Cycling: Giro overall leader Contador suffers dislocated shoulder, dimming title hopes

Spanish rider Alberto Contador during the sixth stage of the 98th Giro d'Italia cycling tour. -- PHOTO: EPA 
Spanish rider Alberto Contador during the sixth stage of the 98th Giro d'Italia cycling tour. -- PHOTO: EPA 

CASTIGLIIONE DELLA PESCAIA, ITALY (AFP) - Alberto Contador's Giro d'Italia challenge has been thrown into doubt after a crash on Thursday's sixth stage won by Germany's Andre Greipel left the race leader with a dislocated shoulder.

The Spaniard, who crashed during the sprint for the line but nevertheless held the overall lead, was in such pain with his left shoulder that he could not pull on the pink jersey at the victory ceremony.

"During the night, he will keep his arm immobilised as doctors have advised him," Contador's spokesman Jacinto Vidarte said, adding that the 32-year-old, who also suffered a knee injury, was determined to continue after the crash caused by a camera-waving spectator.

"He's going to try and start with a bandage to support his arm. He (Contador) said it (the knee injury) was nothing, there isn't a lot of pain. Nothing is broken. It's not a fall as serious as that at the Tour de France last year."

Contador was forced to pull of out the Tour de France last year after fracturing his tibia, but went on to win the Vuelta. The 2008 champion is attempting to become the eighth rider to achieve the double of the Giro and the Tour de France in the same year.

He holds a two-second lead on Italy's Fabio Aru with Sky's Richie Porte of Australia third at 20sec in the overall standings.

Contador crashed 200 metres from the line, along with other riders who were brought down in a wave provoked by Italy's Daniele Colli's fall on the other side of the road, which resulted in the Nippo rider suffering a broken arm.

Colli fell when he was struck by a camera zoom lens held by a spectator over the barrier, once again raising questions about security after the race was also interrupted by a collective crash on Sunday provoked by a spectator on a bicycle.

Lotto rider Greipel won a sprint for the line ahead of Italians Matteo Pelucchi and Sacha Modolo after the 183km ride through the Tuscan countryside. The German champion managed to cross the line just after the fall following 4hr 19min 42sec in the saddle, to finish ahead of the pursuing Pelucchi and Modolo.