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Pozzovivo vows to return from crash: My career cannot end like this

Veteran Italian star recounts his near-fatal collision and promises to mount a comeback to competition despite heavy cost

FLORENCE (VN) After undergoing six hours of surgery following a head-on collision with a car, Italian riderDomenico Pozzovivo(Bahrain-Merida) promised to return to racing.

Pozzovivo, fifth overall twice in the Giro dItalia, was training on Sunday near his home of Cosenza for the Vuelta a España when a car traveling in the wrong lane around acurve hit him. Among other injuries, he suffered a fractured leg and arm, and a punctured lung.

Our glances met just before the incident, Pozzovivo told Italian newspaperLa Gazzetta dello Sport. I realized that the impact was inevitable and I just thought not to hit my head.

The 19-year-old driver immediately tried to help 36-year-old Pozzovivo at the scene in Italys southern region of Reggio Calabria. Pozzovivos friend arrived soon after on his bike and called Pozzovivos wife. Then the ambulance came for him.

Hes taken a good hit, Team Doctor Emilio Magni explained. Domenico has fractures in his clavicle, humerus and ulna of the left arm; the right tibia and fibula.

The fractures of the humerus, ulna and tibia are open. At this time and with this clinical snapshot, it is relatively serious. There is a lung contusion, but at the moment there are no ventilatory problems.

On Wednesday, Pozzovivo will be airlifted from the south of Italys boot up north, just over the border in Lugano, Switzerland, where he will receive specialized care for his injuries.

On Tuesday, Pozzovivo recounted the injury to reporters, saying he was awake for the entirety of the horrific collision.

I never lost consciousness and I remember everything. I had a lot fear, Pozzovivo said. I found myself in front of a car coming in my lane. The guy who was driving didnt see me.

After the collision, Pozzovivo said he knew his injuries were serious.

I didnt look at the wounds because I was afraid to see them, he continued. The boy was shaken. He feared for me and for himself. But I looked at him and told him: Look what you did! You ruined me. You ended my career.

I dont even know how I did it and where I found the strength [to yell at him], because even my breathing had stopped. But I wanted it to be a warning: Im broken. It is not right.

Pozzovivo has had support from the cycling peloton, including his star teammate Vincenzo Nibali who lives in Lugano. Many followers in Italy immediately thought ofMichele Scarponi, who died after acar struck himin 2017.

Pozzovivo had just finished 12th overall in the Tour of Poland behind winnerPavel Sivakov(Ineos). He was due to lead Team Bahrain-Merida at the Vuelta a España starting next week, aiming for stage wins or the overall. Like Chris Froome (Ineos) who fell training, Pozzovivos season is finished. However, he promises a return.

Now Im already thinking that my career cannot end like this. I will come back, he said. You will see that I will make it.

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