VERONA, Italy (AFP) –
American team Garmin won the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia, a time trial held over 33.2 km around Verona, to take control of the race Wednesday.
Garmin’s Lithuanian rider Ramunas Navardauskas took possession of the pink jersey from American Taylor Phinney of BMC, who had led the race since winning the opening stage time trial in Herning, Denmark.
BMC, one of several teams to flirt with disaster along the course — Phinney at one point rode deep into a grass verge — finished 10th at 31sec behind Garmin.
The 21-year-old Phinney, who is not considered among the contenders for overall victory, is now fifth overall at 13secs behind Navardauskas.
None of the bona fide contenders for the pink jersey suffered badly on the day.
Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez, whose Katusha team finished second at just 5secs behind Garmin, snatched 17secs from Czech rival Roman Kreuziger after Astana finished third at 22.
Rodriguez also took 21 seconds off Italy’s former two-time winner Ivan Basso, whose Liquigas team finished seventh at 26.
Defending Giro champion Michele Scarponi of Italy meanwhile lost only eight seconds to Basso.
In the unofficial general classification Navardauskas leads three teammates, American Tyler Farrar and South African Robert Hunter, by 10secs with Canadian Ryder Hesjedal at 11.
Garmin’s best placed rider before the stage was Dane Alex Rasmussen.
His chance of pulling on the race leader’s jersey effectively ended when he failed to keep pace with his teammates after the first 15 minutes.
Navardauskas, 24, joined Garmin in 2011 and was a part of the team that won the team time trial at the Tour de France in Essarts.