SESTOLA, Italy — American cyclist Joseph Dombrowski held off the rest of the breakaway pack to win the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia for his first victory in a Grand Tour, and Alessandro De Marchi took the leader’s pink jersey.
Dombrowski, who rides for UAE Team Emirates, attacked on the first uphill finish of this year’s race and crossed the line 12 seconds ahead of De Marchi.
It was the 29-year-old Dombrowski’s first pro win outside of the United States.
“I was feeling good in the last 50K and was just trying not to do too much work and be conservative, because I knew the last climb was really a tough one,” Dombrowski said. “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.”
Filippo Fiorelli was third, 27 seconds behind Dombrowski at the end of a wet and windy 187-kilometer (116-mile) ride through the Apennines from Piacenza to Sestola.
De Marchi took over the lead from Filippo Ganna, who had led the the Giro since winning the time trial that opened the race. The 34-year-old De Marchi has a 22-second advantage over Dombrowski and 42 seconds over third-place Louis Vervaeke.
“I started thinking about taking the Maglia Rosa (pink jersey) two days ago but I didn’t tell anybody,” De Marchi said. “Today it was about finding the right move. I knew it would be tricky at the start. A bit of luck helped and here we are.
“I’m lost for words. The Maglia Rosa is the childhood dream of every cyclist, especially for an Italian.”
Joao Almeida was one of the favorites to win the Giro after leading the race for 15 days last year but his chances are all but over after losing more than four minutes.
The fifth stage is a flat and straight 177-kilometer (110-mile) route from Modena to Cattolica on the Adriatic coast.
The Giro finishes on May 30 in Milan with an individual time trial.