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Sonny Colbrelli has started riding his bike again for the first time since suffering a cardiopulmonary arrest after the opening stage of the Volta a Catalunya last month.
Colbrelli is far from resuming training, but his Bahrain-Victorious team said that the Italian has been doing some leisure rides, recently, as his health improves.
The European champion collapsed after finishing second on stage 1 of the Volta a Catalunya and was hospitalized. Medical tests revealed that he’d had a cardiac arrhythmia that led to a cardiopulmonary arrest.
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Some 10 days after the incident, Colbrelli was fitted with a subcutaneous defibrillator (ICD), which monitors the heart’s rhythm and is designed to return a heart back to a regular rhythm if it detects it beating too fast or in an abnormal manner.
“Following Colbrelli’s successful operation on March 31st, the Italian rider has continued to undergo further medical check at the Sports Cardiology Unit of the University of Padua,” a Bahrain-Victorious statement said.
“The clinical examinations have shown further improvement of cardiovascular health clearing Colbrelli to start taking up leisure rides and light physical activity.”
It is not yet known when — or if — Colbrelli will be able to return to racing. The UCI has confirmed that it is monitoring the 31-year-old’s recovery, though it does not have any specific rules surrounding riders fitted with defibrillator devices.
Meanwhile, if Colbrelli is able to return to racing, he may be prevented from competing in his home country as Italian law prohibits athletes to compete in elite sport if they have been fitted with a defibrillator device.
His case is similar to that of Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen, who had an ICD fitted after collapsing during a game at the European championships. Erikson at the time was signed with Italian club Inter Milan and was unable to return due to the law. He now plays for the English team Brentford, in the Premier League.
Returning to elite-level sport is not an immediate goal for Colbrelli or Bahrain-Victorious at this time, however.
“The priority remains to continually monitor his condition with a close follow up in the coming months to secure his safety and resumption of regular life activities,” the statement said.