Navardauskas leads Giro

2012-05-09 17:28

Verona - Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania took the lead in the Giro d'Italia after his Garmin-Barracuda squad won the team time-trial in the fourth stage on Wednesday.

Previous leader Taylor Phinney visibly struggled with a swollen right ankle following a crash on Monday. The American BMC rider went off the road at one point onto grass and nearly fell into a ditch.

Garmin clocked 37 minutes, 4 seconds over the mostly flat 33km route in Verona - the first stage back in Italy following three legs in Denmark. Katusha finished second, 5 seconds behind, and Astana and Saxo Bank were next, both 22 seconds back.

Garmin riders are 1-2-3-4 in the overall standings, with Navardauskas 10 seconds ahead of American sprinter Tyler Farrar and South African veteran Robert Hunter, with overall contender Ryder Hesjedal of Canada fourth.

Alex Rasmussen, who entered third overall, couldn't keep up with his Garmin team-mates and dropped in the standings.

Phinney, who needed three stitches to close a wound to his right ankle on Monday, dropped to fifth, 13 seconds behind. After going off road, he had to slow for a moment to clean a clump of grass off his shoes, but a weed remained attached to his bike.

"I didn't have anything today," Phinney said. "The team waited for me a couple times ... Luckily I didn't fall today, too. I'm upset, there's not much else to say. I didn't have any power."

BMC finished 10th, 31 seconds behind Garmin.

"I have to thank the team, because they could have left me behind, but they brought me to the finish," Phinney said.

Navardauskas also struggled at times, especially in the final third of the time trial, but he managed to stay with his team-mates.

"I'm so happy to stay with these guys," he said. "I was so tired with 10 kilometres to go."

Stage 5 on Thursday is a 209km mostly flat leg from Modena to Fano on the Adriatic coast, before the first hilly stages on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The race ends on May 27 in Milan.

Provisional result and standings after the 33.2km team time-trial fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia in Verona on Wednesday:

1. Garmin (United States) 37 mins 04 secs 2. Katusha (Russia) +5" 3. Saxo Bank (Denmark) +22" 4. Astana (Kazakhstan) 5. Omega Pharma - Quick-Step (Belgium) +24" 6. Orica (Australia) +25" 7. Liquigas (Italy) +26" 8. RadioShack (Luxembourg) +28" 9. Team Sky (Great Britain) +30" 10. BMC Racing (United States) +31" 11. Movistar (Spain) +32" 12. Lampre (Italy) +34" 13. NetApp (Germany) +43" 14. Farnese Vini (Great Britain) +59" 15. Rabobank (Netherlands) +1:01" 16. Lotto (Belgium) +1:05" 17. Vacansoleil (Netherlands) +1:10" 18. FDJ (France) 19. Colnago - CSF (Ireland) +1:12" 20. Androni Giocattoli (Italy) +1:44" 21. AG2R (France) +1:45" 22. Euskaltel (Spain) +2:22"

Overall standings:

1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania/Garmin) 10hrs 01min 53secs 2. Tyler Farrar (U.S. / Garmin) +10" 3. Robert Hunter (South Africa / Garmin) 4. Ryder Hesjedal (Canada / Garmin) +11" 5. Taylor Phinney (U.S. / BMC Racing) +13" 6. Manuele Boaro (Italy / Saxo Bank) +19" 7. Geraint Thomas (Britain / Team Sky) +21" 8. Sebastien Rosseler (Belgium / Garmin) +25" 9. Christian Vande Velde (U.S. / Garmin) +26" 10. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain / Katusha) +30"

King of the mountains standings:

1. Alfredo Balloni (Italy/Farnese Vini) 6 points 2. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Colombia/AndroniGiocattoli) 2 2= Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania / Garmin) 2 4. Olivier Kaisen (Belgium / Lotto) 1 4= Miguel Minguez (Spain / Euskaltel) 1

Points standings:

1. Matthew Goss (Australia / Orica) 45 2. Tyler Farrar (U.S. / Garmin) 30 3. Mark Cavendish (Britain / Team Sky) 28 4. Geraint Thomas (Britain / Team Sky) 26 5. Taylor Phinney (U.S. / BMC Racing) 25 6. Mark Renshaw (Australia / Rabobank) 22 7. Alex Rasmussen (Denmark / Garmin) 21 8. Juan Jose Haedo (Argentina / Saxo Bank) 20 8= Geoffrey Soupe (France / FDJ) 20 10. Thor Hushovd (Norway / BMC Racing) 19