Giro d'Italia: I’m ok but it was a very heavy fall, says Pozzovivo

No brain injury for Italian after stage 3 crash

The heavy crash on the descent of the Barbagelata that ended Domenico Pozzovivo’s Giro d’Italia dominated the headlines after stage 3, but there was reassuring news on the Italian’s condition within an hour of the finish.

Race doctor Giovanni Tredici and the Giro medics who tended to Pozzovivo on the roadside had described his condition as “serious but under control and not an emergency,” and their impressions were borne out by tests carried out at Genoa’s San Martino hospital on Monday afternoon.

Pozzovivo required stitches to a wound above his right eye but a CT scan reported no brain injury and he scored 14/15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, indicating a good level of consciousness after the blow to his head.

“Domenico is suffering from a cranial-facial trauma but the scan revealed no intra-cranial lesion. He has deep wounds above his right eye and received stitches. He is conscious and lucid but has no memory of the crash,” Ag2r-La Mondiale doctor Eric Bouvat said in a statement released by the team on Monday evening.

Pozzovivo remained in hospital overnight, but the man from Basilicata was able to provide Gazzetta dello Sport with a brief update on his condition, confirming that he had no recollection of his crash, which took place 35 kilometres from the finish in Sestri Levante.

“I’m ok but it was a very heavy fall,” Pozzovivo said. “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.”

Dr. Paolo Moscatelli, the head of the accident and emergency unit at San Martino hospital, said that Pozzovivo had not suffered any fractures in the incident, although the cut above his eye was a deep one that had required the extraction of dirt and pebbles from road.

“The CT scan was negative for brain injuries,” Dr. Moscatelli said. “He has some flesh wounds above and around his right eye. It wasn’t a straightforward or clean wound, so it required some stitches.”

The column inches in the Italian press were dedicated predominantly to Pozzovivo rather than for stage winner and maglia rosa Michael Matthews, with La Repubblica’s headline neatly summing up the situation – “Pozzovivo: Shock, fear and relief.”

On Tuesday morning, after sleeping for “two or three hours” overnight, Pozzovivo spoke to the press once again, telling Gazzetta that he planned to return to action at the Tour de Suisse next month.

“It was a long night and I even made some plans for the future,” said Pozzovivo. “I was in the best condition of my life and I’m thinking about returning at the Tour de Suisse and being competitive.”

Pozzovivo will remain under observation in hospital at least until Tuesday afternoon.

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