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As the first week of the Giro d?Italia comes to a close, we round up how the six British riders have fared so far?

One day it was Rule Britannia, the next it was Cruel Britannia.

British fans have witnessed both triumph and disaster ? with Mark Cavendish becoming only the third British rider ever to win a Giro stage, and David Millar feeling his chance of winning the very next day collapse from under him when his chain snapped.

And every day there has been significant British interest.

There are six Brits in this Giro, the record British participation in a grand tour since the 1987 Tour de France. That year six started, three finished.

If five or more of them reach Milan it will be a British record for the number of finishers in a single grand tour ? beating the four Brits who finished the Tour de France in 1964 (Tom Simpson, Michael Wright, Barry Hoban, Vin Denson) and 1968 (Wright, Hoban, Denson and John Clarey).

Here we look back at the first week of racing and sum up how the boys have been getting on.

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Best day Tuesday?s stage four to Catanzaro-Lungomare ? Cavendish?s first grand tour stage win. It confirmed what those who coach him have been saying for ages: point him in a straight and he?s the fastest in the world.

Where is he overall? 159th at 1-04-43

Giro Britannia verdict Sprinting legend in the making.

What next? The next chance for Cavendish comes on Sunday at San Vincenzo. It?s a rolling stage with no significant climbs but it?s long, at 218 kilometres. He may also need his team to dig deep for him on the final hill on the run-in as they did on Tuesday. After that, he?ll hope to get through the mountains to have a crack at Carpi on Thursday.


Cavendish: This is my biggest win yet

Those who know him best react to Cav?s win

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Best day The opening team time trial where Millar showed his renaissance is complete. A few years back Millar would have wanted to cross the line with his team-mates and have a shout at getting the pink jersey. Not now. The new Millar laid it all on the line with a monster turn to ensure Slipstream did not surrender any of their momentum. Then he sat up and let others take the glory. As Jonathan Vaughters said: ?That was a very, very unselfish piece of riding.?

What can you say about Wednesday?s remarkable mechanical problem that happened at the worst possible time, when he looked poised to get after Pavel Brutt. It?s a while since we?ve seen Millar look so comfortable and relaxed on the road and he must have felt victory was there for the taking until his chain snapped.

Vaughters revealed the chain did not snap on the pin but in the middle of a link. An incredible piece of misfortune.

Where is he overall? 85th at 33-17

Giro Britannia verdict Fortune favours the brave. He?ll try again when the course suits him.

What next? Millar can bide his time and bid for freedom on another of the rolling stages, perhaps even as soon as Saturday?s stage eight? Sunday?s time trial doesn?t look to suit him on paper, as it rises all the way and will probably favour the general classification contenders, but you never know.


Millar: I was sure I?d win

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Best day Friday?s seventh stage saw Cummings succeed where he had tried so hard but failed the day before. He made the break and contributed to helping it get away before being caught with 45 kilometres to go. On Thursday he went with every move in the first hour but missed the 11-man break that finally got clear.

Where is he overall? 161st at 1-05-25

Giro Britannia verdict If at first you don?t succeed, try, try, try again.

What next? More of the same for Cummings. Primarily that?s working for the climbers in the team, Soler, Pfannberger and Cardenas and doing the legwork on the flat if Barloworld are called upon to do any chasing.


Cummings: I went with every move

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Best day One of the unsung heroes of the Giro so far. He?s another who has been doing a lot of the hidden work for Barloworld. As far as preparation for the Olympic Games goes, this is pretty much perfect. He?ll be flying with a grand tour in his legs. Even though the final week is brutally hard, he can afford to press on to get round because there is time to recover before Beijing.

Where is he overall? 141st at 55-30

Giro Britannia verdict He?s learning so much, so quickly.

What next? Continue the unselfish work for the team. It?s unlikely he?ll chance his arm by getting up the road, but you never know.

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Best day Whenever you see Liquigas chasing to keep Franco Pellizotti and Vincenzo Nibali in the picture, it?s invariably Wegelius who?s doing the big turns on the hills.

He?s developed into the professional?s professional, the sort of super domestique the leaders love to rely on. Uncomplicated, unfussy, Wegelius just does his job. Most days he?s sat up before the finish, hence his overall position. It?s possible he?s being saved for the bigger mountains to come.

Where is he overall? 156th at 1-03-17

Giro Britannia verdict Loyal to the last.

What next? The work he?s done so far is nothing compared to what?s going to hit him in the mountains. He?s grown into an integral figure in the Liquigas Giro strategy.

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Best day Drove it in the team time trial as High Road finished a slightly surprising third. Then was right up there looking after Cavendish, helping to keep him in touch on the final hills of stage four. Wiggins is another super deluxe team worker. Primarily he?s here to get the grand tour miles in his legs before the summer?s Olympics.

Where is he overall? 160th at 1-04-58

Giro Britannia verdict Just working for the team.

What next? He?ll want to get round, despite the brutal climbing in the final week. The time trials don?t look particularly to his liking on paper but again, if he?s on form he could pull out a good result.


Stage seven: Di Luca, Ricco and Contador gain time on rivals

Stage six: Italians clean upStage five: Millar denied by snapped chain

Stage four: Cavendish wins

Stage three: Bennati romps home

Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d'Italia second stage

Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial


Aggressive Cummings comes away empty handed [stage six]

Millar speaks out after missing out in Giro [stage five]

Reaction to Cavendish's Giro stage win

Cav hits back at Pozzato's snipe

Cavendish: This is my biggest win [stage four]

Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d'Italia success

Bettini looking for final Giro glory

Astana's troubled build-up to the Giro

Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive

Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro


Giro d'Italia 2008: Photo gallery. New photos added daily


Tuesday Comment (May 13): Why Cavendish is a bona fide world-class star

Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy

Giro d'Italia 2008 preview

Giro d'Italia 2008: who will win?

Giro d'Italia 2008: The British are coming

Giro d'Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule

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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.