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UCI confirms it is monitoring the progress of Sonny Colbrelli

There is not a formal UCI policy on defibrillators as Italian rider continues with recovery.

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The UCI is closely watching the progress and recovery of Sonny Colbrelli.

The international cycling federation told VeloNews that it is in contact with the medical staff at Bahrain Victorious as the Italian rider recovers in Italy.

“The UCI is in contact with the team’s medical team in order to define the rider’s medical fitness,” the UCI wrote in an e-mail to VeloNews. “And there is no doubt that the conclusion of the medical expertise will be in line with the recommendations already published by the international associations of sports cardiology.”

Last week, Colbrelli was fitted with an internal defibrillator by Italian doctors after he suffered cardiac arrest moments after crossing the finish line of the opening stage of the Volta a Catalunya on March 21.

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Colbrelli recently posted messages on his social media channels that suggest he is recovering well, but his racing future remains uncertain.

“Finally at home, among the love of my family,” Colbrelli wrote on Instagram. “I’ll update on my way step by step. A big thank you to my Brahain-Victorious and [the] medical staff and everyone who took care of me in the last weeks. You were so precious.”

The 31-year-old Colbrelli, who holds an Italian racing license, enjoyed a breakout season in 2021, with victories at Paris-Roubaix and the European and Italian titles among eight wins.

An Italian law, however, does not allow athletes to compete in elite sports if they’ve been fitted with an internal defibrillator. The device is a type of pacemaker that sends a shock to reset the heart in the extreme case of cardiac arrest.

The UCI confirmed there is not a formalized policy on defibrillators, but said it will follow broader guidelines within the medical community.

“To date, the UCI has no specific medical fitness rules for this type of cardiac pacing device,” the UCI wrote. “The medical fitness rules for competitive cycling are in line with the recommendations of the main international societies of sports medicine and sports cardiology.”

So far, Bahrain Victorious officials have supported Colbrelli’s recovery and have yet to comment if or when he might race again. His health is the priority, one team official said, and it’s too early to speak about his sporting future.

“Sonny Colbrelli will continue the rehabilitation at home to guarantee privacy and peace for him and his family. Everybody at Team Bahrain Victorious encourages everyone to respect our athlete’s privacy and wishes him a prompt recovery,” a team statement read.