Steve Morabito’s 123rd place finish on stage two of the Tour Down Under might not have looked that remarkable on paper, but the race results don’t tell the full story of the FDJ rider’s tough day out.
Cruising along among the team cars with just less than 30 kilometres remaining on the race’s second stage between Unley and Stirling, Morabito’s day took an unpleasant turn as he hit the deck, dislocating his right shoulder in the process.
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Sitting in the road, the Swiss rider immediately looked in considerable discomfort as he held his right arm, popping the shoulder back in himself before team-mate Antoine Duchesne came to check on his injured companion.
The peloton continuing up the road, Duchesne departs to leave Morabito in the capable hands of the Tour Down Under race doctor, who assists Morabito to his feet before helping him stretch out his injured shoulder.
Incredibly, Morabito then gets back on his bike, understandably riding a little gingerly at first, as he completed the final few kilometres to the finish in Stirling, eventually rolling in with a group of six other riders nearly 15 minutes behind stage winner Caleb Ewan.
A number of riders and fans took to Twitter after the stage to commend Morabito for his ability to fight through the pain, with FDJ team-mate Tobias Ludvigsson among those who were impressed, while the man himself was also on social media to say how he appreciated the comments.
Part of the reason that Morabito was able to pop his shoulder back into place before remounting and finishing the stage is that he has previous experience with this sort of injury.
The 34-year-old has previously dislocated his right shoulder in a crash with a motorbike at the 2014 Vuelta a España, and his left shoulder in an accident at the 2008 Giro d’Italia.
Although he wasn’t able to continue at the Vuelta due to having suffered other additional injuries, Morabito did manage to complete five more stages of the Giro, meaning that we wouldn’t bet against him making it to the finish in Adelaide on Sunday at the Tour Down Under.