Domenico Pozzovivo's briefly lost consciousness in his heavy crash at the Giro d'Italia, according to reports.
The Ag2r-La Mondiale rider went down on the descent of Barbagelata towards the end of stage three on Monday and was taken to San Martino Hospital in Genoa.
In a statement, an Ag2r doctor said Pozzovivo suffered a cranial-facial trauma, which reportedly required 25 stitches around his right eye. He was reported to be conscious but lucid, with no recollection of the fall.
“I’m ok but it was a very heavy fall,” Pozzovivo told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I don’t remember what happened because I fell.
"I remember that the descent was difficult and maybe my wheel slipped. I wanted to finish this Giro well and it pains me to leave the race.”
But the 32-year-old had been enjoying a strong start to the season, claiming top-10 overall in all four stage races he's finished, including third place at the Volta a Catalunya in March.
"The beginning of the season was excellent," he added. "I was in the best condition of my life.
"I think I will be back in the Tour de Suisse and be competitive."
The Swiss race kicks off on June 13, giving Pozzovivo just a month to get back to full fitness. Ag2r's Giro hopes now lie with Colombian Carlos Betancur, who currently sits 58 seconds behind leader Michael Matthews.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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