Garmin-Barracuda had a day of extremely mixed fortunes at the Giro d'Italia on Friday. The action started when Tyler Farrar crashed out, badly injuring his hand, and continued with Ramunas Navardauskas losing the leader’s pink jersey. However the good news was that Canadian Ryder Hesjedal moved ever closer to the top spots - he’s now third - and Christian Vande Velde, the 2008 Giro leader, moved up to fifth.
As if that wasn’t enough to make stage six a day to remember for both the right and the wrong reasons, Jack Bauer came a cropper in the same accident that saw Pablo Lastras (Movistar) abandon, but team sources confirmed the Kiwi rider was ok.
Farrar’s injury was undoubtedly the blackest spot of Garmin-Barracuda’s stage. The sprinter fell heavily early on, and according to a team press release “suffered multiple lacerations to his hand and numerous abrasions....preliminary x-rays show no fractures and an examination didn’t reveal any tendon injury.”
Farrar “crashed after 20 kilometres, someone took his front wheel out,” Allan Peiper, team sports director on the Giro told Cyclingnews. “He’s got two holes in his hand that are very close to his tendons and they put a lot of bandaging on. But the blood was still coming through and there was no way that he could continue racing for another five hours. All in all he was very lucky.”
Farrar will now rest up for at least a week, team sources said, before starting riding again.
Ramunas Navardauskas’s losing battle to defend the pink jersey was another major story, with the Lithuanian finally throwing in the towel and waving the team cars ahead with about 40 kilometres to go.
“I was just empty,” Navardauskas said. “I wasn’t going much worse than yesterday on my first day with the pink jersey but today’s stage was much harder.
“I was dropped maybe three times. Robbie Hunter helped me a lot and encouraged me as much as he could but eventually I couldn’t hold the speed of the peloton. Today was one of my hardest days on a bike, but it’s been a fabulous experience to wear the pink jersey.”
Yet another negative of stage six for Garmin was when Jack Bauer, away in the big break of the day, came down in a crash involving Pablo Lastras (Movistar) but team sources confirmed the New Zealander is ok. “Having him in the break for as long as we did meant we didn’t have to work behind,” pointed out Peiper.
On the plus side, after Garmin upped the pace radically in the final hour, Hesjedal is exactly where the team want him to be, in third overall “and that’s what the plan was. We were hoping to take the jersey, but we just missed it by five seconds and then Malori got the time bonus too.”