Garmin-Barracuda Wins Giro TTT; Navardauskas in the Pink
Garmin-Barracuda has won Stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia.
Garmin-Barracuda has won Stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia. The American squad powered over a mostly flat, 33.2-km team time trial course in Verona, Italy in 37:04. Katusha finished second at 0:05, and Astana took third at 0:22. Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda) is the new maglia rosa.
Lampre-ISD set the early standard with a 37:38, but given that the Italian team is no time trial squad, that time figured to be soft. Katusha obliterated it with a 37:09, which held until Garmin-Barracuda, the last starter, crossed the finish line.
Garmin-Barracuda wanted to win the stage and put Ryder Hesjedal into a good GC position, with grabbing the maglia rosa a secondary consideration. Alex Rasmussen, the Garmin-Barracuda rider who began the day third overall at 0:13, seemed to be the prime candidate to move into the overall lead. Rasmussen's teammates set such a blister pace, however, that they dropped the Dane. For a time, Navardauskas was dropped as well, but he got back on on one of the stage's last corners and stayed with his mates to take the pink jersey.
Aside from Garmin-Barracuda, another big winner was Katusha, which turned in a surprising performance. Their GC man, Joaquim Rodriguez, gained time on all of his rivals except Hesjedal. Astana has positioned Roman Kreuziger well. Liquigas-Cannondale finished seventh at 37:30, which puts two-time Giro winner Ivan Basso close to his rivals.
The losers on the day were BMC, Sky, and Lampre-ISD. BMC had hoped to keep Taylor Phinney in the overall lead, but the American was still feeling the effects of his Stage 3 crash and had a bad day. At one point, he rode off of the course, which required his teammates to wait for him. The understandably despondent Phinney said, "I gave the maximum I had, but I had nothing to give. I am so thankful to my teammates because without their great help and strong support I'm not even sure I could have done it to the finish, and I look forward to pay them back during the rest of the Giro."
Sky was expected to be a contender for victory today, but the British squad finished ninth at 37:30. Sky directeur sportif Steven De Jongh said, "We were in the mix there for places five to 10. 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."
Lampre-ISD has two potential GC men, Michele Scarponi and 2004 Giro winner Damiano Cunego. Neither rider is a strong time trialist, and the team that has been built around them is a weak squad against the clock. Lampre-ISD finished 12th at 37:38, and that time, coupled with the two riders' performances in the individual time trial last Saturday, means that both men have catching up to do.
In the overall, Navardauskas leads Garmin-Barracuda teammates Tyler Farrar and Robert Hunter by 0:10. Stage 5 will be a flat, 199-km run from Modena to Fano that a sprinter should win and that should not change the standings. Who will take the stage? Mark Cavendish (Sky)? Farrar? Matthew Goss (GreenEdge)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!