Reconstructive surgery places Contador’s season in doubt

Reconstructive surgery places Contador’s season in doubt

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Alberto Contador’s spring campaign and even his shot at a third victory in this summer’s Tour de France could be in doubt following doctors’ decision to perform three hours of delicate and complex reconstructive hand surgery on Thursday.

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Fontana Fuentes examines an X-Ray of Contador’s afflicted hand.

Contador, winner of all three of cycling’s grand tours, sought medical help after a less-than-spectacular performance in last weekend’s edition of Criterium International.

“Alberto concedes it wasn’t allergies that caused him to lose time on Saturday,” director Alain Sanquer said in a release issued following Contador’s surgery. “He was suffering real and deep pain in his right hand … unable to operate his brakes, his shifters or even to hold his bars. That made climbing nearly impossible. The problem wasn’t allergies, it wasn’t his legs; it was the hand.”

Madrid hand surgeon Ernesta Maria Fontana Fuentes said Thursday that the two-time Tour de France winner has been suffering from the problem for months, but it only recently became serious enough to put the rider’s season in doubt.

Fontana told reporters that four months ago she and her colleagues had originally prescribed physical therapy for lingering pain in Contador’s thumb and index finger, “but the problem really became serious during Paris-Nice. At one point, it became agonizing.”

Fontana said her diagnosis revealed extensive ligament damage in the area of Contador’s right index finger and thumb.

“It was a mystery,” Fontana said. “Alberto had no major accidents in training or while racing. There was no direct trauma.”

“We spent time with specialists,” Fontana said. “I had even contracted with Jean Wauthier, the ergonomics genius at the UCI, to see if we could find any cycling related movements that would cause such a strain. In the end, it had nothing to do with cycling – or at least the motions one generally associates with cycling.”

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