David Millar had a painful day on the dirt roads of the Giro d’Italia. He crashed, chased and then cracked on the final climb, losing the pink jersey he would have liked to pass on to his teammate Christophe Le Mével. The Frenchman finished fourth, just missing out on the time bonus, and as a consequence the pink jersey, in Orvieto, just as he had in Rapallo on Monday.
“It’s been a hard day”, Millar said after the stage. “It was a stupid crash. I’m also always hit by allergies in this part of Italy, that’s why I wasn’t feeling good today.”
Looking like a wounded warrior because of his injuries sustained in a crash before the intermediate sprint, Millar lost contact with the front group on the steepest part of the dirt roads with 30km to go. Courageously, he chased and got back on but the final climb up to Orvieto was just too much for him as the GC contenders accelerated for the stage win or at least the time bonuses, eventually taken by Colombians Fabio Duarte and José Serpa, Millar cracked and rode in, losing 2:50 to Pieter Weening (Rabobank) who won the stage and pulled on the maglia rosa.
Five seconds from the pink jersey
Le Mével finished fourth and so missed out on the 20, 12 and 8 second time bonuses. Even eight seconds would have given the Frenchman the overall race lead and kept the pink jersey at Garmin-Cervelo. Le Mevel is now five seconds down on Weening.
“I’m disappointed to miss the pink jersey”, Le Mével told Cyclingnews. “In a cyclist’s career, there aren’t many opportunities to get it. But I’ve done the maximum I could do. I sprinted flat out, I was well positioned, and I didn’t make any mistakes. The two Colombians have just done better than me.”
“Should I regret racing only for David to take the pink jersey on stage 3? I could have raced for the time bonus there and now I would have been the leader. But I don’t want to live with regrets. It’s better to look ahead. Friday’s uphill finish of Montevergine might be my chance. I prefer to stay positive and enjoy the feeling of being strong. The good work I’ve done is paying off.”
Garmin-Cervélo rode to defend Millar’s pink jersey for most of the stage despite the departure of Tyler Farrar after the tragic death of his friend Wouter Weylandt. Millar revealed he tried to comfort his teammate but Farrar was hit hard by Weylandt’s death and was unable to carry on at the Giro.
“On Monday evening, I stayed with Tyler to give him my support,” Millar said. “He didn’t even have the strength to go down for dinner. Weylandt was like a brother for him. Normally Tyler is a tough guy but on this occasion, he was like a child. I hope he bounces back quickly.”