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“Today we made a plan, and we did it. It’s not the first time that all the boys did their best, and it led to our success. They caught three leading riders and made a lead-out for me in the sprints."

Photo: Sirotti




11.04.2015 @ 01:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Ramunas Navardauskas repeated as overall winner of the Circuit de la Sarthe-Pays de Loire. The Lithuanian began the day in third overall and used the hotly contested intermediate sprints to snag bonus seconds that would catapult him into the race lead – by a single second. It was a true team effort in every sense of the word, and the Cannondale-Garmin Circuit Sarthe squad was rewarded not only with the yellow jersey but also the team classification victory.


“I can’t believe what the team did today,” said Navardauskas. “I feel like I am the biggest rider in the world! I have no words to say thank you to my teammates for all that effort.”


“Today we made a plan, and we did it,” Navardauskas added. “It’s not the first time that all the boys did their best, and it led to our success. They caught three leading riders and made a lead-out for me in the sprints. How impressive is that?”


“To take the win in the overall is a very big thing for me,” Navardauskas continued. “But it is more for all the team, for all the big effort in what they did. I would say it was a team win.”


Sport Director Johnny Weltz echoed the sentiments of the yellow jersey. Weltz was full of praise for a squad that set a fast tempo, chased down breaks, lead Navardauskas out for bonus seconds – all in the name of an ambitious plan that would see their team leader capture the overall win.


“We knew it was within reach at the start,” said Weltz. “We played everything for Ramunas. There were nine bonus seconds out on the road, and we went for them.”


Navardauskas won two intermediate sprints, picking up six bonus seconds to become virtual race leader. Following the final intermediate sprint with 17 kilometres left to race, Navardauskas kept the pace high, escaping the grasp of the peloton with Tiago Machado (Katusha), who was also in contention for the overall win. It took nearly ten kilometres for the peloton to bring back the two-rider breakaway.


Sprinting in for seventh place, Navardauskas finished outside the bonus seconds available to the top three on the stage, but the top-three on the stage were not threats to the overall. Navardauskas had won the race.


“We took control of the race from the start to the finish,” said Weltz. “The guys were really determined, and they did an awesome job. There was no team that could ride the way we did. We have to give chapeau to the kids for that one.”


“I have a lot of feelings now, and I’m just very, very happy,” Navardauskas said. “To win one time is good. But to do it two times? By percentage there is way less possibility for that. I’m just very happy for my team and how they held together and did it for me. It’s an honor.”



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