Quintana takes Giro lead as crash affects other contenders

Spain's Gorka Izagirre celebrates after winning the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia Tour of Italy cycling race from Molfetta to Peschici Saturday

Spain's Gorka Izagirre celebrates after winning the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia Tour of Italy cycling race from Molfetta to Peschici Saturday

The day's big crash occurred at the foot of the days' final ascent and was caused by a police motorbike which had stopped by the side of the road.

The peloton was travelling quickly and spread across the full width of the asphalt and there was nowhere for the riders to go.

He hit the stationary bike and tumbled, wiping out numerous adjacent Team Sky squad, including Thomas and Landa.

And he was highly critical of race organisers when speaking to reporters following the end of a miserable day, as he said: "It's really disappointing, I don't know what to say".

"We were all racing for the bottom of the climb then next thing I know, someone in front of me hits the motorbike and you go down".

The Welshman revealed his shoulder had "popped out" but later added: "I've had worse crashes".

"I felt good, then I crashed". That was it. Race over.

"I'm a bit angry at the minute".

Quintana, who won the Giro in 2014 gained the upper-hand in the race on Sunday when he claimed the overall lead in the General Classification by winning the first big mountain stage of this year's Giro.

As the gradients grew over 10 per cent Quintana pushed for home and the pink jersey, the Movistar rider opening up a 28-second lead over Pinot, with Tom Dumoulin third after finishing strongly.

Although he battled on the climb to finish third at 24 seconds behind Quintana and move up to third overall, trailing the Colombian by 51 seconds, his race nearly ended too.

Entering the stage, Thomas stood second overall and Yates was third. Landa was on the same time in 12th.

Yates finished four minutes and 38 seconds behind and Thomas's ordeal ended 5:07 after stage victor and race leader Nairo Quintana had crossed the line.

Yates is now 16th overall, 4:49 behind, while Thomas is a place further adrift, 5:14 in arrears.

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford told Eurosport: "A motorbike shouldn't have been there".

"But I do think we need to go back and have a look at it and ask the question, 'Why did it happen?' - but we fight on".

Wilco Kelderman was the man to cause the accident that also took out Thomas' team-mate Mikel Landa and fellow Brit Adam Yates, but the Team Sunweb rider was not at fault.