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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. - Arthur Schopenhauer

Current racing:

Upcoming races:

Cancelled & postponed races:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia stage four team reports:

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Joe Dombrowski's UAE Team Emirates:

Joe Dombrowski tasted his first victory for UAE Team Emirates with an impressive win on stage 4 of the Giro D’Italia.

Joe Dombrowski

Joe Dombrowski enjoys his well-earned win. Sirotti photo

The 29-year old formed part of the early escape of 25 riders along with teammate Valerio Conti, which broke away in the early stages of the rainy transfer from Piacenza to Sestola (187km).

The group slowly built up a gap which reached a maximum of 7’ on the peloton as the tough conditions and arduous terrain fractured the lead group.

With the final climb coming at 6km to go, Dombrowski emerged in a select bunch of surviving climbers before going clear solo with only Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start Up Nation) able to stay within reach of the American.

Dombrowski grinded his way up the steep gradient to hold off De Marchi and take the stage honours, having time to throw his arms in the air in celebration as he crossed the line.

This is the 10th victory of the season for the Emirati team and the first win for Dombrowski in the colours of UAE, who also celebrates his 30th birthday tomorrow.

Dombrowski is now the highest placed rider for the team in the GC in 2nd overall, +22’’ from new race leader De Marchi.

Tomorrow stage 5 will see the riders go from Modena to Cattolica (177km) over a pan flat course which offers a chance for the sprinters.

Dombrowski: “I was feeling good in the last 50km, just trying not to do too much work and be a bit conservative because I knew the last climb was really tough. It was a big group and I knew De Marchi was one of the stronger guys so I followed him and on the last climb I was able to get the gap and take the win. I didn’t quite get enough time to take the leaders jersey but I am delighted with the stage win.”

Here's the report from new GC leader Alessandro de Marchi's Israel Start-Up Nation team:

Never give up. Never give up. Alessandro De Marchi put his heart and soul into those words on stage 4 of Giro d’Italia, taking the pink leader’s jersey after an incredible performance.

“Last night, I looked at the GC and saw that I was still 12th overall. I joked with my sports director Claudio Cozzi that I would try to take the jersey tomorrow and look what happened!

Alessandro de Marchi

Alessandro de Marchi drives for the finish and the pink jersey. Sirotti photo

“When the three riders got away on the descent and quickly opened up a big gap, I thought that it might be over. But luckily, we started to take back time on them and at the bottom of the last climb, I knew that it would be possible to catch them. Dombrowski was very strong and I just did my best to stay close to him and secure the pink jersey. When I crossed the line, I still wasn’t sure if I had made it but then I saw my team coming to me smiling and I realized what had happened.

“It’s an incredible feeling. I have been waiting 10 years for this. To wear the pink jersey is the dream of every cyclist, especially the Italian riders. Now I just want to celebrate with my teammates and enjoy my day in pink tomorrow!”

He never gave up on the stage. He joined the break group. When the climbing started, he didn’t give up. When two others of the group broke off, he steadily and doggedly stayed in the chase. Even a puncture with 32 km to go didn’t discourage him.

He didn’t give up when Dombrowski pulled away and went on to win the stage. Alessandro had his eye on the larger prize.

There were tears in his eyes as he proudly stood on the podium in his pink jersey – a childhood dream come true.

“You did an amazing, amazing ride. You are very deserving to wear the Maglia Rosa!” said proud team owner Sylvan Adams. “We are making history with our first leader’s jersey in a Grand Tour, – a spectacular achievement that I knew we could do.”

Emanuel Buchmann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

The terrain was starting to get much tougher on stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia, and so were the weather conditions. From the start of the day, riders were drenched, and conditions didn’t become any better as the race made its way over the 187km parcours. As well as the rain and wet roads, the peloton would have to tackle three categorised climbs – the last of these coming just before the finish in Sestola.

Stage start

the stage started wet and it didn't get better from there.

Initially, BORA-hansgrohe had intended for Peter Sagan to get in the break and push for points in the intermediate sprint, but a flurry of attacks and just as many counter-attacks made this difficult, and a mechanical issue for the Slovak rider, at exactly the critical time, made it impossible to make the jump in these chaotic conditions. With the break quickly building a six-minute lead, it was clear the peloton was going to have to work hard today if they were going to be able to contest the win.

With the poor weather conditions continuing as the day went on, the climbs were all the more difficult, with many riders dropping off both the break and the peloton and with 50km to go, the advantage was rising rather than falling. A quartet had formed on the front and was destined to take the stage, which left the GC riders to fight among themselves to limit losses. BORA-hansgrohe were represented in the bunch by Emanuel Buchmann and Felix Grossschartner, and the final climb of the day, while only a second category ascent, saw ramps of up to 16%. Emanuel worked hard to stay with his rivals in these miserable conditions, the German rider staying with the smaller GC group as he was unable to follow the attacks in the closing metres of the last climb.

Crossing the line in twenty-sixth position, Emanuel knew there were still many days left of this race on which to make an impact, as he climbed further places in the overall standings.

From the Finish Line:
"It was a really hard day, even more so with the rain from start to finish. The team did a very good job supporting me throughout the stage and Felix was with me in the finale. I wasn't able to follow the first group that went off in the final 500 metres of the last climb and lost some seconds. We knew in advance that this stage wasn't perfect for me but the Giro is still long." – Emanuel Buchmann

"Our plan was to give Peter the chance to get into the breakaway, to potentially collect points there. That, unfortunately, didn’t work out, as at exactly the critical time he had a mechanical. Subsequently, a large group escaped from the field, and thereafter we focused on supporting Emanuel. He was then supported by Felix on the last climb, who did a really good job there, and arrived at the finish without losing too much time to the GC favourites” – Jens Zemke, Sports Director

Here's the report from INEOS Grenadiers:

Egan Bernal put in a rousing ride to lead home the general classification contenders on an energy sapping fourth stage of the Giro.

In soaking conditions, Bernal was able to conserve energy before bursting out of a select GC group on the final climb. The Colombian bridged across to the attack of Mikel Landa with ease and drove a group of five contenders to the line in Sestola, finishing 11th on the stage.

The effort saw Bernal put time into a number of key rivals, climbing up to 11th overall, 1:39 back on breakaway member and new race leader Alessandro Di Marchi.

Filippo Ganna

Filippo Ganna enjoying his final moments in pink. Sirotti photo

Filippo Ganna had held the maglia rosa since the opening time trial but switched his focus to a team role on Tuesday. The Italian rode selflessly on the front, setting a tempo to help his teammates and keep the day's breakaway within reach. Eventually becoming distanced on an attritional day of climbing, Ganna did the jersey and the team proud.

Gianni Moscon was the second Grenadier to cross the line, with Pavel Sivakov finishing in a second chasing group, alongside teammate Daniel Martinez.

And here's what Remco Evenepoel's Deceuninck-Quick Step team had to say about the stage:

Tuesday afternoon the race said goodbye to Piedmont, heading to Emilia-Romagna, one of Italy’s most beautiful regions, for a medium mountain stage. After a flat 80 kilometers, the terrain became rougher, but neither this nor the filthy weather conditions could stop the huge 25-man front group that went clear from nudging out their advantage to an incredible eight minutes, the biggest lead a breakaway enjoyed since the start of the race.

Riding his seventh Giro d’Italia, Pieter Serry booked a place in the large break from where a couple of riders decided to try their chance with 70 kilometers to go, when it became clear they wouldn’t get caught by the bunch. Some 40 kilometers from the finish, Deceuninck – Quick-Step moved to the front, setting a steady tempo that reduced the attackers’ advantage. By the time the leading duo arrived on the early slopes of the last climb, they had in hand just four minutes, but their former companions were much closer and managed to make the catch two kilometers from the top. From that small group, Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) soloed to victory, while Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation) took the pink jersey.

Averaging an incredible 9.9% over 4.3 kilometers, Colle Passerino was the toughest climb faced by the riders since the start of the Corsa Rosa, featuring inside the final ten kilometers of the stage to Sestola. It was here that unfortunately João Almeida lost contact with the depleted peloton, from where some of the GC contenders showed their intentions a couple of minutes later, attacking on the double-digit gradients and opening a small gap over the rest. Remco Evenepoel found himself distanced, but fought hard and limited the losses to just a couple of seconds, a result that at the end of the day put him into eighth overall.

Despite conceding some time on the finish line, Remco was content with how he felt and how the day panned out: “The final climb was a tough one and the weather didn’t help. The effort I had to do was a short and intense one, something that I didn’t do for some time now, and I think I managed it well. When the others attacked, I didn’t want to explode and rode at my own pace. I think I managed it well, losing just a few seconds. My body needs to get used again with this kind of racing, but overall, I am satisfied with this stage. A big thanks to the boys for protecting me today.”

“We knew it was going to be a very hard day for everybody and the goal was not to lose too much time, which we succeeded with Remco. We will try to recover now from this effort, hopefully we’ll have an easy day tomorrow and we’ll then see what we can do in the next stages”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck.

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