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"With four riders in the front group, we were able to control any attack and keep myself and Rohan Dennis covered. I was feeling fresh. Once we came across to Francis Mourey, it was up to me to open the uphill sprint from far out,"...

Photo: Sirotti

CIRCUIT CYCLISTE SARTHE

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EF EDUCATION - EASYPOST

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RAMUNAS NAVARDAUSKAS

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10.04.2014 @ 22:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Ramunas Navardauskas set himself up for a potential overall win in the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe when he won today's queen stage of the race to take over the leader's jersey. The Lithuanian finished off great teamwork from Garmin-Sharp who benefited from strength in numbers at the end of a very hard stage.

 

Already yesterday Ramunas Navardauskas had indicated that he is in splendid condition when he finished 3rd in the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe time trial to position himself well near the top of the overall standing. With his teammate Rohan Dennis having finished 2nd, his Garmin-Sharp team had a number of cards to play in today's queen stage of the race.

 

The team used its strength in numbers to take over the race lead from previous leader Alex Dowsett. When IAM had whittled the peloton down to just 26 riders, the American team still had Nathan Brown and Nathan Haas there to support their two leaders.

 

The team came under pressure when Francis Mourey (FDJ) took off on his own inside the final two 20km of the stage to build up a gap of more than 30 seconds. However, he was brought back on the lower slopes of the Mont des Avaloirs which led almost all the way to the finish line.

 

Here Navardauskas again put his great form on show as he opened up a long sprint to put no less than four seconds into his nearest rivals, Julien Simon and Anthony Roux. With the win, he took over the leader's jersey and his team finds itself in a very comfortable situation as Navarduaskas and Dennis occupy the first two positions in the GC.

 

"With four riders in the front group, we were able to control any attack and keep myself and Rohan Dennis covered," Navardauskas said. "I was feeling fresh. Once we came across to Francis Mourey, it was up to me to open the uphill sprint from far out, and that's how I won solo.

 

"Our directeur sportif [Charly Wegelius] had a plan in the bus this morning and it worked out well. We were in a good position with two riders in the top three on GC, so we had to try something but it was hard to predict how the race would unfold until the last lap. Tomorrow everything is possible."

 

Navardauskas leads his teammate by 17 seconds while Simon and Roux are one second further adrift. Tomorrow's final stage is another hilly affair that ends with several laps on a tough circuit.

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