(Reuters) – Ineos-Grenadiers team leader Geraint Thomas has pulled out of cycling’s Giro d’Italia after suffering a fractured pelvis in a crash early on the third stage on Monday, his team said.

The Welshman tumbled to the ground in the neutral zone before competitive racing began, when his front wheel hit a feeding bottle while he was riding at full speed.

Ineos-Grenadiers Doctor Phil Riley said on Tuesday: “Geraint had an MRI and a CT scan this morning which revealed a small undisplaced fracture in the lower part of the pelvis which wasn’t picked up on the X-rays yesterday. As a precaution he will be withdrawn from the race as it’s an injury that could easily be aggravated.”

Thomas said: “It’s so frustrating. I’d put so much work into this race. I did everything I could and feel like I was in just as good, if not better shape, than when I won the Tour. I was feeling really good. So for it just to end like this is gutting.

“I was really up for starting today. I woke up and wanted to start with the boys and at least help them go for stages over the next few days, but deep down I knew something wasn’t right, so we went to get these extra scans. It does make the decision easier when there’s a fracture in some ways, because obviously I don’t want to do anymore damage.”

Thomas also had to abandon the Giro in 2017, five days after hitting the ground in a crash involving a race motorbike.

The Welshman has been left out of the team’s Tour de France squad because of poor form.

Thomas ended Monday’s 150km stage some 12 minutes behind stage winner Jonathan Caceido of Ecuador, who crossed the line 51 seconds ahead of overall contenders Jakob Fuglsang and twice winner Vincenzo Nibali and 39 seconds before Dutch challenger Wilco Keldermann.