Peiper: Garmin Barracuda needed Giro d’Italia TTT win
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Peiper: Garmin Barracuda needed Giro d’Italia TTT win

by VeloNation Press at 7:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Navardauskas’ Maglia Rosa comes after late call up to replace Thomas Dekker

Allan PeiperGarmin Barracuda director of competition Allan Peiper has said that the team’s victory yesterday in the Giro d’Italia team time trial was hugely important for morale, and was a fitting reward for the riders after the team worked hard this spring.

While the American WorldTour squad has taken several triumphs in 2012, including Sep Vanmarke’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad win, yesterday’s result was the biggest thus far this season. It also followed on from many near-misses.

The Garmin Barracuda rider beat the Katusha team by five seconds and put Ramunas Navardauskas into the Maglia Rosa of race leadership. The team also has Tyler Farrar, Robbie Hunter and Ryder Hesjedal in second, third and fourth overall, with the latter looking well positioned for his planned assault on the general classification.

“After some good results during the hilly classics and second in the GC at Romandie it seemed like we were always present in the races but still yearning for more,” Peiper wrote in his post-stage assessment.

“Wins are hard to come by in pro sport. We have been consistent all through the Classics, Tour de Romandie and into the start of the Giro. We needed this win and the joy and pride of getting onto the podium together makes every sacrifice worth it.”

The moment is a very rewarding one for Navardauskas, particularly as he broke his collarbone on stage three of Tirreno-Adriatico and had to take a period of time away from racing.

Peiper described him as ‘an unassuming, shy and humble young man,’ and said that the Lituanian accepted a late call-up to the race without grumbling.

“We had to pull in Ramunas Navardauskas to replace an injured Thomas Dekker. I had given Ramunas a heads up the last day of Romandie he may have to go to Italy,” he explained.

“He was just back after a collarbone break and still not in top form in Romandie but willing to go to Italy even though as he told me he was not wanting to disappoint. He had 12 hours at home before repacking his bags but did it as a true pro, without complaint.”

Navardauskas quickly showed that he was in good form, leading the stage one time trial standings for a long time before being eventually bumped down to sixth place.

Alex Rasmussen was best-placed of the Garmin Barracuda riders heading into yesterday’s team time trial, sitting third overall. However he lost contact and this handed Navardauskas the chance to race for the pink jersey himself.

Accoring to Peiper, part of the reason for the team’s success was the reconnaissance done on the time trial route prior to the race itself. He revealed that sports science director Robby Ketchell flew in early to Verona and went over the course with former professional Eros Poli, who is from the region.

They were able to identify key points; the riders then rode the route at speed in order to work out exactly how to tackle the course in the team time trial itself.

The second reason was, of course, the performance of the riders. This included Navardauskas, who was dropped towards the end and could have lost out on the jersey had he not recovered.

“At 1500 meters out Navardauskas did a huge pull and we hit a 300 meter false flat piece he came off the front. As VDV lifted the pace he went off the back,” Peiper wrote. “Ramunas fought to hold the gap at 3 meters and in the final left corner at 900 meters he made contact.”

That effort enabled him to finish with the team and saw him end the day in the Maglia Rosa, a high point of his career thus far.

He started today’s fifth stage ten seconds clear of team-mates Tyler Farrar and Robbie Hunter, and a further one second ahead of Ryder Hesjedal.

Farrar and Hunter could be in line to pick up bonus seconds in the sprints, while Hesjedal is a better climber than each of those ahead of him. It means that while Navardauskas might slip out of the jersey in the days ahead, the odds are good that another Garmin Barracuda rider could end up taking over in pink.

Now that the team has the Maglia Rosa, it wants to keep it for as long as possible.


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