It has been confirmed to Cyclingnews that Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) will start stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia. The Spaniard arrived at the start in Grosseto on the Tinkoff-Saxo team bus and plans to start the 264km stage.
Speaking a little earlier as he walked to the team bus from his hotel, Contador told reporters: "I go. I work incredibly hard for this race. I'll give 100%, I'll do everything that is possible to continue in this race."
From the start he tweeted: "In 1hour I'll be at the start of the stage. They have protected my shoulder and hope it will not go out again.Will be a hard day with 264km."
The Spaniard was involved in a heavy fall in the finale of stage 6, while wearing the race leader's pink jersey. Despite remounting and finishing the stage, he was later diagnosed with a dislocated left shoulder. X-rays later revealed that no bones were broken, however, the Spaniard arrived at his team hotel with his left arm heavily strapped as a precaution. According to the rider his shoulder had dislocated for a second time, just before the official jersey presentations were made. Hence he was unable to raise his arms and put on the maglia rosa.
"We are now on the way to the start and he will start and that’s for sure," Jacinto Vidarte, Contador’s official press officer told Cyclingnews this morning.
"He tells me that he’s okay. He had a good night’s sleep and the shoulder is more or less okay for riding. The other injuries are fine too and not so bad. He will start."
Speaking to the press after his fall Contador was optimistic of starting the stage but remained unsure on how his shoulder would hold up. Initial reports had suggested that the collarbone had broken, however the Spaniard confirmed that he had pushed his dislocated shoulder into line before crossing the finishing line before it popped out for a second time.
"To judge from the tests it seems like it was nothing more than it was dislocated and I have to be very careful to be sure it doesn't happen again, so now I've got to try to have a good night's rest and immobilize my shoulder at all times, and cross my fingers it doesn't come out [dislocate] again and I can handle the pain," Contador said last night.
“I'm going to do everything I can to stay here. I've been working a lot since last winter for this race and I want to continue in it. I will see tomorrow [Friday] if I can or can’t continue, but I hope so.
"We'll have some kind of protection [for the shoulder], first thing next [Friday] morning we'll put on some kind of bandage, to make sure it's as protected as it can be, but it won't be easy. We'll see."
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This morning Cyclingnews also spoke to Tinkoff-Saxo’s general manager Stefano Feltrin, who is also travelling with the team at the Giro d’Italia. Feltrin confirmed that Contador would travel to the start of stage 7 with his team and that the rider would begin the stage. At 264km it is the longest stage of the race, while stage 8 is another serious mountain test.
“He’s on the bus and going to the start. As for his shoulder it was better yesterday before 5 pm but he has to try. He wants to try,” Feltrin told Cyclingnews.
“We keep our fingers crossed but it’s a long day and tomorrow is a mountain stage. We hope the sensations are good and we want to him to be competitive. It would be real shame if the race lost a star like this.”
“We of course hope for a easy stage. This morning it was windy, now it’s not as bad and we hope that the weather cooperates.”
Contador was filmed walking to the team bus this morning from his hotel room. All eyes were on his left shoulder, with the rider gingerly protecting it. Cyclingnews asked Feltrin whether the injury put Contador and the rest of the peloton in danger and if it was safe for the athlete to start. Feltrin was assuring in that medical staff had cleared Contador for competition and that safety was paramount for him and the team.
“That’s one of the first things checked last night was whether the shoulder could dislocate again. The doctors are confident that it’s okay and the medical examinations showed no extreme stretching of the ligaments or tendons. That gives us some real confidence.”
“If he starts it’ because he can ride. We put safety fist and upmost for our riders.”
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