By Shane stokes in Contursi Terme, with additional reporting by Gregor Brown
Pavel Brutt of Tinkoff Credit Systems launched a bold attack against his breakaway companions with just over one kilometre remaining in 203-kilometre stage five of the Giro d'Italia from Belvedere Marittimo to Contursi Terme. The 26 year-old Brutt, who was born in Russia but now resides in Marina di Massa, Italy, gave his team its first ever Giro d'Italia stage win and made himself the first Russian winner since namesake Pavel Tonkov triumphed four years ago.
Brutt had escaped with Johannes Fröhlinger (Gerolsteiner), Luis Felipe Laverde (CSF Group Navigare) and Francisco Pérez (Caisse d'Epargne) and David Millar (Slipstream Chipotle H30).
"No, no, I didn't believe it," said Brutt when he was asked if he had thought the break would stay clear. "That was partly due to the fact that at the beginning, we had one minute 50 seconds, two minutes the gap was not very much. But then I was with some very strong guys and it made the difference."
Brutt, who said at the post-stage press conference that he likes reading Tolstoy and his hobby is looking after his mini car, added that he has one particular style of racing. "I like to break away," he said. "I have done a lot of them many in last year's Giro and I always do them as often as possible. I suffer a bit on the climbs but I am able to go with 800 metres to go and make the difference."
Brutt's team was especially happy with the Russian's achievement, especially after his team had persistantly played an aggressive role throughout the 2007 Giro d'Italia. "Finally we have obtained the victory we have vehemently sought, and prepared for," said Orlando Maini. "The team has demonstrated its talent and strength, and the performance of Brutt should also be shared with Dmitri Konishev who directed him to this precious victory. Konishev has been a valuable resource for the Tinkoff Credit Systems riders, as they are able to glean insights from him and his experiences as a professional." Konishev had directed Brutt to make his winning move.
Meanwhile, maglia rosa Franco Pellizotti said after stage two that he was intent on trying to win the Giro, and survived Wednesday's test in fine style. He finished fourth in the group sprint to the line, taking eighth on the stage, and thus preserved his GC lead over closest rival Christian Vande Velde.
Asked about his narrow time advantage, Pellizotti said, "It is an important second, but also today it would have been okay for me to lose the jersey because we already won one stage, we have the points jersey and we have had the pink jersey for three days. We thought we were going to lose it because there was this breakaway, but finally I kept it."