Giro d'Italia Stage 4: Garmin-Barracuda wins, Navardauskas in pink


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Ramunas Navardauskas now holds the Maglia Rosa after his Garmin-Barracuda team won the 33.2km team time trial by a narrow 5-second margin over Katusha. BMC's Taylor Phinney lost the overall lead after an expected but disappointing poor showing in the TTT. Phinney is an extremely talented time trialist and the BMC squad was a favorite for the stage win before the race, but the injuries Phinney suffered in Monday's dramatic crash in the final 200m of the race appeared to slow him down considerably.

Team time trials are rarely dramatic, but several moments from today's stood out. First, Orica - Green Edge's Svein Tuft nearly took himself and several teammates down after his rear wheel washed out in a tight left hand corner. Miraculously, he saved it, though the ensuing confusion and chase to re-integrate with the flying first half of the team surely disrupted the squad's rhythym and caused a few riders to burn an extra match. Tuft himself was dropped later on, which is both surprising and likely the reason Orica - Green Edge did not place in the top three as predicted.

Second, Taylor Phinney took an unexpected detour through a field after over-shooting a turn. While he displayed some impressive bike handling skills to stay upright and get back on the road without losing to much time, he did have some distinctly un-aerodynamic grass streamers lodged in his rear derailleur for the rest of the time trial. However, it was more likely the disruption caused by the crash coupled with Phinney's inability to push all the way to his potential because of his ankle injury that cost BMC a strong finish and the overall lead.

Finally, Garmin's powerful Navardauskas was uncharacteristically struggling in the final 5 kilometers, coming dangerously close to being dropped on numerous occasions. The TTT powerhouse had already lost their highest placed rider on GC (and TT strong man) Alex Rasmussen early in the race, so losing Navardauskas would torpedo their chances of garnering the Maglia Rosa.

In the overall classification, Navardauskas now leads teammates Tyler Farrar and Robert Hunter. Joaquim Rodriguez got a nice 20-30 second buffer over most of his GC rivals. Considering the TTT was one of Rodriguez's biggest vulnerabilities, he must be confident approaching the climbing stages in the second week.

  1. Garmin-Barracuda 37:04
  2. Katusha Team 0:05
  3. Astana Pro Team 0:22
  4. Team Saxo Bank 0:22
  5. Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:24

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Photo © Fotoreporter Sirrotti
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