Meier and Albasini top finishers on stage 19Fri 25 Jul 2014
Christian Meier and Michael Albasini were ORICA-GreenEDGE’s best-placed riders on stage 19, crossing the finish line in 39th and 44th position respectively.
Hoping to contest what looked likely to be a reduced sprint, a crash in the final three kilometres held up such ambitions as Navardauskas took out a solo victory.
“The boys were in a good position, but got held up behind the crash,” sport director Matt White said.
“It’s obviously disappointing after the guys put Albasini in a good position, he has been solid in contesting these reduced sprints during the Tour, but that’s racing.”
A breakaway of five men took off in the early stages of the day but were never allowed more than a few minutes by a peloton insistent on pulling it back together for a bunch sprint.
When lone rider Ramunas Navardauskas counterpunched on the only classified climb of the day with 12km to go, the chase was on in the closing kilometers.
Wet roads and a technical finale made for a dangerous run in, a large crash amongst the reduced peloton within the final 3km diminishing much of the chase. Navardauskas held on to win by seven seconds.
Attention now turns to the penultimate day of the 2014 Tour de France, a 54km individual time trial and one of the main goals of specialists Luke Durbridge and Svein Tuft.
“We will go out and see the course in the morning,” White said of tomorrow’s challenge.
“It is not as easy as the profile may look, it’s a very long time trial even for Tour de France standards and it is not flat.
“Both the boys are definitely capable of running top ten and if they have a really good day they could finish in the top five as well. Tony Martin will obviously go into the stage as the overwhelming favourite.”