Here's how Dombrowski took his big win
And here's the full stage report...
'It's like getting Usain Bolt to run a marathon' - Ganna on Grand Tour hopes
Dombrowski wins after ‘five horrific hours’
Bernal leads favourites home
It was Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) who came over for 11th place at the front of the chasing group that included the likes of Ciccone, Vlasov, Carthy and Landa. So, there will be some time losses for Simon Yates, Remco Evenepoel, George Bennett et al today.
Yes, it was Evenepoel who led home a second group 11 seconds behind the Bernal group. Romain Bardet, Yates, Dan Martin and Davide Formolo were there too. But Vincenzo Nibali was another 20 seconds back and Joao Almeida a few minutes off the pace... Phew - thanks for joining me today for that rip-roaring stage in the rain.
Alessandro De Marchi in pink
The Italian crosses the line 13 seconds down for second place. He missed out on a maiden Giro stage win but will take the pink jersey as a consolation. A superb day for Israel Start-Up Nation.
Joe Dombrowski wins Stage 4
The American punches the air as he crosses the line to take the biggest win of his career. The UAE Team Emirates rider timed that to perfection today...
His last win in Europe came at the U23 Giro nine years ago... bravo, Joe Dombroswki!
1.5km to go: Bernal makes his move
The Colombian has now joined Landa with Vlasov and Hugh Carthy, too. They catch Ciccone. They are only two minutes back on the leader, Dombroswki, who looks like he will win this.
Landa on the attack!
After all that pacing and softening from Bahrain-Victorious, Mikel Landa pulls the trigger with an attack to open up a small gap. Ineos are yet to react...
Meanwhile, Dombrowski goes over the top of the climb in pole position to take the maximum KOM points. And now Vlasov has attacked for Astana! He's followed by Landa's teammate Pello Bilbao, with Egan Bernal also reacting...
3km to go: Dombrowsky clear
The American - a former winner of the Baby Giro - dropped the others shortly after the four riders came together. He has De Marchi in pursuit but hopes of a win have passed for the former leading duo.
4km to go: leaders caught!
Their efforts have caught up with them as Taaramae and Juul-Jensen are pegged back by De Marchi and Dombrowski. And it's the Italian De Marchi who is now the virtual pink jersey and favourite for the stage. Behind, Giullio Ciccone of Trek-Segafredo strikes out from the main pack, which is trailing the front by three minutes.
Almeida in trouble!
Joao Almeida, the Portuguese rider who spent two weeks in pink last year, has been dropped by the main pack. He entered the race as co-leader with Remco Evenepoel but that may change today. He is a battler though, so don't bet against a fight back.
5km to go: De Marchi leads the chase
The Israel Start-Up Nation rider has dropped the others in his pursuit of the leaders. He has Joe Dombrowski with him as Oliviera fades. This duo is just 30 seconds down now.
6km to go: Cat.2 Colle Passerino
The leaders are onto the final climb, which is 4.3km long at a nasty 9.5%. It's only now that it will become clear if this duo has enough. They've been out for quite a while and there may be some fresher legs behind. Taaramae only has about 25 seconds to play with over Oliviera so it's going to be tight.
7km to go: Taaramae wins the intermediate sprint
Juul-Jensen is happy to let his companion take the three bonus seconds at the second intermediate sprint at Fanano ahead of this final climb. That will help the Estonian's quest for pink a little. Behind, it's Nelso Oliviera who takes the final bonus second when the chasers come through at one minute. It's all very much up for grabs still - and the pack is now 4'30" down.
12km to go: Ganna dropped again
I forgot to say that the pink jersey, despite battling back, is no longer in this Bahrain-led reduced peloton. His time in pink would have been over anyway but he goes with his head high after riding a lot of today's stage on the front. It's still looking good for either Taaramae's completed Grand Tour grand slam and/or Estonia's first pink jersey.
CORRECTION: I think I'm going crazy: Taaramae has already won a stage on the Giro before - it's the Tour de France where he needs to win to complete his grand slam. My apologies. Oh, and even more crucially, he's Estonian - not Finnish - an unforgivable mistake to make. Like calling a Welshman English. Mea culpa. Sorry, Rein!
17km to go: looking good for leaders
Taaramae and Juul-Jensen go over the top of this steep and gruelling uncategorised climb with a gap of 1'25" over the chasing baker's dozen of riders (Alessandro De Marchi, by the way, is back following that earlier mechanical). After a short downhill segment they're going up again - just for half a klick - before the descent to the foot of the final categorised climb. Bahrain-Victorious still lead the main field, which is down to around 60 riders now. They trail the leaders by 5'35" and are about to sweep up five of that initial 25-man break.
20km to go: Bahrain-Victorious emerge
Mikel Landa's teammates have now taken over the pacing duties from Deceuninck Quick-Step with Rafal Valls and Matej Mohoric doing the honours. Filippo Ganna has also fought back on the descent and is now with the main field again. Taaramae and Juul-Jensen have 1'15" on the chasers and 6'45" on the streamlined and slick peloton.
23km to go: leading duo on the climb
Taaramae and Juul-Jensen have come through that descent unscathed and are not grappling with this cruelly uncategorised climb. What a win this would be for Taaramae - especially if he takes the pink jersey. It would be a second successive scalp for his Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert team. Meanwhile, it would be a Grand Tour maiden triumph for Juul-Jensen, who usually riders solely in the service of others. They have 1'05" over the chasers.
Many fans are already preparing their best Taaramae jokes...
29km to go: Quick-Step pulling in the pack
The Deceuninck Quick-Step team of Remco Evenepoel and Joao Almeida have taken over the reins from Ineos Grenadiers to set tempo in the pack. They have left it too late if they want to put either of those riders in pink, but they'll look to keep them out of trouble while testing their GC rivals. Meanwhile. Andrea Vendrame has zipped clear of the chasers in pursuit of the two leaders, who still have a minute. We're on another descent ahead of the next climb, which is uncategorised. That will be followed by another descent and then the Cat.2 rise ahead of the final run into Sestola. A lot of drama still in store.
32km to go: mechanical for De Marchi
Oh, that's cruel - the Italian needs to stop for mechanical assistance after what looks to be a puncture. He'll have to fight back to join the chasers, which are 11-strong following the arrival of Jacopo Mosca, Francesco Gavazzi and Dina Marton. They're still a minute down on the two leaders with the main pack at eight minutes.
Meanwhile, some praise from Bradley Wiggins about the outgoing pink jersey after his huge shift for Ineos Grenadiers today...
Juan Antonio Flecha, speaking for Eurosport Spain, believes Ganna will struggle in the final part of this race: "Ineos is much more interested in its own interests for this race than in whether Ganna can keep the maglia rosa one day more or one day less. Obviously Ganna has to be excited but the team's priorities are what they are. Today's course is not the kind of course that Ganna would enjoy and he could suffer a lot with 20km to go."
35km to go: the eight chasers
Those riders in pursuit are Andrea Vendrame, Louis Vervaeke, Jan Tratnik, Pieter Serry, Alessandro De Marchi and Nelson Oliviera. They are going to be joined by a few more of that original break very soon, including Joe Dombrowski, Nicolas Edet.
37km to go: Ganna dropped
The maglia rosa was distanced by the main pack on that steep segment - not surprising given the huge shift he has put in. The chasers are now around six-strong and are within a minute of the two leaders, Taaramae and Juul-Jensen. The rain is still pounding down so the pack it taking things very carefully on this descent.
44km to go: Taaramae takes KOM points
The climb got really steep towards the top and it looked like Juul-Jensen was going to drop Taaramae. But the Estonian veteran rallied to take the 9pts over the summit. Behind, Hermans has been swept up by a chasing trio which has De Marchi at its head. They have slashed the gap to just over a minute so this stage - and the fight for pink - is far from over just yet.
45km to go: Hermans dropped
After putting in a huge shift for his teammate Taaramae, the Belgian has popped. That makes the Finn the virtual race leader as he continues up this climb with the Dane Juul-Jensen. They're going through a wooded section on narrow roads - with a gap of 1'55" on the chasers and 8'05" on the pack.
50km to go: Cat.3 Montemolino
We're onto the next climb, which is 8.6km long at an average gradient of 5.7% and a maximum tilt of a gnarly 18%. The trio now have 1'50" over the break and over eight minutes on the pack, still being led by the maglia rosa. Alessandro De Marchi, who is no doubt worried that his chances may be drifting away here, has upped the tempo in the chasing group in a bid to reel in the leaders.
55km to go: the gap grows for trio
Well, it might as well be a duo because Juul-Jensen is doing zero work to help the Intermarche riders Taaramae and Hermans. Their gap is up to 1'30" over the remaining 21 riders in the break with the peloton now at seven minutes. It's a long uphill grind to the foot of the next categorised climb.
60km to go: Hermans in virtual pink
I may have mentioned Taaramae as a good shout for pink but it's his teammate, Quinten Hermans - who was one of the original two escapees alongside compatriot Victor Campanaerts - who is currently the virtual race leader. He was 53 seconds down on Ganna going into the stage while Taaramae is 57 seconds down. Of course, we have bonus seconds up for grabs at both the second intermediate sprint and the finish to factor in. But it's early doors yet what with two more categorised climbs ahead of the run into Sestola.
65km to go: three go clear
Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert duo Taaramae and Hermans have gone clear on the descent with BikeExchange's Juul-Jensen. That's an interesting development - the Belgian team clearly buoyed by yesterday's victory for Taco van der Hoorn. Remember, the Estonian needs a Tour stage win to complete his Grand Tour clean sweep having already won on the Vuelta and Giro - but he could take the pink jersey today regardless.
They have 30-odd seconds on the 21 chasers from the original break - who have Tagliani back on, with Zoccarato still distanced. Behind, it's Ganna who led the Ineos train down the descent quite gingerly on the nose of the peloton - not taking any chances in the rain.
75km to go: Gavazzi takes KOM points
It's the Italian Francesco Gavazzi who skips clear of his fellow escapees to take the maximum 9pts over the top to protect the blue jersey lead of his EOLO-Kometa teammate, Vincenzo Albanese. Behind, it's still Ganna leading the peloton up this climb, with the peloton 5'50" down on the leaders.
78km to go: Cat.3 Castello di Carpineti
The riders - we think - are onto the first categorised climb of the day, which is 3km at a punchy 7.8%. We're hearing that a few riders have been distanced from the break, including the man who won the intermediate sprint, Tagliani, paying for his earlier efforts, and fellow Italian Zoccarato, who was in yesterday's break as well. The gap is 5'18" and - bravo! - we now have live pictures again.
85km to go: TV black-out continues
We're still none the wiser as to what is happening micro-wise because there are no images from the host broadcaster owing to the bad weather. But on a macro level, this 25-man move are a short climb and descent away from the first categorised ascent of the day. Their lead is apparently still 4'45".
90km to go: two former stage winners in the break
The conditions are so bad that the host broadcaster has lost all live images as the riders head up into the hills with the heavens still opening. So let's bring you some stats. We have two former Giro stage winners in this break - Rein Taaramae and Jan Tratnik. The Estonian won a stage in 2016 while the Slovakian struck gold last year. None of the 25 has won a stage on the Tour de France but there are five Vuelta stage winners in Alessandro De Marchi (three times), Taaramae, Nelson Oliviera, Francesco Gavazzi and Valerio Conti.
95km to go: Ganna still leads the pack
The road continued uphill after that 'sprint' and Filippo Ganna - now with his pink jersey on display after removing his cape - is still tapping out tempo on the front for Ineos. The gap is down to 4'30" for the leaders while some riders have already been dropped, including the young Dutch spriinter David Dekker of Jumbo-Visma and Elia Viviani's brother, Attilio.
100km to go: Tagliani wins sprint
It's largely uncontested - this break has bigger fish to fry - but it's Filippo Tagliani who takes the spoils after zipping clear ahead of the intermediate sprint. Although TV images did cut out so we will have to await confirmation.
103km to go: heading uphill to the 'sprint'
After that flat opening 80-odd kilometres it's not time to climb. The 25-man break are on the uphill leg-stretcher to the intermediate sprint at Rossena. It's very undulating from here to the finish with three categorised climbs and numerous other ups and downs. The gap is 5'30" and it's Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert - buoyed by yesterday's victory for Taco van der Hoorn - who are setting the tempo in the break on this climb.
Evenepoel on today's stage
Talking of Remco Evenepoel, here's the forward-looking Grand Tour debutant shooting the breeze ahead of today's start...
'I’m not thinking about the past' – Evenepoel on return after crash
110km to go: Gap comes down
The 25 leaders see their advantage drop under the six-minute mark in this relentless rain. They're not too far away from the intermediate sprint which will herald the second hillier half of the stage. Below is a poll which I ran on Twitter before this huge move formed, with 50% of people opting for the prospect of Remco Evenepoel in pink today. Well, with this large gap for the break it seems like that won't happen now - with the likely race leader being Oliviera, Conti or De Marchi...
122km to go: pink jersey leading the pack
Well, we can't see his jersey but we know it's Filippo Ganna from his pink helmet, bar tape and bike frame. The race leader is currently riding on the front of the pack doing a job for Ineos Grenadiers, who will want to keep a lid on things in this terrible rain. The gap is 6'27" and Astana are also lending a hand.
It'll be Ganna's last day in pink but we're sure to see him in the mix for the next time trial and - perhaps - in a breakaway another day. Unless he's shackled to gregario duties for Bernal and Pavel Sivakov, the GC men for Ineos.
No Ineos, Jumbo, Astana or Lotto-Soudal
With their GC ambitions it's no huge surprise not to see any teammates of Egan Bernal (Ineos), George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) or Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) in the move. But it's very odd not to see anyone from Lotto Soudal there. Thomas De Gendt - who is usually all over this kind of break - lost a seemingly intentional 10 minutes yesterday, presumably to open up future opportunities. But the Belgian appears to be keeping his powder dry for now - perhaps with an eye on Thursday's first summit finish.
Today's 25-man breakaway in full
Here are the men who made the move: Filippo Zana, Samuele Zoccarato and Filippo Fiorelli (Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Jacopo Mosca and Koen De Kort (Trek-Segafredo), Quinten Hermans and Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Joe Dombrowski and Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), Filippo Tagliani and Nicola Venchiarutti (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec), Francesco Gavazzi and Marton Dina (Eolo-Kometa), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation), Pieter Serry (Deceuninck Quick-Step), Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious), Chris Juul-Jensen (Team BikeExchange), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-Citroën), Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-ASSOS), Nico Denz (Team DSM), Louis Vervaeke (Alpecin-Fenix).
135km to go: Six minutes for the leaders
The gap continues to grow and so it looks like both today's stage winner and the new maglia rosa will come from this move. The best-placed riders in this move are Portugal's Oliviera (Movistar) at 32 seconds, Italy's De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation) at 33 seconds, Italy's Conti (UAE Team Emirates) at 34 seconds and that man Campanaerts (Qhubeka-ASSOS) at 35 seconds.
It's worth remembering that the last time we saw a "fuga bidone" - that's a breakaway which builds up such a large lead that one of the riders goes into the surprise race lead - was stage 6 in the 2019 Giro, when Fausto Masnada won the stage and second-placed Conti took the pink jersey. He then wore it for another week... Could history repeat itself today? Not a Masnada win - he's not here - but pink for Conti?
145km to go: the break is on!
Right, game on: those three different groups have come together and we now have a huge assortment of 25 riders off the front of the race with a gap that is growing by the second. None of the GC favourites have managed to slip their way in incognito under a black rain cape - but there are some big names here including the likes of Valerio Conti, Nicolas Edet, Pieter Serry, Nelson Oliviera and Alessandro De Marchi.
150km to go: and another 12 after them...
There's a third group on the road now as a dozen try to bridge over to the eight-man move riding in pursuit of the two leaders. The peloton are one minute back with those two larger groups 20 and 30 seconds down on Campenaerts and Hermens. They could all come together to form one super group in these sodden conditions - but we're relying on race radio because the images have disappeared again...
155km to go: eight riders in pursuit
We have a strong group trying to bridge over now - and it includes Alessandro De Marchi, Rein Taaramae and Joe Dombrowski. They're 15 seconds down on the two leaders and 15 seconds ahead of the pack, so it's still touch and go. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the majority of the riders in the peloton will be hoping for things to settle soon.
Birthday boy Rivi
He was in the break yesterday in support of his EOLO-Kometa teammate and fellow Italian Vincenzo Albanese in his quest to consolidate the blue jersey - and today it's Samuele Rivi's 23rd birthday. An eventful start to his maiden Grand Tour.
160km to go: still only 20 seconds
TV images have returned! And the situation is very similar to how we left it: this Belgian duo still only have 20 seconds to play with as they continue to plough a lonely furrow down this long, exposed, straight, flat road between Piacenza and Parma. No one managed to bridge over when Zoccarato made his move - but we now have half a dozen riders opening up a small gap over the pack.
175km to go: Riders trying to bridge over
Details are very sketchy because the images have disappeared again - but before the black out we did see Italy's Samuele Zoccarato (BArdiani-CSF) zip clear in pursuit of the leaders. He was in yesterday's break from which Van der Hoorn, the last man standing, defied the peloton to win. He's joined a few other riders in a bid to join the Belgian duo out ahead.
Meanwhile, at the finish in sodden Sestole...
Taco rings the bell
Meanwhile, enjoy this clip from the Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert team car following Taco van der Hoorn yesterday... and make sure you stay until the priceless "Mamma mia!". Apologies for some of the fruity language... not to mention careless driving...
Giro No Filter: Inside peloton for Van der Hoorn’s 'pretty epic' win
180km to go: two Belgians clear
Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-ASSOS) and Quinten Hermans (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materieux) have gone clear to open up a 20-second lead over the pack. But many teams are not happy with the situation and the chase is very much on. These horrible conditions are tailor made for a Belgian breakaway it would seem - probably seems like a summer holiday for them.
It's the wildcard EOLO-Kometa team of the blue jersey Vincenzo Albanese who are leading the chase - they have missed out and will want to protect their man's KOM lead. Androni Giocattoli are also in the hunt - Gianni Savio's team that were given a reprieve and invited onto the Giro after Vini-Zabu were kicked out over their ongoing doping issues.
187km to go: they're off!
We can't see it, but Mauro Vegni has just waved his flag from the sunroof of his car to get this fourth stage under way. It's a flat opening 85km before the first intermediate sprint ushes in some rolling roads through the Apennine backbone of Italy - with three categorised climbs, including the Cat.2 rise ahead of the finish in Sestola.
Ganna in pink... but for how long?
Even Filippo Ganna, the race leader, could only muster a Mona Lisa smile for the cameras this morning. The Italian is still in the maglia rosa with a 16-second lead over Tobias Foss of Jumbo-Visma. But with the Deceuninck Quick-Step duo of Remco Evenepoel and Joao Almeida lurking at 20 seconds - and today's finish coming after some punchy climbs - is could well be the last time we see Ganna in pink.
Another wet day as the riders roll out...
The peloton is trundling through the neutral zone ahead of today's stage - and there aren't may smiles out there. That's because the weather is absolutely foul: heavy rain and blustery wind. We're even hearing that the gusts on some of the climbs later are blowing at 70kmph. Such are the conditions that the pictures from the host broadcasters are very sketchy - that's to say, non-existent for now. What we do know is that Jhonatan Narvaez of Ineos Grenadiers has had a mechanical issue and is currently changing his bike. The Ecuadorian won a stage in bad weather last year - one of seven wins for Ineos.
Recap from Stage 3
Dutchman Taco van der Hoorn caused a huge upset in Stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia after holding off the rampaging pack to win from the breakaway in Canale.
The 27-year-old from Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert was the last man standing from an eight-man move which defied the peloton by a whisker over a series of leg-sapping climbs in the Langhe hills of Piedmont.
Read our full report from yesterday's action here.
Today's route for Stage 4
Re-Cycle: 'A victory lasts forever' – When Cipollini broke Binda’s Giro record
Alfredo Binda’s mark of 41 stage wins in the Giro stood for 70 years, until Mario Cipollini went one better. With a flair for the flamboyant and a penchant for the beach, Cipo made headlines and history but few friends during his controversial career. Felix Lowe grabs the tail of the legend of the Lion King. You can read the full story here or listen to the Re-Cycle podcast on your favourite platform right now, but here is an excerpt to whet the appetite:
- - -
It is one of the peculiar quirks of a stat-heavy sport that sees us compare the incomparable. Drawing from more than a century of races, when a long-standing record falls, we can pit one of the Giro d’Italia’s most complete riders with a man who took specialising in sprinting to a new level of niche.
But when Mario Cipollini soared to successive stage victories in the 2003 Giro, the man they called the Lion King equalled, then surpassed, a mark set in 1933. Some 14 years after he’d carved the first notch in his Giro bedpost, Cipo wrote his name into the record books in the rainbow bands he’d won seven months earlier at Zolder.
The author of that 70-year record was Alfredo Binda, a rider known as “cycling’s first cannibal”. In his book, Giro d’Italia – the Story of the World’s Most Beautiful Bike Race, Colin O’Brien describes the first man to win five editions of the race as “a rider of unparalleled ability, of such unique talent that he dominated almost every race he entered”.
Such was Binda’s vice-like grip on his national race, the organisers even had to pay him not to turn up one year. Most people thought his record would stand forever – until a machine seemingly designed for the sole purpose of winning Giro stages came along, all muscles, hair gel and macho flamboyance.
On the surface, the cold and detached Binda was a man who had about as much in common with the charismatic Cipollini as a smooth Barolo to Grappa. One was a champion vintage to savour long on the lips, another a coarse digestif enjoyed – if that’s the word – at the very end of a meal, something that came and went in a matter of seconds. And, once it hit the spot, it left behind a bad aftertaste. But as we will see, Cipollini's story is far more than that of a winning machine as allegations and hugely controversial comments continue to cast an ugly shadow.
How can I watch the Giro?
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Sagan beats Bernal in sprint finish to claim Giro d'Italia Criterium Dubai
€30,000 golden bikes of Ganna, Consonni, Milan and Lamon stolen from Italy team hotel
4 hrs 58 mins 38 secs
GC Leader - 1. E. Bernal