Ramunas Navardauskas of Garmin-Barracuda, who came close to taking the maglia rosa at the weekend when the 2012 Giro d'Italia started in Denmark with an individual time trial, has taken the lead in the race on the day it returned to its home country with a team time trial in Verona. The Lithuanian rider's Garmin-Barracuda team put in the day's quickest time of 37 minutes 4 seconds as maglia rosa Taylor Phinney of BMC Racing gamely struggled through with the ankle he had injured in Monday's crash in Stage 3 in Horsens, but the American was unable to hold onto the jersey.
Navardauskas, virtual maglia rosa for two hours during Saturday's individual time trial in Herning, lay fifth overall this morning, 18 seconds behind Phinney. Among the riders ahead of him was his own team mate Alex Rasmussen, third overall and 13 seconds behind Phinney. The Danish rider surprisingly dropped off the back of the Garmin time early on in today's team time trial, in which it was the only outfit to post a sub-10 minute time at the first intermediate time check.
Garmin-Barracuda win (picture Gian Mattia D'Alberto - La Presse - RCS Sport)
In the closing kilometres, Navardasukas too was struggling to hold on but just managed to do so and ensure he would take over leadership of the race. Team mate Tyler Farrar moves up to second overall, with two more Garmin-Barracuda riders third and fourth in the shape of Robbie Hunter and Ryder Hesjedal.
Garmin-Barracuda celebrate (picture Gian Mattia D'Alberto - La Presse - RCS Sport)
Phinney himself moves down to fifth, his BMC Racing team posting the tenth fastest time some 31 seconds behind the winners. Had they not been defending the maglia rosa, it's likely that they would have posted a quicker time, having lost valuable seconds at one point when Phinney himself went off road onto a grass verge, somehow managing to stay upright and avoid falling down an embankment.
BMC with Phinney in pink (picture Daniele Badolato - La Presse - RCS Sport)
Orica-GreenEdge and Team Sky had both been expected to challenge for the stage win here, but neither got close to the top times. The Australian team had a scare when Canadian time trial champion Svein Tuft almost went off on a corner, while the British outfit missed the opportunity to put Geraint Thomas, second overall this morning and 9 seconds behind Phinney, into the maglia rosa.
Team Sky start (picture Fabio Ferrari - La Presse - RCS Sport)
As it turned out, Orica GreenEdge posted the sixth fastest time of the day, 25 seconds behind Garmin-Barracuda, with Team Sky five seconds slower, 30 seconds back on the winners.
Orica-GreenEdge (picture Fabio Ferrari - La Presse - RCS Sport)
Instead, it was one of the less heralded teams in this discipline, Katusha, that came closest to challenging Garmin-Barracuda's time, just 5 seconds behind, and giving Joaquin Rodriguez an unexpected time cushion over some of his rivals that could prove valuable later in the race. There was a 17-second gap back to the third-quickest team, Astana, with Saxo Bank a fraction slower in fourth and Omega Pharma-Quickstep 2 seconds back in fifth.
Giro d'Italia Stage 4 result 1 GARMIN-BARRACUDA 37'4" 2 KATUSHA TEAM at 5" 3 ASTANA PRO TEAM 22" 4 TEAM SAXO BANK 22" 5 OMEGA PHARMA - QUICKSTEP 24" 6 ORICA-GREENEDGE 25" 7 LIQUIGAS - CANNONDALE 26" 8 RADIOSHACK - NISSAN 28" 9 SKY PROCYCLING 30" 10 BMC RACING TEAM 31" Overall Standings after Stage 4 1 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas GRM 10:01:53 2 FARRAR Tyler GRM at 00:10 3 HUNTER Robert GRM 00:10 4 HESJEDAL Ryder GRM 00:11 5 PHINNEY Taylor BMC 00:13 6 BOARO Manuele SAX 00:19 7 THOMAS Geraint SKY 00:21 8 ROSSELER Sebastien GRM 00:25 9 VANDEVELDE Christian GRM 00:26 10 RODRIGUEZ Joaquin KAT 00:30
Farnese Vini dayglo (picture Fabio Ferrari - La Presse - RCS Sport)
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.