Griepel sprints to stage 6 win, Contador keeps Giro lead
CASTIGLIONE DELLA PESCAIA, Italy (AP) Overall leader Alberto Contador was ''optimistic'' he will continue riding in the Giro d'Italia despite dislocating his shoulder in a crash on the final sprint of the sixth stage on Thursday.
Contador was able to get up and finish the stage but was unable to lift his left arm on the podium to put on the pink jersey, and did not pick up the celebratory bottle of champagne - a sharp contrast to the previous day when he sprayed it cheerfully around after claiming the overall lead.
The Spaniard's attempt to become the first rider since Marco Pantani in 1998 to win the Giro and the Tour de France in the same year could be over in under a week.
He underwent 30 minutes of tests - including X-rays and an echography - his Tinkoff-Saxo team said, and his condition will be reevaluated in the morning.
''The doctors have recommended that I immobilize my left arm during the evening and night, while I try to move it a bit with the help of my other arm to promote the movement of the shoulder,'' Contador said. ''I will focus on this until tomorrow before the stage, where the doctors will come back to put on a layer of bandage for the race.
''I will try to start tomorrow on stage 7, as I have worked very hard ahead of the Giro. I will try to continue until the very last moment. I'm optimistic about the start tomorrow, but we have to wait until right before the start to see what happens, and how serious the effect of the crash is.''
The crash occurred in the final 300 meters as Daniele Colli hit the camera lens of a spectator leaning over the barrier and went down, bringing half the peloton down with him. Colli was immediately taken to a hospital and his team confirmed he broke his arm.
Contador and the other riders involved did not lose any time as it happened in the final three kilometers. He maintained a two-second lead over Italian title hopeful Fabio Aru, and a 20-second advantage over third-place Richie Porte.
Andre Greipel won the bunch sprint at the end of the 183-kilometer (114-mile) leg from Montecatini Terme to Castiglione Della Pescaia. The German was perfectly led out by Lotto Souda teammate Greg Henderson, and he had enough power to beat Matteo Pelucchi by a bike length.
Sacha Modolo was third.
''We (the team) have been working so long together and we are friends, which makes it easier to fight for each other and for the victories,'' said Greipel, who finished third in the second stage after opening his sprint too early. ''Everyone went for it today and deserved victory.
''The whole team did a great job from kilometer zero, and the last 3K went how we planned it on the bus this morning. Today, I didn't make the mistake to go too early, and I'm happy we finished it off with victory.''
Friday's seventh stage is the longest of the race, a mainly flat 264-kilometer (164-mile) leg from Grosseto to Fiuggi. The 98th Giro ends on May 31 in Milan.