Alessandro De Marchi has revealed he’d planned to take the maglia rosa for two days at the Giro d’Italia 2021.
The Israel Start-Up Nation rider, famed for his opportunistic breakaway moves, jumped into the 25-rider escape on stage four and emerged among the strongest in the miserable weather conditions.
De Marchi crossed the line 13 seconds behind stage winner Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates), but had done enough to secure the race lead.
Speaking after the finish, the 34-year-old Italian said: “I started thinking about taking the maglia rosa two days ago but I didn't tell anybody.
“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.”
De Marchi now leads the Giro by 22 seconds over Dombrowski in second, as Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) bowed out of the top 10 overall.
After making the break, De Marchi began to dream that his plan could become a reality, as the leading group pulled out a significant advantage on the hills of Emilia Romagna
But at the mid-way point, De Marchi began to fear he may have lost his opportunity as three breakaway riders went clear and pulled out their own significant gap.
He said: “Today when I realised that there was opportunity I really started to dream and I was scared to have lost the opportunity in the middle of the race when the three guys went.
“I was quite scared that it was too late, but then again the old rule works perfectly: so never give up.”
With a flat stage on day five, De Marchi is likely to hold onto the race lead for at least two stages, before the first summit finish of the race on stage six.
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