Van der Breggen impressed on the 11.2 kilometres course from Formazza to Riale di Formazza, securing the stage victory with a time of 24 minutes and 58 seconds, beating compatriot and SD Worx team mate Demi Vollering by just over a minute.
Meanwhile, Brown was 1 minute 16 seconds off Van der Breggen with the 28-year-old preventing another 1-2-3 sweep for the Dutch squad.
The result for the Australian is promising ahead of the Olympic Games individual time trial coming up in three weeks on July 28 at the Fuji International Speedway.
Brown has previously made a name for herself in the women’s individual time trial scene over the last years, after taking up cycling at age 23 in 2015.
“I’m happy with third place on today’s stage, I really wanted to test myself in an individual time trial ahead of the Olympics, so I achieved that today," Brown said.
"It was a pretty tough course, with lots of climbing, so not particularly suited to me, but that makes me proud that I fought anyway for that third position.”
2021 Giro Donne Stage 4 – Results
1. Anna van der Breggen 24:57
2. Demi Vollering +1:06
3. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) +1:17
2021 Giro Donne – GC After Stage 4
1. Anna van der Breggen
Watch the highlights from the Giro d'Italia Donne on SBS from 3:30pm weekends or 4pm weekdays (July 3-12) or available earlier via SBS On Demand and the Cycling Central website.