Russian Pavel Brutt, riding for the Tinkoff team, won the fifth stage of the Tour of Italy on Wednesday with Liquigas' Italian rider Franco Pellizotti retaining the leader's pink jersey.
Brutt managed to get away from his four breakaway companions on an incline in the final kilometer following an escape near the start of the stage. Germany’s Johannes Frohlinger finished second four seconds behind, ahead of Colombia’s Luis Laverde and Francisco Perez of Spain after the 203km section from Belvedere Marittimo to Contursi Termo held under cloudy and rainy skies.
Scotland’s David Millar, who was the other breakaway rider, had a mechanical breakdown in the final kilometer to mess up his chances and he threw his bike over some barriers into a ditch in frustration.
Millar said afterwards: “I was so motivated to get the win that I was just really angry at that moment. I will try again another day, not tomorrow, but another time. I really want to win a stage in this Giro.”
The peloton, which was led by two-time world champion Paolo Bettini of Italy, finished about 30 seconds behind.
The 26-year-old Brutt, who is known for his long breakaways, became the first Russian to win a stage on the tour since Pavel Tonkov in 2004.
Yesterday’s stage was shortened by 33.4km, Tour director Angelo Zomegnan said, so the sixth stage from Potenza to Peschici is now 231.6km instead of the original 265km, which he said was to help the riders’ fatigue and stress after difficult conditions since the start of the race.
Pellizotti, the Liquigas team leader, said a lot of the riders had been in agreement that the stage should be shortened.
“We spoke during the stage with [Robbie] McEwen and [Danilo] Di Luca. Practically everyone was in agreement in asking for the next stage to be shortened,” Pellizotti said. “The proposal was accepted, but 230km is still a very long way.”