Victor Lafay of Cofidis claimed his first stage victory as a professional when he won stage eight of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday while Caleb Ewan, who won two stages this week, was forced to abandon the race due to pain in his knee.

Lafay, 25, was among a group of nine in the breakaway on the final climb of the 170-km stage and held off a late surge from Eolo-Kometa's Francesco Gavazzi who finished second while Team DSM's Nikias Arndt was third.

Groupama-FDJ's Attila Valter retained the leader's pink jersey with none of the general classification contenders losing time as they crossed the line in the same group. Ireland's Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) moved up one place to eighth.

Ewan was leading the points classification after winning stages five and seven, with the second win coming on Friday after a well-timed surge at the finish.

However, the 26-year-old Australian never planned to complete the May 8-30 race as he had his sights set on winning sprint stages in the Tour de France which begins on June 26.

"I need to do what's best in preparation for the Tour," Ewan said on Friday.

"Unfortunately, sprinters' legs don't recover in the same way that any other riders' do and if I finished the Giro now I would be dying for the next few months."