Ramunas Navardauskas of Garmin Sharp won his first Grand Tour stage with his attack in the final six kilometers of Stage Eleven of the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
The 26-year-old Lithuianian rider was part of a twenty-rider break which didn’t escape until 80 km into the 182-knm stage. He joined two other riders in an attack 21 km from the finish, and had the strongest legs up the final six-km-long Cat Two climb to the finish line.
He dropped his two companions, Daniel Oss of BMC and KOM jersey wearer Stefan Pirazzi of Bardiani Valvole, at the base of the climb and soloed to victory, the most significant win of his career.
Navardauskas, 2011 Lithuanian National Road Race and 2012 National Time Trial champion, wore pink for one day in the 2012 Giro as Garmin won the team time trial in Stage Four. He also won a stage in the 2013 Tour de Romandie.
Navardauskas was more than a minute ahead when he crossed the finish line. Oss was two minutes ahead of Pirazzi, who was only eight seconds ahead of the rest of the breakaway riders.
The General Classification was not affected. Vincenzo Nibali of Astana leads Cadel Evans of BMC by41 seconds; Sky’s Rigoberto Uran is 2:04 behind, and Bradley Wiggins a single second further back.
Some of Wiggins’ sub-par performance in the Giro is explained by the minor chest infection troubling the Sky team leader.
Another Summit Finish
Stage Eleven, 182 km from Tarvisio to Vajont, was a scaled-down version of Stage Ten, long and lumpy with a serious climb in the middle and a summit finish, but both were Cat Two climbs: the very long and reasonably gentle Sella Ciampigotto two-thirds of the way through the stage, and a five-percent, seven-km Cat Two climb to summit finish at Vajont.
Weather at the start was rainy again, which has been the norm for this year’s Giro.
The stage was extremely competitive for the first 80 km. None of the teams would let a break get away; the pace for the first hour was 53 kph.
It was almost halfway through the 182-km stage—80k and more than two hours of racing—before a break was able to establish itself on the lower slopes of the four percent, 30-km-long Cat Two Sella Ciampigotto climb.
Twenty riders got away: Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin Sharp,) Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Euskaltel Euskadi,) Leonardo Duque (Colombia,) Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Movistar,) Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R,) Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli,) Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole,) Daniel Oss (BMC,) Johan Le Bon (FDJ,) Paul Martens (Blanco,) Vladimir Gusev (Katusha,) Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma-QuickStep,) Jens Keukeleire (Orica GreenEdge,) Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Cannondale,) Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack Leopard,) Salvatore Puccio (Sky,) Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano,) Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM,) Evgeni Petrov (Saxo-Tinkoff,) and Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini.)
Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) attacked the break on the descent from Sella Ciampigotto. He quickly opened a gap of 1:25, and slowly stretched it to 1:476 over the next 30 km.
Bardiani’s Danilo Di Luca attacked 24 km out; he didn’t succeed, but a few kilometers further he tried again. Three riders counterattacked: Guillaume Bonnafond of Ag2R with Ramunas Navardauskus and Daniel Oss.
Bonnafond couldn’t persist, but Oss and Navardauskas caught Gretsch, and 11.5 from the line, dropped him; his legs were spent.
The other two rode together for another five km, when the Garmin rider made his move, and Oss couldn’t respond.
Stefan Pirazzi attacked the remnants of the break three km from the finish, but the road sloped downhill for the final two km so he couldn’t gain much on the two leaders.
A Stage for the Sprinters
Stage Twelve, 134 km from Longarone to Treviso, is short with a 30-km flat stretch to the finish. There are two Cat Four climbs, one near the beginning and the other, short but fairly steep, 40 km from the finish. Most likely the sprinters will fight their way over the hills to get a rare chance to duel it out among themselves.