Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) produced a perfectly timed effort to win the Giro d'Italia stage 17 sprint in Vicenza, to discover a few seconds later that Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) had won alone, 19 seconds earlier.
The lanky Lithuanian rider opted not to wear a race radio during the stage and so wasn't aware of Visconti's late move until his soigneur confirmed the news to him. The expression on his face turned from joy to disbelief, to disappointment and then to embarrassment.
"I made the mistake of not taking a race radio today," he said.
"I didn't know that Visconti was away up front, and so I tried to do my best. It was enough to win the sprint, and I honestly thought I'd won the stage."
While most of the Giro d'Italia peloton is tired after a long, hard and weather challenged race, Navardauskas is still fresh and chasing success.
He won stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia to Vajont and was in the breakaway of the day on stage 16, finishing fourth in Ivrea. He still had the strength to be part of the front group of 40 riders that formed on the climb before Vicenza and rode a perfect finale. His only problem was that Visconti was even stronger.
"I was in a good position on the last climb, and so I tried to hold with the front group. Then I tried to stay at the front and see what happened. I knew the last corners, tried to be safe and sprint for victory. I won it, but not for first place. Still, second place is still good."
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