Sonny Colbrelli fitted with defibrillator and discharged from hospital

The Italian rider collapsed at the end of stage one of the Volta a Catalunya two weeks ago, suffering an unstable cardiac arrhythmia

Sonny Colbrelli defibrillator
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sonny Colbrelli has had a defibrillator fitted and has now been discharged from hospital in Italy, two weeks after collapsing at the end of stage one of the Volta a Catalunya.

The Bahrain-Victorious rider collapsed almost immediately after crossing the finish line in second of the first stage of the Volta a Catalunya on March 21, with his team later confirming that he had suffered an unstable cardiac arrhythmia. Medics attended to the Italian within seconds of his collapse, performing CPR and using a defibrillator to treat him.

Colbrelli subsequently spent time in a Girona hospital, before being transferred to the Cardiology Clinic of the University of Padua in Italy on Saturday March 26, a centre extremely adept at diagnosing and treating arrhythmogenic heart muscle diseases.

Doctors performed a clinical cardiovascular evaluation of Colbrelli to determine the cause of his collapse, with the results revealing he needed a subcutaneous defibrillator (ICD) implantation operation. 

A Bahrain-Victorious team statement (opens in new tab) confirmed Colbrelli underwent the successful operation last Thursday, before revealing he has now left hospital too. Professor Domenico Corrado, director of the Genetic Cardiomyopathy and Sports Cardiology Unit in Padua, came to the conclusion of fitting Colbrelli with a defibrillator, with the agreement of the rider himself. 

Professor Domenico Corrado said: “In Padova, the athlete underwent comprehensive clinical, genetic and imaging evaluation to identify the cause of the arrhythmia that led to cardiac arrest and the most appropriate therapy.

"The decision to implant a life-saving device has been shared by Colbrelli who received a subcutaneous ICD. The device works to correct the rhythm of the heart if it’s needed in extreme cases."

Recognising the severity of the incident, the 31-year-old said last week that it's a "miracle" that he's alive, and that he needs another to get back on his bike. 

Indeed, if Colbrelli is to return to competitive racing then he almost certainly won't be able to race in his home country. Italy prevents athletes competing with an ICD fitted, which is a device placed under the skin with the ability to perform defibrillation by sending electrical pulses to regulate abnormal heart rhythms.

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Ryan Dabbs

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.