Hushovd stopped about 90 kilometres into the 210 km stage that featured an 11-man breakaway from which solo stage winner Miguel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) and new race leader Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) emerged. Marco Pinotti, best-placed for the BMC Racing Team in the general classification, climbed to 14th overall after finishing with a reduced peloton, 1:51 behind Rubiano. Hushovd had finished sixth on Stage 3 but lost more than nine minutes on Thursday's Stage 5. Initially, the former world road champion thought the heat was to blame.
"Normally the first day in the heat, I suffer sometimes," Hushovd said. "But today, straightaway I felt empty. I felt my body and my legs didn't work. It's not normal so I didn't see any reason to push through. And I couldn't because I had nothing to give."
Hushovd, who was making his first Giro appearance since 2007, said he has ridden a rollercoaster of emotion this season.
"I was in good shape at Het Nieuwsblad and I thought from there on I would be good, because I knew I had worked hard during the winter," he said. "But then I got sick the first day in Paris-Nice, got good for the last two days, then got sick the day after. I came back to Paris-Roubaix and was quite good, but crashed out. So there's been a lot of disappointments."
BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said the BMC Racing Team will miss Hushovd, but remains on target for its objectives.
"I was convinced that he [Hushovd] could be better in the coming days, so we need to find out what's wrong," Baldato said. "Pinotti is very strong and today I saw the guys were always all together – even Danilo Wyss – who isn't necessarily suited for this kind of stage. So I am pleased that the team is riding strong."
It was a tough day for the peloton with Hushovd just one of several riders to abandon the race. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) fell, badly injuring his hand; Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) was another, citing allergies and the after-effects of a crash earlier in the week; while Pablo Lastras (Movistar) crashed on the descent of the Passo della Cappella breaking his right collarbone and several ribs.
Movistar's team doctor, Alfredo Zuniga explained that Lastras will have a new CAT scan this morning and all being well, he will return to Spain to begin his recovery..
"The broken collarbone, in principle, will not require surgery, but is something that will be evaluated in the coming days. He is calm and in good condition, but still very sore."