2021 in Sestola Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ganna concedes the front position in the bunch. Puccio takes over for now. You don't often see the maglia rosa pulling all day...

Trek take it up as the chase group settles down on the climb. The gap to the front three remains 1:50.

Taaramae attacks!

The leaders hit the steepest ramps on the final 2km of the climb, and Taaramae kicks on while Hermans, who was doing the work on the lower slopes, falls away.

Juul-Jensen was able to quickly go with Taaramae.

Koen de Kort has been dropped from the chase group so that's one less rider for Trek. They have put Mosca on the front, working for Ghebreigzabhier.

Juul-Jensen is still locked in the wheel, not that he's getting much of a draft on these super steep double-digit gradients towards the top of this climb.

Both riders are out of the saddle grinding their way up this narrow road. It's super slow but they're almost at the top.

Juul-Jensen moves through to the front now.

There's a slight respite before the climb kicks up again in the final 300 metres.

The rest of the break hit the steep section and they're going up quicker. The gap falls to 1:30.

De Marchi leads the way in that group and they catch Hermans.

43.6km to go

Taaramae leads Juul-Jensen over the top of the climb.

Taaramae drops a bottle as they head downhill and he needs to go back to his team car. That'll knock a few more seconds off their lead.

The gap is down to 1:05 as De Marchi leads a select group over that climb. 

Deceuninck-QuickStep move to the front en masse as the peloton takes on the climb. This is the first time we've seen them today.

The riders with De Marchi are Vervaeke and Dombrowski. Edet is also dragging himself across.

40km to go

Juul-Jensen now appears to be contributing on this rolling section over the top. The gap to the four chasers is 1:05.

The peloton hits the steep section and it's Knox leading the way for QuickStep. 

Evenepoel is third wheel, looking calm as he rises out of the saddle to deal with the 16 per cent gradients.

Knox is leading QuickStep on the left, Puccio doing the same for Ineos on the right.

The chase group expands. 

Oliveira, Serry, Vendrame, and Tratnik make it across to De Marchi, Edet, Dombrowski, and Vervaeke. Eight riders now in the chase, 1 minute behind the lead duo of Taaramae and Juul-Jensen. 

The peloton heads over the top of that climb now, eight minutes in arrears. Ganna has slipped but should be able to get back on the descent.

More riders start to get back into that chase group now as the gap goes back out to 1:10.

Mosca, Valter, Gavazzi, Dina, and one of the Bardiani riders have just joined back on.

Mechanical for De Marchi, who had split that chase group earlier on. He has to stop.

31km to go

Taaramae and Juul-Jensen are collaborating well now as they head uphill ahead of the descent to that uncategorised climb that takes us towards the all-important final climb.

Vendrame attacks from the chase group.

The collaboration was clearly not good in the chase, even when De Marchi cut it back to a more manageable size. The best place to be so far has proven to be up front.

30km to go

30 to go and the leading duo take on that longer descent now. Their lead is down to 55 seconds.

Vendrame is brought back as De Marchi rejoins that group

Ganna is hanging on at the back of the peloton now.

Remi Cavagna is now leading the bunch for QuickStep. They're still on the uphill section ahead of the descent where we find the leaders.

25km to go

Juul-Jensen and Taaramae head under the 25km-to-go banner. They do so with a lead of one minute.

Bahrain now send a rider to the head of the peloton. It's Matej Mohoric, who steps in front of the QuickStep train.

Mohoric leads the bunch onto the descent. The roads are still soaking wet and treacherous.

The front duo find a little more ground again. The gap swings back out to 1:08.

No team has more than one rider in this chase group of 13 riders, so there will be question marks over cooperation from here to the finish. 

22km to go

The leaders hit the penultimate climb of the day. It's uncategorised, but it's a climb.

The peloton start to make some in roads after a long while of stable gap. It's 7:30 now but with just over 21km to go the stage win and the new overall leader is going to come from the break.

Ganna is dropped again as the bunch goes under the 25-to-go banner.

Taaramae and Juul-Jensen continue to climb together. It's looking good again, as the gap goes out to 1:15, but a lot can happen on this climb and especially the final one.

No big response yet from the chase group.

The gradients stiffen under the 20km-to-go-banner and Juul-Jensen takes on a gel. Those two are getting close to their respective goals - Juul-Jensen the stage win, Taaramae the pink jersey. The latter may fancy both, to be fair. Juul-Jensen did sit on for a long time so it's not certain any deal would be struck and it should simply come down to legs on the tough final climb which comes at the end of a tough wet day in the saddle, which will drain many riders' resources.

Bahrain continue to work as the road heads uphill. The gap to the leaders falls to 6:30 now. It's Rafa Valls on the front now and this is quite the push.

The peloton is reducing quite heavily now. No GC riders are in trouble but there are plenty of tired legs after so long riding in the wet.

The two leaders are nearing the top of the first section of this penultimate and uncategorised climb, and they're holding firm, 1:20 ahead of the 13-rider chase group.

Bernal in the bunch

Giro d'Italia 2021 - 104th Edition - 4th stage Piacenza - Sestola 187 km - 11/05/2021 - Egan Bernal (COL - Ineos Grenadiers) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

16km to go

The lead duo crest that first portion and take on a short downhill before another little kick up.

Into the final 15km and Taaramae will be thinking of pink. He started the day 57 seconds down on Ganna, but the bunch is out of this. Oliveira and De Marchi are just over 30 seconds down and are still in the chase group, so Taaramae would need to finish 20 seconds or so clear of them. 

13km to go

Taaramae and Juul-Jensen head over that last little lip and take on the descent to the foot of our highly-anticipated final climb. They still lead by 1:18.

Mohoric has moved back to the front for Bahrain, and the gap falls to 5:20.

Juul-Jensen is leading down this descent, which has plenty of bends and plenty of water on the surface.

QuickStep take it back up in the bunch towards the top of the climb. It's Knox and Honoré who punch their way through.

10km to go

Into the final 10 and the two leaders still enjoy a lead of 1:20 as they head downhill. They suffered no real damage on that climb so they'll be believing, but this final climb is really tough so it's far from over.

A bit more about the final climb, the Colle Passerino

Although just 4.2km in length, it has an average gradient of 9.9 per cent, including pitches of 16 per cent around midway up. It's a second-category climb and tops out 2.5km from the finish, followed by a rolling plateau to the line. Sestola is where Giulio Ciccone broke through win a stage win five years ago but this is a different way up to the finish.

7km to go

QuickStep's push has brought the gap to the bunch down to 4:30 ahead of the final climb. 

Taaramae and Juul-Jensen peel off the descent and onto the climb.

There's an intermediate sprint at the base, and it carries bonus seconds. Taaramae crosses it first, collecting three seconds, which will be most welcome as he looks to take the pink jersey. 

Oliveira pushes on to grab the final bonus second as the chase group reaches the base of the climb just over a minute in arrears. They made up some seconds at the bottom of that descent.

Taaramae leads the way on the early slopes of this climb

Taaramae remains seated while Juul-Jensen rises from the saddle. They have 57 seconds now. Who will attack from behind?

Bahrain have taken control of the bunch once again as they head down towards the final climb.

The stage win and new maglia rosa is coming from the break but don't forget this final climb is a GC battleground, the first open hostilities between the overall favourites. It's not a major climb, but after a day like this, these gradients will punish any sign of weakness.

De Marchi pushes on in the chase as the gap falls to 47 seconds.

Bahrain lead the bunch onto the final climb! They're 4:20 behind the leading duo now.

De Marchi contines to push on behind. He's well in with a shout of the pink jersey as well. 

De Marchi started the day 33 seconds down, one second behind Oliveira, but 24 seconds up on Taaramae.

Dombrowski follows De Marchi as the Italian spliots this chase group.

5km to go

33 seconds now! De Marchi is reducing this gap quickly!

Vervaeke - himself not out of the picture having started the day inside a minute - is struggling behind De Marchi and Dombrowski.

No fireworks in the bunch so far, although it's thinning quickly.

Almeida dropped! Wow

There are only around 25 riders in the bunch now, and the Portuguese rider loses contact. Is the QuickStep leadership question being settled already?

4.5km to go

Meanwhile, up the road, De Marchi and Dombrowski continue to eat into this gap and they're just 18 seconds back now!

De Marchi is the virtual maglia rosa now. 10 seconds is the gap and they're going to make the catch.

4.3km to go

The catch is made. Dombrowski takes it up as they come together as four.

Back in the bunch Ciccone attacks. He won here five years ago

Taaramae is dropped up front.

Dombrowski on the move! The American grinds away on the double-digit gradients and he opens a gap on De Marchi. Juul-Jensen is falling away now.

4km to go and Dombrowski has a small gap.

Ciccone has several seconds in hand over the rest of the GC group.

3.5km to go

Dombrowski pulling away!

Dombrowski is into the final kilometre of the climb and he has clear daylight. The former Baby Giro winner has never won a Grand Tour stage, despite many Giro breakaways. Is this the day?

Bahrain lead the GC group for Landa. 

Just over 20 riders left in that bunch.

De Marchi is not out of this, and could yet be riding into pink. Dombrowski started the day 1:12 down overall. 

Landa attacks!

Ineos look to react.

Landa quickly opens a gap as the group is put under huge pressure.

Bahrain have done their work today and it was leading to this Landa attack. Still plenty of this climb to go. 

Landa reaches Ciccone and moves past him.

2.5km to go

Up front Dombrowski crests the Colle Passerino. 2500m of rolling roads to the finish.

Vlasov attacks now! Landa's teammate Caruso is on his wheel.

Bernal goes after those two!

Dombrowski enjoys a downhill section. 1.8km to go now for him.

Bernal gets over to Landa and Ciccone!

Carthy joins Vlasov

Carthy rides away from Vlasov as he gets over to Bernal, Landa, Ciccone.

1km to go

Dombrowski enters the final kilometre. It looks like he has this.

Dombrowski zips down hill and then back up in the final 800m.

Bernal takes it up as that select group head onto the final section beyond the climb.

Here comes Dombrowski into the finish, on slippy paving slabs. He's got this.

Dombrowski rounds the final bend, looks around, looks around once more, and realises he's done it.

He punches the air! Dombrowski wins!

Here comes De Marchi. He finishes second, 12 seconds back. He's in the pink jersey.

Fiorelli finishes third, followed by Vervaeke and Tratnik.

But now we look at the GC...

Bernal, Landa, Carthy, Vlasov, and Ciccone are riding together into the finish area. They have around 10 seconds in hand.

Bernal sprints in the final 300m. 

Bernal leads that group home, followed by Ciccone, Vlasov, Carthy, Landa.

Here's the next GC group. They finish 10 seconds down. Yates, Evenepoel, Bardet, Martin are in there.

Another 20 seconds back to the next group, with Hindley, Nibali, Soler, Sivakov, Buchmann, Pozzovivo.

George Bennett crosses the line. He has lost more than a minute.

And now here comes Almeida, led by Knox. He has shipped a lot of time - more than four minutes. He's out of it, already.

This is how the rest of the field crossed the line (time gaps to Dombrowski)

+1:37 - Bernal, Ciccone, Vlasov, Landa, Carthy

+1:48 - Evenepoel, Bardet, Yates, Martin, Formolo, Bettiol, Caruso. 

+2:05 - Moscon, Vendrame

+2:11 - Pozzovivo, Buchmann, Nibali, Sivakov, Hindley, Martinez, Soler, Schultz, Bilbao

+2:51 - Masnada, Mader, Mosca

+3:06 - Foss, Bennett, Guerreiro

The winner shot

Team UAE Emirates rider US Joe Dombrowski celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the fourth stage of the Giro dItalia 2021 cycling race 187 km between Piacenza and Sestola EmiliaRomagna on May 11 2021 Photo by Dario BELINGHERI AFP Photo by DARIO BELINGHERIAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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This is what it means to De Marchi to get the pink jersey. He's a rare example of a pure breakaway specialist, and spends thousands of kilometres out front every season, most often with no reward. But every so often it pays off...

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Let's hear from the stage winner, Joe Dombrowski

"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."

And now we can hear from our new race leader, Alessandro De Marchi

“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."

Giro d'Italia 2021 - 104th Edition - 4th stage Piacenza - Sestola 187 km - 11/05/2021 - Alessandro De Marchi (ITA - Israel Start-Up Nation) - photo Tommaso Pelagalli/BettiniPhoto©2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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To help you make sense of the GC shake-up, we have a round-up of who finished where, plus a GC classification for just the pre-race favourites.

Giro d'Italia: Which GC contenders lost time on stage 4

Giro dItalia 2021 104th Edition 4th stage Piacenza Sestola 187 km 11052021 Alessandro De Marchi ITA Israel StartUp Nation photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Full results, report, and photo gallery all in here.

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