Russian Pavel Brutt, riding for the Tinkoff team, won the fifth stage of the Tour of Italy in Contursi Terme 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 kilometre following an escape right from the start of the stage. Germany's Johannes Frohlinger finished second a few 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 kilometre to mess up his chances and he threw his bike over some barriers into a ditch in frustration.
"I was so motivated to get the win that I was just really angry at that moment," he said afterwards. "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 world champion Paolo Bettini of Italy, finished about 30 seconds behind.
This was 26-year-old Brutt's best performance. Brutt, who is known for his long breakaways, became the first Russian to win a stage on the tour since Pavel Tonkov in 2004.
Thursday's stage has been shortened by 33.4 kilometres, Tour director Angelo Zomegnan said, so the sixth stage from Potenza to Peschici is now 231.6 kilometres instead of the original 265km, which he told AFP 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," he said. "Practically everyone was in agreement in asking for the next stage to be shortened. "The proposal was accepted but 230 kilometres is still a very long way."
And on his overall lead Pellizotti added: "I've only got a one-second lead in the overall standings but that second has changed everything. I have been in pink for four days thanks to that second."
Pellizotti leads overall by one second from American Christian Vande Velde and by seven seconds from Danilo Di Luca of Italy, with reigning Tour de France champion and Giro challenger Alberto Contador back in 16th spot, 30 seconds off the pace, after finishing the stage in 10th spot.
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