Quintana takes Giro lead as crash affects other contenders

Gorka Izagirre wins Stage 8 of the 2017 Giro d'Italia.jpg

Gorka Izagirre wins Stage 8 of the 2017 Giro d'Italia.jpg

BURY rider Adam Yates and fellow Brit Geraint Thomas' hopes of winning the Giro d'Italia suffered a major blow as both men were involved in a crash caused by a police motorbike 15km from the finish on today's stage nine, which was won by Colombia's Nairo Quintana.

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".

Yates, who rides for Australian team Orica-Scott, ended the day in 16th place, 4mins 49secs off leader Quintana, while Team Sky's Thomas, who was second at the start of the day, finished over five minutes back.

Both the Welshman and Landa were firmly in contention as the peloton prepared to begin the 13.6km climb to the summit of the climb that saw Belgian legend Eddy Merckx claim his first win on the Italian race, in 1967.

Several Sky riders hit the deck, including pre-race favorite Geraint Thomas, after a rider hit a police motorcycle parked alongside the road.

A cyclist clipped the vehicle on the left hand side of the road and it wiped out Thomas and his team-mates.

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.

That shouldn't happen. We were all racing for the bottom of the climb.

Thomas added: "I had felt good and then I crashed and my race was over". Monday is a rest day but when the race resumes the GC riders who are strong time trialists will try and take back time lost on Blockhaus.

"The motorbike shouldn't have been there, frankly, I think we all see that", said Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford after the stage. They had been within 10-seconds of Bob Jungels and tied on time with the likes of Quintana, Pinot, Dumoulin and Nibali. "We need to sit down and work out what we're going to do".

Thomas and Yates will have a rest day on Monday to consider their options, the British duo getting much-needed time to rest their tired and battered limbs ahead of stage 10 on Tuesday. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) at 24secs, 3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0.24s 4. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 41, 5. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 1:18, 7. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 2:14, 9.

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