Millar quits Giro due to illness

David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) pulled out of the Giro d’Italia at the feed zone during Friday’s 13th stage to Cesenatico. He was the most notable of the five riders who quit the race, leaving 164 of the original 198 starters let in the race.

“When he woke up this morning, he had lost his voice”, Garmin-Transitions directeur sportif Lionel Marie told Cyclingnews. “He’s got a throat problem. He started the stage to see if he would perhaps improve but he only got worse, so he abandoned the race.”

Millar was third overall after the epic stage on the Strade Bianche dirt roads on the seventh day and showed some great form until he got sick. As soon as he’ll be healthy again, he’ll prepare for the Dauphiné Libere. This year the French ProTour race features a 50km individual time trial and an uphill finish in L’Alpe d’Huez. Millar hopes to take on Alberto Contador and go for overall victory.

Millar’s Garmin-Transitions teammate Jack Bobridge was also a non starter in Porto Recanati on Friday morning. The young track rider had impressed the day before as he rode in front of the bunch, working to set up Tyler Farrar for the expected bunch sprint. However 13 days of racing were the limit for the Australian, who had never ridden a Grand Tour or competed in a race longer than 200 kilometres.

“If he recovers well from this race, he might be able to target a result soon”, Marie said about the neo-pro who has lost two kilos during the Giro and obviously still has huge margins of improvement.

Bobridge was last in the overall classification when he quit the Giro. However there could be other riders ready to withdraw from the race in the next 24 hours. Saturday’s stage 14 features the Monte Grappa climb, a fortified mountain that is known for the tragic battle of November and December 1917 during World War I, when 40000 soldiers lost their lives. The course of stage 14 includes the steepest climb of Monte Grappa, with 18 kilometres of climbing followed by a 26 kilometre descent. The finish in Asolo is also uphill.

The stage t o Asolo marks the start of the real mountain stages of the 2010 Giro d’Italia, with only stage 18 to Brescia left for the sprinters. Many of them are expected to pull out and pursue further goals and begin preparation of the Tour de France. The final week of the Giro will be all about the battle for the pink jersey.

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