Fränk Schleck is struggling on through the Giro while suffering from a dislocated shoulder, the result of a crash two days ago in Tuscany.
Ahead of the race, the Luxembourger was marked as one of the foreign favourites to challenge Italians Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD). But he's already 2-11 minutes back in the classification and people are wondering if he has given up on the overall.
"I wouldn't tell them anything 'cause I don't know," Schleck told Cycling Weekly ahead of stage 13 to Cervere. "I'll have to see how I get through today, yesterday was hurting very, very much. We'll see what happens."
Schleck blames his 46-second time loss on a crash with Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) two days ago in Montecatini Terme. The two went down with one lap to go in the circuit. Schleck said that Rasmussen, a former world champion in the Madison, launched team-mate Christian Vande Velde with his hand.
"I think launching a team-mate is against the UCI rules and even more so, it puts other riders in danger, as I have experienced first hand," Schleck said on RadioShack's website. "While doing this he was practically going backwards himself and he was like a wall in the middle of the pack."
Schleck may have a chance to recover time, or lose more, tomorrow. The Giro d'Italia heads north into the Alps in the Aosta Valley. Stage 14 arrives at 2001 metres in Cervinia. On Sunday, the climbs are as high and more frequent with Valcava, Forcella di Bura, Culmine di San Pietro and the finish to Pian dei Resinelli.
Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) leads the race with 17 seconds over Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda). Basso sits at 57 seconds and Scarponi at 1-11 minutes.
"I'm not very concerned about that right now. I have a big problem with my shoulder. Right now, I'm in pain. I got to see how today goes and then take it day by day," Schleck continued.
He said he will try to finish the race, even if the Tour de France is on the horizon in July.
"That's my goal, otherwise I wouldn't be here. As I said, I have to take it day-by-day. It's not easy, it's not easy here. I've also committed to this race, I've committed to my team. No matter what, they need me and they've given so much to me. They mean so much to me, so it's not going to be that easy for me to quit. It's not an option right now."
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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.
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