BENEVENTO, Italy (VN) — Tinkoff-Saxo team doctors insist Alberto Contador is not receiving anything more potent than over-the-counter painkillers as he pedals into the Giro d’Italia following his painful shoulder dislocation in stage 6.
Tinkoff-Saxo team doctor Piet de Moor told VeloNews that Contador’s injury does not require anything more than bracing his left shoulder with tape and taking the over-the-counter painkiller Ibuprofen
“No, at the moment, nothing special. An anti-inflammatory is possible, like Ibuprofen,” De Moor said before the start of Sunday’s stage. “It is taped up now, and his arm is protected. So long as he doesn’t move the arm above 90 degrees, he should be OK. That’s the only problem he has.”
Contador’s high-profile injury, when he dislocated his left shoulder twice in the aftermath of the finish-line pileup in stage 6, has prompted questions if the Giro d’Italia race leader might be receiving medical allowances to treat the injury.
De Moor insisted that is not the case, and confirmed that there is no need for a TUE (therapeutic use exemption) to treat Contador’s injury.
“No, there is no use to ask for one,” De Moor said of a TUE. “The most important treatment is the immobilization of the arm, you don’t need a TUE for taping.”
De Moor also confirmed that Contador’s shoulder popped out twice. First, on the impact of the crash, and a second time, just as he was about to participate the post-stage protocol. Each time, Contador was able to slot his arm back into placement, but not without a certain degree of pain.
De Moor said the key to Contador’s recovery is to keep the arm braced at night, and not allow it to move upward or in any manner that could provoke another dislocation. The incident was the first time Contador dislocated his shoulder, and De Moor said he would likely not require surgery.
“If it stays out for a long time, you can cause damage to the ligaments and things are stretched out, maybe sometimes you would need surgery. When it pops back in immediately, then normally the damage is small,” he told VeloNews and another reporter. “During the night, it is immobilized, and then during the stage, he has it wrapped in tape. The important thing is to not move it more than 90 degrees upward.”
De Moor also strongly denied that Contador might be taking the controversial painkiller Tramadol, which many insist should be on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list for its potency.
“No, Tramadol only works in the brain to bring down the pain, that’s not a solution. … I don’t recommend it to any rider, and most of the peloton is thinking like this. It’s a strong painkiller. It’s working in the brain to kill the pain, and you always have side effects,” the doctor said. “People have been saying for a long time [it should be banned], I don’t know why it’s not on the list yet.”
De Moor said the team is hopeful Contador will be able to race as close as possible to his preferred time trial position next weekend in stage 14, and that the injury will not negatively impact his approach to the Tour de France later this summer.
“We haven’t thought about that yet. He has to get there first, and he has to try. Maybe he will make a test on the rest day. The time trial position, you know how narrow Alberto likes to be on the bike, that’s going to be another question,” De Moor said of the looming time trial. “It depends how much moves the arm. If he leaves it without moving, it will become a ‘frozen shoulder,’ so he has to begin to move it as well, but not higher than 90 degrees. After the race, we will have to see … For the moment, he is OK. He is sleeping OK as well, which is also very important.”
And finally, de Moor just laughed at the suggestion from some quarters that Contador could be over-playing the extent of his injury or trying to bluff his opponents.
“How can I prove it to them that it’s not true? I cannot prove it,” he said, shaking his head. “If you saw the crash, he really landed on his shoulder, and he felt it immediately. No, no, I don’t think he needs [to pretend].”