The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!
Thank you for signing up to The Pick. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
Giro d'Italia race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was on the start line for stage seven despite dislocating his shoulder in a high-speed crash in the finishing straight of stage six on Thursday.
Contador's team said in a statement issued on Thursday evening that a medical examination had confirmed the shoulder dislocation, and that a further assessment would be made this morning.
The Spaniard was present at the sign-in ahead of the 264km stage to Fiuggi on Friday morning and confirmed on Twitter that he would start the stage.
"I feel pretty well, not counting everything that happened," Contador told reporters before the stage. "What is important is to have a strong head otherwise it’s hard to even get on your bike and go.
"I hope that I can pass this long day and that my shoulder gets better and doesn’t cause me any problems. My morale is good; I just want to make it through this stage."
Contador looked to be in difficulty on the podium after the stage when collecting his pink jersey, and declined putting it on or opening the traditional bottle of Prosecco in celebration, though he continued smiling throughout the ceremony.
"There’s no tendons torn or any fracture, so it’s pretty good," said team doctor Pete Daniels. "We just have to make sure he doesn’t make certain movements.
"Normally when it’s the first time, the risk of dislocating your shoulder again is not that high – it’s only when you have a repeat dislocation that it becomes easier to come out again."
>>> Six talking points from stage six of the Giro d’Italia
The incident will undoubtedly bring back memories for Contador of last year's Tour de France, when he was forced to withdraw from the race with a broken tibia after a crash on stage 10.
The crash occurred just as the sprinters were winding up to full pace for the stage finale. Contador was among several riders to fall. Although yet to be officially confirmed, it is alleged that the crash was caused by a spectator with a long camera lens leaning over the barriers at the road side.
Italian Daniele Colli (Nippo-Vini Fantini) came off worse when he fell. The television coverage briefly showed Colli with his arm hyper-extended after German André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) sprinted to the stage win.
Contador is aiming for the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, but the crash could end his hopes for the rare double. If he were to pull out, then Italian Fabio Aru would take over the race lead. Sky's Richie Porte currently sits third, and would move up to second.
"You know you have the three-kilometre rule, so they are safe there, but of course if there's no crash and there are gaps, then they are still not safe because they lose time," Tinkoff sports director, Steven De Jongh said while sitting on the curb next to the bus waiting for updates on his team's star.
"You always want to have your leader in a place like the top 40, but of course, crashes still happen and you fall too. There's no trick, you just have to keep you're eyes open and hope for the best. [Crashes like this] unfortunately happen too much."
Contador fell as a result of Colli's crash in the final kilometre of the 183-kilometre stage south through Tuscany from Montecatini Terme.
"It was a good final stretch, not really that dangerous, but we know that anything can happen," two-time Giro winner and Contador's team-mate, Ivan Basso said.
"There's no clear rule to keeping safe, also you saw that the crash was in the first positions. You just need a big dose of luck when you are GC riders trying to make you're way through. I just hope Contador and the others are OK."
Contador may suffer from his crash as the Giro continues. The remaining 189 cyclists face their second summit finish on Saturday. Or the 32-year-old may have to go home to Madrid's outskirts depending on the medical checks.
Sprinter Colli will have to say ciao to the Giro d'Italia. The images showed him on the road with his Nippo teammates around him for support and his left arm stretched out in the wrong direction. It was later confirmed via X-ray that he'd suffered a compound fracture of the left humerus.
"Sometimes you just have to turn your head when the TV shows things like that," Nippo sports director, Stefano Giuliani said when he arrived by car to the team bus.
A teammate rolled Colli’s bike to the bus as he rode on his.
"I just hope that his arm is a simple fracture and nothing serious. First we have to think of the man, then the cyclist."
Giuliani heard that someone was leaning out to take a photograph on the left side of the finishing straight. Colli hit the fan as he was speeding by going around 50 to 60kph and fell to the right. Contador and many others hit the deck soon afterwards.
"There's no way to stay safe in sprints. The sprints always had their crashes. It seems these days everyone wants to sprint. That's understandable, but a fan leaning out like this is not acceptable."
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get The Leadout Newsletter
Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
All the essentials to get started commuting by bike (on a budget – or not)
Here is everything you need to buy for cycling to work – and how not to break the bank by doing so
By Stefan Abram Published
How to lock a bike securely: eight tips for worry-free urban cycling
If you’re using your bike to commute to work or to nip to the shops, you’ll want to make sure it’s still there when you return
By Paul Norman Published
The dog days aren't over at the Tour de France 2022: Canine chaos AND cuteness
‘Suddenly that beast crossed the street and I couldn’t go anywhere’ - stray dog causes Yves Lampaert to crash on stage 12
By Tom Thewlis Published
Van Vleuten confirms her third Giro Donne victory
The Dutch rider finishes safely in the bunch while Chiara Consonni takes the final stage
By Owen Rogers Published
Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel weigh in on 2009 feud with Alberto Contador
Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel have both weighed in on the 2009 feud between Armstrong and his team-mate Alberto Contador.
By Alex Ballinger Published
Alberto Contador says he can't see Julian Alaphilippe winning the Tour de France
The two-time Tour champion maintains that Egan Bernal will win the French Grand Tour
By Jonny Long Published
Alberto Contador says Egan Bernal is ‘clear favourite’ for the Tour de France
The multiple Grand Tour winner says the 2019 Tour will be the most open edition in years
By Jonny Long Published
Andy Schleck: ‘Alberto Contador did something he shouldn’t have done, even if he denies it’
The Luxembourger also described winning a Tour de France title on paper rather than on the bike as 'bull***t'
By Jonny Long Published
Retired Alberto Contador missing competition, but relieved to no longer be 'slave to dieting'
The Spaniard says Sky's Chris Froome and Egan Bernal can both win Grand Tours in 2019
By Gregor Brown Published
Banning power meters would make racing a better spectacle, says Alberto Contador
The retired racer says riders should use power meters in training but not have that data for racing
By Gregor Brown Published