Giro d'Italia: Garmin-Sharp's Ramunas Navardauskas climbs to victory on stage 11
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 15/05/13 11:08pm
Ramunas Navardauskas went clear on his own 5km from the line
Lithuania's Ramunas Navardauskas climbed to a solo victory on stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia as all of the contenders for overall victory crossed the line safely in the peloton.
The Garmin-Sharp rider was part of a 20-man breakaway and later forged clear on his own on the ascent to the summit finish in Vajont, north-eastern Italy.
Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and second-placed Cadel Evans (BMC) finished in the main bunch, which had allowed the breakaway to stay clear and then climbed to the finish line without any meaningful attacks.
The result means Nibali retains his 41-second lead over Evans, with Team Sky pair Rigoberto Uran and Wiggins remaining third and fourth, 2min 4sec and 2min 5sec adrift respectively.
Navardauskas said afterwards: "We started racing a bit different today, to be more effective, with the whole team trying to get in the breakaway. At the end, I was just happy to have the better legs."
Stage 11 took the riders on a 182km, medium-mountain route from Tarvisio to Vajont over two category-two climbs.
With the opening 70km all gently downhill, it took more than 80km for a breakaway group to form, but then 20 riders forged clear, with only three teams - Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Belisol and Astana - not represented.
The group built its lead up the long climb of Sella Ciampigotto, but on the subsequent descent, Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) pressed on and opened up a gap of more than a minute on his fellow escapees and over five minutes on the Astana-led peloton.
Heading into the final 20km, the rest of the breakaway upped their pace in a bid to catch Gretsch, and Navardauskas and Daniel Oss (BMC) were able to break clear and catch and overtake the German.
Oss falls away
The duo held an advantage of almost two-and-a-half minutes heading on to the final climb, but Oss immediately started to toil on the incline and he was dropped by the flawless Navardauskas 4.9km from the line.
The 25-year-old rider wore the pink jersey for two stages at last year's Giro and continued his love affair with the race by stopping the clock 1min 8sec ahead of his Italian counterpart, who held on for second.
Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox) extended his lead of the mountains classification by charging to third with a late attack, and Team Sky's Salvatore Puccio won a small bunch sprint to claim fourth.
In behind, the peloton negotiated the final climb without incident, with only Benat Inxausti (Movistar) mounting an attack to grab a handful of seconds that moved him up to ninth in the general classification.
Wiggins kept pace with his rivals despite revealing he is struggling with a cold.
Watch highlights of stage 11 on Sky Sports 2HD from 7.30pm
Stage 11 result
1 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit) Garmin-Sharp, 4:23:14
2 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC, +1.08
3 Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox, +2.59
4 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky, +3.07
5 Paul Martens (Ned) Blanco, same time
6 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini, st
7 Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, st
8 Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +3.10
9 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Saxo-Tinkoff, +3.11
10 Jackson Rodriguez (Col) Androni-Venezuela, +3.25
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 43:26:27
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, +41secs
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky, +2.04
4 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, +2.05
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco, +2.12
6 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +2.13
7 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini, +2.55
8 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida, +3.35
9 Benat Inxuasti (Spa) Movistar, +4.05
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +4.17
Red (points classification) - Cadel Evans (BMC)
Blue (mountains classification) - Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox)
White (best young rider) - Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff)