Ramunas Navardauskas finds his niche
The penultimate sprint stage of the Tour de France was no such thing. Lithuanian rider, Ramunas Navardauskas got away towards the end and held everyone off for the win.
If you’re thinking to yourself ‘who is Ramunas Navardauskas?‘ he’s one of those riders who doesn’t particularly have a ‘thing’. He’s quite a big guy, which usually means specialising in the classics or time trials, but Navardauskas, despite having the physiology for such things, doesn’t really do either.
This isn’t to say he isn’t a strong rider, however. It’s just harder to put your finger on exactly what it is that he does. His nickname is the Honey Badger in reference to this famous video, but the reason for this isn’t entirely clear. Asked to explain, David Millar said they’d been on a training camp, “and he was just doing all this unbelievable shit” which is a fairly typical Millar response – wildly enthusiastic without really providing a decent answer. Just what ‘unbelievable shit’ is it possible to do on a bike? Sprinting, climbing, time trialling – it’s all just different versions of going faster than other people over a given distance isn’t it?
If I had to guess, I’d say that Navardauskas is capable of maintaining a higher speed than most riders for a relatively prolonged period of time. As specialties go, it’s not catchy, but it does allow you to attack over the top of a hill in the Tour de France and hold off the peloton to take a stage win.
A monster time trial for Tony Martin to win, but it will also decide who ends up on the podium. It should prove intriguing, even if TV coverage of time trials often leaves much to be desired.