Giro d’Italia: Alberto Contador rides through pain

ALBERTO Contador rode through the pain of a dislocated shoulder to retain the race lead on yesterday’s longest stage of the Giro d’Italia, which was won by Diego Ulissi.

Alberto Contador arrives in the start area prior to yesterdays stage. Picture: AFP/Getty
Alberto Contador arrives in the start area prior to yesterdays stage. Picture: AFP/Getty

Spaniard Contador suffered the injury in a crash in the frantic sprint finish on Thursday’s sixth stage, but started the 264km seventh stage from Grosseto to Fiuggi yesterday.

Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), who crash-ed out of the 2014 Tour de France before returning to win the Vuelta a Espana, finished the stage in the bunch as Lampre-Merida’s Ulissi won.

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Today’s eighth stage is a 186km trek from Fiuggi to Campitello Matese.

Contador said: “It was a hard day for me, but I’m happy because I got through it. After three-and-a-half or four hours, I didn’t know what to do with my arm, but I hope and trust that, as the days pass, it will improve.

“Today is a stage that I was looking forward to. Now it’s going to be hard for me, and I expect attacks. Now I’m just thinking of resting and putting ice on my shoulder. Then we’ll see.”

Meanwhile, Sir Bradley Wiggins’ latest bid to rewrite cycling’s record books by setting a new British mark for the ten-mile time trial starts today on a slip-road just off the A63 near South Cave in East Yorkshire. He will set out shortly after 4.30pm and will pocket £50 from the race organisers, City Road Club in Hull, if he takes the first prize, which appears a formality given the event was specifically organised to cater for the slower end of the amateur riding spectrum.

Wiggins is taking part in the event as preparation for next month’s tilt at the world hour record at Lee Valley Velodrome, for which all 3,000 tickets sold out within half an hour of going on sale.

There will be no such spectator problems this weekend, with vantage points including a handful of lay-bys, a couple of bridges over the dual carriageway, or even the cabs of the trucks which will chug past at hair-raisingly close proximity en route to Hull docks.

Organisers say they turned down almost 40 applications – complete with £10 entry fee – from cyclists keen take part in the race but were deemed too fast. Wiggins made the cut because he does not hold a recent recorded time over the distance.

If Wiggins manages to eclipse the 17 minutes and 58 seconds mark set by Alex Dowsett in Cumbria in 2006, he will also be the recipient of a Cycling Time Trials (CTT) certificate. Wiggins should be easy to spot as he is expected to wear his world champion’s rainbow jersey, which came with winning the World Time Trial title in Ponferrada, Spain in 2014.

City Road Club’s chairman Ken Bateman said: “We are overjoyed and honoured to have Sir Bradley Wiggins riding on our local course. We had heard rumours that he might consider taking part, so when we got his application we were delighted. Ours is one of the quickest courses in the country on the right day. If it’s wet or windy, it might not happen, but the forecast is good so he has every chance of recording a time around 17 minutes.”

Wiggins and his time-trial competitors will reach North Ferriby before returning west-bound towards South Cave. Once they have crossed the finish line on the A63, they will continue cycling back to the event hub at a village hall in nearby Newport.

Safety is a significant concern: in 2013, a rider was killed when he was struck by a car towing a caravan midway through an equivalent time trial event close to South Cave.