Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Astana) has pledged to fight on at the Giro d'Italia despite having a fractured elbow. The Spaniard used yesterday's rest day to visit a radiologist and have his injury further investigated.
The fracture - without dislocation - stems from his crash on Stage 8, from Rivisondoli to Tivoli. While he was able to complete the stage and continue on Sunday's Stage 9, the bruising and discomfort prompted Contador to have x-rays on the Giro's first rest day.
"As all riders know, winning a Grand Tour takes some hard work, luck and health," said Contador. "Unfortunately, having a small fracture does not make the journey to Milan any easier, but I'm motivated and will try to fight through the pain."
Following the x-rays Contador went for a training ride to see if the pain had eased from the prior day. The Spaniard reported he was feeling strong enough to continue and was looking forward to the challenge ahead.
"I do not intend to leave the race," said Contador. "During my training ride of today, I felt my elbow, but I felt as well that I could do the normal or desired efforts. So, why should I leave the race then? Moreover, this race is one of the big cycling monuments. I am a hard one, I stay. The last days my legs felt better and better. The longer I was in the Giro, the better I felt."
The injury could, however, have an impact on Contador's time trial position for today's stage. Contador hopes the injury won't hurt his aerodynamic position too much. "That is a problem," he added. "I hope I still make a good time trial. The doctors tell me that it is a small fracture. With a bit luck, I can recover a bit during the 'easier' stages of Wednesday to Friday."
Contador's Kazakh team-mate Assan Bazayev also required a check up on the rest day. Peculiarly Bazayev spent his rest day afternoon at the dentist.