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Le Tour Stage 19: Navardauskas Breaks Garmin's Duck

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Ramunas "Comrade" Navardauskas breaks away at just the right time.

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Quick... name something good that happened to Garmin-Sharp at the 2014 Tour de France before today!

...

Stumped? Me too. This was a team that went all-in on a young GC contender, Andrew Talansky, a guy who might have done something tremendously interesting if crashes hadn't temporarily robbed him of his abilities. Its second most interesting guy (by my estimation anyway) was Janier Acevedo, and he went home early too. Jack Bauer and Tom Jelte Slagter made for interesting stage hunters, and they had two guys in Langeveld and Van Summeren for the cobbles stage, but day after day whatever plan they launched ended up fizzling. Sometimes within seconds of glory, as with Bauer last weekend. Until today.

Ramunas Navardauskas broke Garmin's run of misfortune with a brilliantly timed attack during the day's final climb of the Cote de Monbazillac, a cat-4 riser with 13km remaining, and survived rain, narrow roads, and chaotic events behind him for his first-ever stage win in Bergerac, and Garmin-Sharp's opening success of the 2014 Tour. Navardauskas, the Lithuanian time trial champion and a clever attacker, left a peloton filled with sprinters and trepidation on the last Cote, got himself a good 20 second gap on the treacherous descent, and stayed away from the disorganized chase, which dealt with Jack Bauer's blocking as well as the inevitable pileup on the soaked streets in the final 3km. Down went Peter Sagan (without injury), and down as well went the impetus to chase, since Cannondale had done most of the work to reel in the Lithuanian, when not being blocked. It was just enough chaos for Navardauskas to stay away with seven seconds to spare and earn him his second grand tour stage, after he took a win at the Giro last year. John Degenkolb of Giant-Shimano edged Alexander Kristoff of Katusha for first-loser.

The crash was a bit nervy, having taken out AG2R's Romain Bardet and held up the other favorites, including maillot jaune Vincenzo Nibali of Astana, but Bardet claimed to be unhurt afterward, so hopefully it will have no bearing on the overall classification. All of the riders held up were given the peloton's seven second deficit, so Bardet remains in fifth place overall, 9.27 back of the lead. The trio of riders chasing podium places, Thibault Pinot, Alejandro Valverde and Jean-Christophe Peraud, all finished on the same +0.07 and will take their nonexistent time spread into tomorrow's decisive time trial.

Results:

1. LTUNAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas 97 GARMIN - SHARP 04h 43' 41''
2. GERDEGENKOLB John 104 TEAM GIANT-SHIMANO 04h 43' 48'' + 00' 07''
3. NORKRISTOFF Alexander 23 TEAM KATUSHA 04h 43' 48'' + 00' 07''
4. AUSRENSHAW Mark 77 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 04h 43' 48'' + 00' 07''
5. ITABENNATI Daniele 32 TINKOFF-SAXO 04h 43' 48'' + 00' 07''
6. ITAPETACCHI Alessandro 76 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 04h 43' 48'' + 00' 07''
7. FRADUMOULIN Samuel 84 AG2R LA MONDIALE 04h 43' 48'' + 00' 07''
8. FRASIMON Julien 178 COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS 04h 43' 48'' + 00' 07''
9. BELVANMARCKE Sep 68 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 04h 43' 48'' + 00' 07''
10. BELROELANDTS Jurgen 138 LOTTO-BELISOL 04h 43' 48'' + 00' 07''
11. FRAFEILLU Romain 214 BRETAGNE - SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT 04h 43' 48'' + 00' 07''

GC:

1. ITANIBALI Vincenzo 41 ASTANA PRO TEAM 85h 29' 33''
2. FRAPINOT Thibaut 127 FDJ.FR 85h 36' 43'' + 07' 10''
3. FRAPÉRAUD Jean-Christophe 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 85h 36' 56'' + 07' 23''
4. ESPVALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro 11 MOVISTAR TEAM 85h 36' 58'' + 07' 25''
5. FRABARDET Romain 82 AG2R LA MONDIALE 85h 39' 00'' + 09' 27''
6. USAVAN GARDEREN Tejay 141 BMC RACING TEAM 85h 41' 07'' + 11' 34''
7. NEDMOLLEMA Bauke 61 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 85h 43' 29'' + 13' 56''
8. NEDTEN DAM Laurens 67 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 85h 43' 48'' + 14' 15''
9. CZEKONIG Leopold 201 TEAM NETAPP-ENDURA 85h 44' 10'' + 14' 37''
10. ESPZUBELDIA AGIRRE Haimar 169 TREK FACTORY RACING 85h 45' 58''

+ 16' 25''

Points:

1. SVKSAGAN Peter 51 CANNONDALE 417 pts
2. FRACOQUARD Bryan 153 TEAM EUROPCAR 253 pts
3. NORKRISTOFF Alexander 23 TEAM KATUSHA 247 pts