Mark Cavendish and David Millar, Giro d'Italia 2011, stage four

Abrasions showing on his arm and leg, David Millar cut a tired figure as he explained where his maglia rosa defence went wrong after an action packed fifth stage of the Giro.

"I'm f***ed, I have really bad allergies," he said. "I always get them in this part of Italy. It wasn't possible [to defend the jersey]."

On a stage made difficult enough by sections of gravel road and strade bianche, he first came down while sprinting, in the innocuous pursuit of bonus seconds, against rival Angelo Vicioso.

Jettisoned 30 kilometres from the finish, the Garmin-Cervelo rider took risks to regain the front group, riding with Italian pair Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas) and Fabio Taborre (Acqua e Sapone).

However, it was curtains on the steep ramp before the finish in Orvieto, as the Briton lost nearly three minutes to stage winner and new leader Weening.

The day also saw another horror crash, sustained by Rabobank rider Tom Jelte Slagter. The Dutchman fractured his jawbone, received contusions and needed stitches for a wound, but was cleared of brain damage at Orvieto Hospital.

While peers Danilo di Luca and Alessandro Petacchi criticised the inclusion of the strade bianche in this year's race, Millar hinted that the risk doesn't change: "It was dangerous, but it's like that. We had to be extra careful, but the ambulances were always near by."

Millar's spell in the maglia rosa was tinged with sadness after Wouter Weylandt's death; the Briton helped to organise a tribute to him.

Giro d'Italia 2011: Latest news

Blythe finding way in second Grand Tour

Leopard-Trek withdraws from Giro d'Italia

Leopard-Trek uncertain to continue in Giro

Tuesday's Giro stage in memory of Weylandt

Giro doctor describes actions to save Weylandt

Wouter Weylandt killed in Giro crash

Giro news shorts (May 8)

Cavendish likely to take Giro lead tomorrow

Giro 2011: Who will win?

Kennaugh to lead Team Sky in Giro's opening stage

Nibali's Giro fight with Contador may reach the courtroom

Riis defends Contador's participation in Giro

Cavendish set to start winning again at the Giro

Doping investigations force cyclists out of Giro d'Italia

Kennaugh replaces Pauwels in Sky's Giro line-up

Contador scouts out the Giro mountains

Cavendish and Millar top list of Giro-bound Brits

Lampre likely for Giro despite doping investigation

Giro announces record 23 teams to race

2011 Giro to start in Turin with team time trial

Giro goes one up on the Tour with spectacular route

Nygaard, Sciandri and Lloyd comment on 2011 Giro route

Nibali's Giro d'Italia?

Giro d'Italia 2011: Stage reports

Stage five: Weening holds on to take stage and maglia rosa

Stage four: Tearful Farrar and Leopard-Trek lead riders across stage four finish line

Stage three: Vicioso victory overshadowed by Weylandt crash

Stage two: Petacchi wins as Cavendish takes lead

Stage one: HTC-Highroad wins Giro's opening team time trial

Giro d'Italia 2011: Photo galleries

Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson

Giro d'Italia 2011: Live text coverage

Giro d'Italia 2011 stage five live text updates

Follow the 2011 Giro d'Italia live with Cycling Weekly

Giro d'Italia 2011: Start list

Giro d'Italia 2011: Start list

Giro d'Italia 2011: TV schedule

Giro d'Italia 2011: British Eurosport TV schedule

Related links

Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index


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