- Giro d'Italia, Stage 11
Navardauskus surges clear for stage win
Ramunas Navardauskus claimed the second Giro d'Italia stage win of his career with a perfectly-timed final burst to Vajont as Vincenzo Nibali, Bradley Wiggins and the rest of the Pink Jersey contenders settled for a stalemate.
Lithuanian Navardauskus, who now has 18 grand tour stage wins to his name, rode a tactically perfect race across the two category-two climbs, riding clear of the peloton with a 21-man lead pack over the Forcella Ciampigotto before hunting down a solo break by Argos-Shimano's Patrick Gretsch and bursting clear of BMC's Daniel Oss with 4km remaining to win by over a minute.
Stefano Pirazzi, the current King of the Mountains leader, sprinted clear of the chasing pack to finish third just under three minutes behind the Garmin Sharp rider.
The 25-strong Pink Jersey group trailed in nearly six minutes after the stage winner. Vincenzo Nibali's Astana team had controlled the pack throughout the 182km stage, where Team Sky marked the race leader. Points leader Cadel Evans and Robert Gesink, currently fifth and trailing Nibali by 2min 12sec, also stayed with the pack to leave the head of the general classification unchanged.
After a surprisingly sedate opening 90km as the race left Tarvisio, a 21-man group broke clear and steadily opened up a five-minute lead on the peloton. After reaching the summit of the Forcella Ciampigotto, Gretsch broke clear of the 20-man breakaway group on the first descent.
The Argos-Shimano rider, bidding to surge clear with 50km remaining, opened up a 1min 20sec lead at one stage, but with 20km to go Danilo di Luca led a counterattack. The Italian failed to bridge the gap but compatriot Daniel Oss and Garmin rider Ramanus Navardauskus kicked on to catch the German with 12km to go. With his bid for a stage win over, Gretsch drifted off the lead pair and faded out of sight.
Back at the front, Navardauskus shrugged off Oss with 5km remaining with an impressive burst of pace on the final climb and maintained his assault to the finish, crossing the line in four hours 23min 14sec.
Settling around six minutes behind the chase group, Vincenzo Nibali's Astana team controlled the peloton, where Team Sky marked the race leader throughout the stage. Wiggins, who is reportedly suffering with a cold, and team-mate Rigoberto Uran kept close to ensure there would be no surge from the Pink Jersey rider. The result leaves the Team Sky riders in contention, trailing Nibali by just over two minutes.
Ahead of the day's racing, French rider Sylvain Georges withdrew after it emerged that he had failed a doping test at the Giro d'Italia. The 29-year-old AG2R rider was pulled out by his team after testing positive for heptaminol, a substance that widens blood vessels, on May 10.
Stage 11, Tarvisio - Vajont, 182km
1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania/Garmin) 4:23:14
2. Daniel Oss (Italy/BMC Racing) +1:08
3. Stefano Pirazzi (Italy/Bardiani Valvole) +2:59
4. Salvatore Puccio (Italy/Team Sky) +3:07
5. Paul Martens (Germany/Blanco) +3:07
6. Danilo Di Luca (Italy/Vini Fantini) +3:07
7. Egoi Martinez (Spain/Euskaltel) +3:07
8. Serge Pauwels (Belgium/Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +3:10
9. Evgueni Petrov (Russia/Saxo-Tinkoff) +3:11
10. Jackson Rodriguez (Venezuela/Androni Giocattoli) +3:25
General classification after stage 11
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Astana) 43:26:27
2. Cadel Evans (Australia/BMC Racing) +41
3. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/Team Sky) +2:04
4. Bradley Wiggins (Britain/Team Sky) +2:05
5. Robert Gesink (Netherlands/Blanco) +2:12
6. Michele Scarponi (Italy/Lampre) +2:13
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Italy/Vini Fantini) +2:55
8. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Poland/Lampre) +3:35
9. Benat Intxausti (Spain/Movistar) +4:05