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Sonny Colbrelli continues his recovery in Italy with his family as he faces an uncertain future about whether or not he will race again.
According to reports in L’Equipe and La Gazzetta dello Sport, Colbrelli might not be allowed to race again due to an Italian law that does not allow athletes to compete in elite sports after he was fitted with an internal defibrillator used to prevent cardiac arrest.
Last week, Colbrelli was discharged from the University Cardiology Clinic in Padua after the 31-year-old from Brescia was successfully implanted with a subcutaneous defibrillator.
The device is a type of pacemaker that sends a shock to reset the heart in the extreme case of cardiac arrest.
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In the wake of Colbrelli’s collapse at the finish line of the opening stage at the Volta a Catalunya on March 21 in Spain, Colbrelli underwent a series of tests and exams before doctors in Italy decided to implant a defibrillator.
Right now, Colbrelli does not face any specific restrictions as he continues with his recovery, and he was recently spotted watching a mountain bike race in Italy where he cheered on his brother.
However, his future as a professional bike racer remains uncertain.
Italian officials imposed a ban in 2017 for anyone with an inserted defibrillator to compete in elite sport.
It’s unclear if the racing ban would apply to races only in Italy or if Colbrelli, who races with an Italian license, would be banned from all elite competitions regardless of where a race might be.
VeloNews reached out to both the UCI and the Italian cycling federation for comment, but there was no immediate reply. The UCI has not yet publicly commented on the subject.
🏥 @sonnycolbrelli was discharged from hospital after having been through a successful operation.
— Team Bahrain Victorious (@BHRVictorious) April 2, 2022
The case is similar to Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest during a match in last summer’s European championships against Finland while competing for his national team.
Eriksen was revived on the pitch and, like Colbrelli, he was fitted with an internal defibrillator. At the time, Eriksen played professionally at Inter Milan, and he was forced to leave the team due to the Italian restriction.
He’s since joined the Premier League and has returned to competition without incident.
So far, Bahrain Victorious officials have supported Colbrelli’s full recovery and have yet to comment if or when he might race again. His full recovery 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.