Garmin-Sharp's Ramunas Navardauskas attacked from the break on the final climb to win today's Stage 11 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia to Vajont, while behind him his team mate and defending champion Ryder Hesjedal, who lost more than 20 minutes yesterday, was once again dropped from the group containing the GC riders, slipping another 8 minutes back.
Daniel Oss of BMC Racing clung on to finish second, a little over a minute down on Navardauskas, with mountains classification leader Stefano Pirazzi of Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox consolidating his lead in that competition by finishing third on the Category 2 climb, nearly 3 minutes behind the stage winner.
It's the biggest win to date for the 25-year-old Navardauskas, who enjoyed a spell in the maglia rosa last year after Garmin-Sharp won the Stage 4 team time trial in Verona, and continues his rich vein of form - last month, he won Stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie.
There was little change at the top of the overall standings, although Movistar's Benat Intxausti, who lost the maglia rosa to Vincenzo Nibali on Saturday, jumped clear of the GC group to gain a few seconds that see him move back into the top ten overall.
It took around 80km of today’s 182km stage for a break to finally detach itself from the front of the peloton, the move comprising around 20 riders getting clear on the Category 2 climb to Sella Ciampigotto, crested with a little over 60km remaining.
That group included serial attackers including Pirazzi and Androni-Giocattoli’s Jackson Rodriguez, who outsprinted the Italian to take maximum points in the mountains classification going over that summit.
Also present in the group were a couple of past Grand Tour winners in the shape of 2011 Vuelta champion Juan Jose Cobo of Movistar and Vini Fantini-Selle Italia’s Danilo Di Luca, the 2007 Giro champion, but it was Argos-Shimano’s Patrick Gretsch who launched a solo bid for glory on the descent.
Today’s stage finish commemorated the disaster, 50 years ago this year, when the Vajont dam burst as a huge wave came over the top, with 2,000 lives lost in the valley below, and as the road headed back up towards the location of that tragedy, Gretsch was overhauled by Navardauskas and Oss, the Lithuianian subsequently dropping the Italian as he rode to victory.
Behind, the GC group, mainly controlled by Astana throughout the day, was as expected taking things easy following yesterday’s exertions with the first big mountain summit finish of this year’s race at Altopiano del Montasio, with maglia rosa Nibali’s Astana team assuming most of the duties in controlling the pace of the peloton.
Tomorrow should also see the overall contenders maintain a watching brief with Stage 12 to Treviso providing a rare opportunity for the sprinters to challenge for the win.
Giro d'Italia Stage 11 result 1 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas Garmin - Sharp 04:23:14 2 OSS Daniel BMC Racing Team 01:08 3 PIRAZZI Stefano Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox 02:59 4 PUCCIO Salvatore Sky Procycling 03:07 5 MARTENS Paul Blanco Pro Cycling ,, 6 DI LUCA Danilo Vini Fantini ,, 7 MARTINEZ Egoi Euskaltel - Euskadi ,, 8 PAUWELS Serge Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 03:10 9 PETROV Evgeni Team Saxo-Tinkoff 03:11 10 RODRIGUEZ Jackson Androni - Venezuela 03:25 11 COBO Juan Jose Movistar Team 03:27 12 GUSEV Vladimir Katusha Team 03:30 13 KEUKELEIRE Jens Orica GreenEDGE 03:36 14 VEUCHELEN Frederik Vacansoleil - DCM ,, 15 BONNAFOND Guillaume AG2R La Mondiale 03:57 16 DUQUE Leonardo Fabio Team Colombia 04:12 17 GRETSCH Patrick Team Argos - Shimano 04:20 18 LE BON Johan FDJ 04:40 19 SARMIENTO Jose Cannondale Pro Cycling ,, 20 INTXAUSTI Benat Movistar Team 05:23 Overall Standings after Stage 11 1 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 43:26:27 2 EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team 00:41 3 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling 02:04 4 WIGGINS Bradley Sky Procycling 02:05 5 GESINK Robert Blanco Pro Cycling 02:12 6 SCARPONI Michele Lampre - Merida 02:13 7 SANTAMBROGIO Mauro Vini Fantini 02:55 8 NIEMIEC Przemyslaw Lampre - Merida 03:35 9 INTXAUSTI Benat Movistar Team 04:05 10 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 04:17
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.