What is it like racing a bike when your shoulder has been recently dislocated like Giro d'Italia leader Alberto Contador? CCC-Sprandi Polkowice rider Davide Rebellin was unlucky enough to experience the same injury in the Tour of Turkey's last stage, when the Italian veteran crashed when a dog ran out into the road.
Twenty-eight kilometres from the line on the last stage, Rebellin's teammate Stefan Schumacher initially collided with the dog. Rebellin was unable to avoid crashing into the German and fell as well. The Italian couldn't continue the race - when he was on the point of taking a podium finish.
Dislocated shoulders are relatively rare in cycling. Contador initially thought he had broken his collarbone, which is much more frequent. But Rebellin points out dislocated shoulders are an injury that vary in form and in recovery procedure.
"I had to go to hospital and had a checkup there," unlike Contador, who received medical attention at his hotel. "It hurts a heck of a lot at first but the worst of the pain did subside a lot after three or four days. So in Contador’s case, it could take half a week for the pain to go," Rebellin told Cyclingnews.
Not taking part in the Giro d'Italia, Rebellin emphasises that although the injury was the same in name, there are some big differences between his and Contador's situations. "You have to bear in mind, too, that I was able to rest completely for that period, the crash was on the last day of racing. In Alberto's case, he has to race on." Rebellin, like Contador, used icepacks to try and ease the pain.
"I was back on the bike after three or four days. In my case it still hurt the most when you stand on the pedals for a sprint, say, or on a climb."
A former Giro d'Italia leader, Rebellin finished fourth on today's final climb of Campitello Matese back in 1994, leading in the group of overall contenders after Evgeni Berzin won the stage ahead of Oscar Pellicioli and then the Giro d'Italia two weeks later.
"I don't recall the climb well, but I do know that it's long and steady, not too hard, and the differences [between the favourites] shouldn’t be too big," Rebellin tells Cyclingnews. "In any case, I still believe that Alberto Contador is strong enough to win the Giro d'Italia this year."