Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) soloed to victory after a late attack from a breakaway of about 20 riders to win stage 11 of the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
The Romanian, winner last month of stage two of the Tour de Romandie, broke clear with Daniel Oss (BMC Racing), who finished second.
The pair caught long-time leader, Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano), just 12.5km from the finish at Vajont, but 2.5km later dropped the German.
With 5km to go, Navardauskas was riding alone, a position he would maintain to the finish at the summit of the 809m closing climb.
Race leader, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), finished safely among the group of favourites some five and a half minutes later, a bunch that included Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), second overall, and Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, who remains fourth.
Today’s 182km slog, one classified by race organisers as taking place in “medium mountains”, included only one climb of note before the finale. The 1,790 metre summit of the second category Sella Ciampigotto was crested after 120km.
Twenty riders broke clear 20km ahead of the climb, however, making an early bid for victory with 100km still remaining.
Former maglia rosa, Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) was among the riders the peloton was content to let go. With only Nibali’s Astana squad, Lotto-Belisol, and Michele Scarponi’s Lampre-Merida outfit unrepresented, most of the bunch had no incentive to chase.
With 50km remaining, and the downward gradient of the Sella Ciampigotto beneath his wheels, Gretsch took flight in a long-range bid for victory, perhaps his team’s only hope, following the withdrawal of stage five winner, the sprinter, John Degenkolb.
Gretsch produced a fine ride, but was unable to hold off Navardauskas and Oss as they approached, and unable to hold on to them as they departed on the last stretch of flat road before the final climb.
Navardauskas made a first attempt to ride himself of Oss shortly afterwards, while the Italian, clearly suffering, drank from his bottle, but the BMC man dug deep to ride back up to the Lithuanian’s wheel.
With five kilometres to go, however, the elastic snapped and Navardauskas rode clear of Oss, who ground out a gutsy ride to finish second.
With the leading pair home and dry, king of the Mountains leader, Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-Valvole), attacked from the remains of a chasing group some 2.15 down the road, and held on to collect third.
The maglia rosa group arrived some time afterwards at a leisurely pace, the GC contenders content for a day’s respite.
They are likely to enjoy another tomorrow, when a flat finish at the end of a 134km frun from Longarone to Treviso will offer a chance of glory to the sprinters.
Giro d’Italia 2013 – stage eleven – result
1) Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) – Garmin-Sharp – 4.23.14
2) Daniel Oss (ITA) – BMC Racing + 1.08
3) Stefano Pirazzi (ITA) – Bardiani Vavole +2.59
4) Salvatore Puccio (ITA) – Team Sky + 3.07
5) Paul Martens (GER) – Blanco Pro Cycling – ST
6) Danilo Di Luca (ITA) – Viniv Fantini
7) Egoia Martinez (ESP) – Euskaltel-Euskadi
8) Serge Pauwels (BEL) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep – 3.10
9) Evgeny Petrov (RUS) – Saxo-Tinkoff – 3.11
10) Jackson Rodriguez (VEN) – Androni Giocattoli – 3.25
1) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Astana – 43.26.27
2) Cadel Evans (AUS) – BMC Racing +41
3) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Team Sky +2.04
4) Bradley Wiggins (GBR) – Team Sky +2.05
5) Robert Gesink (NED) – Blanco Pro Cycling +2.12
6) Michele Scarponi (ITA) – Lampre-Merida +2.13
7) Mauro Santambrogio (ITA) – Vini Fantini +2.55
8) Przemyslaw Niemiec (POL) – Lampre-Merida +3.35
9) Benat Intxausti (ESP) – Movistar +4.05
10) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +4.17