Ramunas Navardauskas Giro d’Italia stage five (peloton)assumed the overall lead at the Giro d’Italia after his team, Garmin-Barracuda, posted the fastest time to win stage four’s team time trial.
Garmin clocked 37 minutes and four seconds over the 33.2km kilometre course in Verona – the first stage in Italy following three days in Denmark – to put Lithuanian Navardauskas in the maglia rosa.
“We thought we could win today, but I wasn’t sure if I could hang with these guys,” said Navardauskas.
“They were really strong. Everybody did a good job. I was so glad to stay with these guys as I tired in the last 10km. This jersey is a really big thing for me.”
Garmin went into the stage as favourites but it was the Dane, Alex Rasmussen, who was expected to move into the overall lead – but the 27-year-old was surprisingly dropped, while Navardauskas dug deep to cling onto the Garmin train.
Taylor Phinney, who had led the race since stage one after winning the individual time trial in Herning, Denmark, struggled through the stage suffering with a swollen and heavily bruised ankle after crashing on stage three.
Phinney almost crashed again during the team time trial after misjudging a corner and riding onto the grass verge. The American’s BMC Racing team-mates waited for him but went on to post only the 10th time of the day.
“I had a bad day personally,” said Phinney. “I don’t know if it was the crash the other day or what, but I had nothing. The team had to wait for me a couple of times, I have to thank them. Fortunately I didn’t fall today as well, but from my third pull on the front, I could see that something wasn’t right. I’m very disappointed, I don’t have a lot to say. I didn’t have a lot of power. I gave the maximum, I gave everything I have. I have to thank they team. They could have left me but instead they slowed and waited for me.”
Instead it was Katusha and Astana who completed the podium, finishing five and 22 seconds behind Garmin respectively, while Team Sky, who had been expected to challenge for victory, finished 30 seconds off the pace, missing the opportunity to put Geraint Thomas, second overall going into the stage, into the leader’s jersey. Thomas now lies seventh overall.
Mark Cavendish produced a strong performance for the British outfit, leading team-mates Thomas, Pete Kennaugh, Juan Antonio Flecha, Rigoberto Urán and Ian Stannard across the line less than 48 hours after crashing heavily on stage three – but directeur sportif Steven de Jongh admitted it had been a disappointing day for the team.
“We were in the mix there for places five to ten,” said de Jongh. “We just couldn’t go 30 seconds faster. On the climb the guys put out a steady pace but it wasn’t quite fast enough.
“Then in the end some of the guys began to struggle a bit and couldn’t deliver a high speed so that’s where we lost a few more seconds. We’re glad it’s over; it’s not the result we wanted to have but we will move on.”
Garmin riders now make up the top four in the general classification, with Tyler Farrar, Robbie Hunter, and Ryder Hesjedal second, third and fourth respectively. Phinney completes the top five, 13 seconds behind Navardauskas.
Giro d’Italia stage four – result
1) Garmin-Barracuda – 37:04 minutes
2) Katusha +5″
3) Astana +22″
4) SaxoBank – same time
5) Omega Pharma-Quickstep +24″
6) Orica-GreenEDGE +25″
7) Liquigas-Cannondale +26″
8) RadioShack-Nissan +28″
9) Team Sky +30″
10) BMC Racing +31″
1) Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) – Garmin-Barracuda 10:01:33 hours
2) Tyler Farrar (USA) – Garmin – Barracuda +10″
3) Robert Hunter (RSA) – Garmin-Barracuda – same time
4) Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) – Garmin-Barracuda +11″
5) Taylor Phinney (USA) – BMC Racing +13″
6) Manuele Boaro (ITA) – SaxoBank +19″
7) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky +21
8) Sebastien Rosseler (BEL) – Garmin-Barracuda +25″
9) Christian Vande Velde (USA) – Garmin-Barracuda +26″
10) Joaquim Rodriquez (SPA) – Katusha +30″