VERBANIA, Italy (AFP) — Former Giro d’Italia champion Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini) abandoned this year’s race after fracturing his collarbone during a crash on Thursday’s stage 18, medical officials announced.

Cunego, who won the race in 2004, fell with Italian compatriot Roberto Ferrari after 55km when they were in the main escape of the day on the 170km run from Melide in Switzerland to Verbania.

VeloNews contributor Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin) was in the breakaway and reported that the crash was caused by an unexpected pothole.

Cunego, the 2004 Giro winner, has been taken to hospital and is also suffering from rib, arm, hip, and knee injuries.

Former world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) won the stage while Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) continues to hold a healthy 5:15 lead at the top of the overall standings.