Wiggins finishes safely after stage 11 to retain fourth overall

Wiggins finishes safely after stage 11 to retain fourth overall

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Great Britain’s Sir Bradley Wiggins finished safely in the pack on stage 11 keeping his dream of a first Giro d'Italia victory alive. The British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider came home alongside his title rivals meaning no change in the top five overall, thus retaining his fourth place in the standings.

Italy's Vincenzo Nibali kept the overall lead and is two minutes and five seconds ahead of Wiggins with Lithuania's Ramunas Navardauskas winning the 182 kilometre stage in four hours and 23 minutes after being part of a breakaway.

Stage 11 took the riders on a 182km, medium-mountain route from Tarvisio to Vajont in north-eastern Italy and over two category-two climbs.

Things were relatively quiet for the first 80km before a group of 20 riders forged clear, launching a breakaway ahead of the first of two category two climbs in today’s stage. The group included eventual stage winner Navardauskas and Argos rider Patrick Gretsch but were never really a threat to the overall standings.

With 74km to go, the 20-strong breakaway group had a lead of five minutes and 12 seconds. Further back, Vincenzo Nibali's Astana team set the pace at the front of the peloton, with the Italian safely in the middle of his team-mates as they wound their way up the first classified climb of the day.

By the time they started the descent however, Patrick Gretsch attacked and went off alone building up a lead over the other escapees of two minutes. In response, Navardauskas and Oss opened up a gap over the remaining chasers and went in pursuit of the Argos rider, making an attack of their own. They eventually caught Gretsch with 17 Km to go.

However, the German ran out of gas at the foot of the final 7km ascent to the finish, allowing Navardauskas, who had been allowed to attack in this stage following team-mate and defending champion Ryder Hesjedal falling out of contention after stage 10, and Daniels Oss to race clear of him.

The peloton, which included Sir Bradley Wiggins, Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans, were six minutes behind the escapees with 7km to go. They had given up any hope of catching presumably confident in the knowledge that no one in the breakaway group was in contention on general classification.

With 5km remaining, Navardauskas found he had a little bit more left in the tank and dropped Oss and went on to win the stage reletively comfortably. Sir Bradley Wiggins, race leader Vincenzo Nibali and second-placed Cadel Evans all finished in the main bunch. This result means Nibali retains his 41-second lead over Evans, with yesterday’s stage winner Rigoberto Uran and Wiggins remaining in third and fourth, 2min 4sec and 2min 5sec adrift respectively.

Tomorrow's stage is a 127 km flat stage from Longarone to Treviso. Mark Cavendish is the only rider to have won two stages so far and this stage is sure to suit sprinters, giving the British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider the chance to make it three so far. 

Stage result

1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania/Garmin) 4:23:14
2. Daniel Oss (Italy/BMC Racing) +1:08"
3. Stefano Pirazzi (Italy/Bardiani Valvolve) +2:59"
4. Salvatore Puccio (Italy/Team Sky) +3:07"
5. Paul Martens (Germany/Blanco) "
6. Danilo Di Luca (Italy/Vini Fantini) "
7. Egoi Martinez (Spain/Euskaltel) "
8. Serge Pauwels (Belgium/Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +3:10"
9. Evgueni Petrov (Russia/Saxo - Tinkoff) +3:11"
10. Jackson Rodriguez (Venezuela/Androni Giocattoli) +3:25"
29. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain/Team Sky) +5.41''

General Classification after Stage 11

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Astana) 38:57:32"
2. Cadel Evans (Australia/BMC Racing) +41"#
3. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/Team Sky) +2:04"
4. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain/Team Sky) +2:05"
5. Robert Gesink (Netherlands/Blanco) +2:12"

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