Cycling-Colbrelli says to retire, after being fitted with defibrillator

  • Cycling
  • Sunday, 30 Oct 2022

FILE PHOTO: Cycling - Paris-Roubaix - Roubaix, France October 3, 2021 Italy's Sonny Colbrelli celebrates winning the race REUTERS/Yves Herman

(Reuters) - Italian rider Sonny Colbrelli, who required emergency treatment after collapsing at the Volta a Catalunya race in March and was fitted with a subcutaneous defibrillator implant (ICD), said on Sunday he will retire from professional cycling.

Colbrelli was edged out by Australian Michael Matthews at the end of the opening stage of the race in Spain and fell to the ground. He needed defibrillation and was later diagnosed with an "unstable cardiac arrhythmia".

The 32-year-old Bahrain Victorious rider was treated in Spain before being moved to Italy where he had an operation to fit the ICD following a cardiovascular evaluation.

"Following the medical advice from his examinations, Sonny Colbrelli will retire from professional cycling after having a defibrillator fitted as a result of his collapse," Bahrain Victorious said in a statement.

Other elite sportsmen have returned to action after having an ICD implanted, most notably Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen, but Colbrelli said cycling was unlike soccer and the risks were much greater for him.

"It's a different sport; you ride on the streets," Colbrelli said in his statement. "You do not play it on a football pitch, where, in case of need, the interventions of the medical equipe can be timely.

"Their training activities take place in a limited area, while in the case of a cyclist, you often find yourself alone for hours on little-travelled roads."

Colbrelli said he also considered removing his ICD to take another path and compete again.

"But... removing the defibrillator is against the medical practice and means removing a lifesaver that is necessary as secondary prevention. A risk too high. A risk that I cannot afford to take," Colbrelli said.

In October last year, Colbrelli became the first Italian to win the Paris-Roubaix race, one of the "Monument" classics, for 22 years, a month after he claimed the European road race title.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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