Garmin-Barracuda punched out its third team time trial victory in a Grand Tour today outside Verona’s Roman Arena. It clocked a time of 37-04 minutes to win the Giro d’Italia’s fourth stage, adding to the 2008 Giro stage in Palermo and last year’s Tour de France TTT in Les Essarts.
As a bonus and as with the other two time trials, it took the race lead, putting Ramunas Navardauskas in the pink jersey.
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Other teams had struggled and failed to topple Katusha’s 37-09 time, including Sky at 37-34. USA’s Garmin made it look easy, though, zipping into Verona with all but Alex Rasmussen in its train.
“I don’t think it is a walk in the park,” said sports director, Allan Peiper on the back streets behind Piazza Bra. “This is a thing we try to excel at because we want to be a team. We want to show that we are a team. We want to show that we work as a team. We don’t have the most resources. We don’t have the whatever. But we are a team and function as a team.”
The team’s helper, Robby Ketchell flew to Verona early on Monday to ride the course with locals, including Eros Poli. The team rode parts of the course several times yesterday during the rest day, including the technical climb and descent mid-way in Corrubbio.
Today, they rode the warm-up near full speed. “Near 85 per cent,” Peiper said. “We had a hard warm up and they got to see the corners à bloc [going all out]. I was a little worried that they might’ve cooked it before the start.”
Four years ago, the team made its Grand Tour debut in style winning the time trial in Palermo. Christian Vande Velde took the jersey and held it for one day. They’ve made it their speciality, winning several other team time trials over the years. This year, Garmin won the team time trial in the Tour of Qatar.
“For us it is a big thing,” Peiper continued. “We put a lot of focus on it and a lot of thought on the team. We went to Denmark early and did our standing starts and efforts so they all had confidence that they could make the distance. And those efforts make a difference. Everyone can do that but we did it.”
Navardauskas leads team-mates Tyler Farrar and Robert Hunter by 10 seconds, in second and third place. Garmin’s captain, Ryder Hesjedal sits fourth overall at 11 seconds. If Farrar wins or places second in the stage to Fano tomorrow, he’ll take the pink jersey.
“We are going to die for Tyler at the end,” added Peiper. “We’re going to go out and make the most of it.”
Giro d’Italia 2012: Latest news
Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead
Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash
Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning
Stage one: Phinney wins time trial
Giro d’Italia 2012: Photo galleries
Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide