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Contador beats pain to retain lead of race

By Robert Jones

Alberto Contador rode through the pain of a dislocated shoulder to hold on to the race lead on yesterday's longest stage of the Giro d'Italia, which was won by Diego Ulissi.

The Spaniard suffered the injury in a big crash in the frantic sprint finish on Thursday's sixth stage but started the 264km seventh from Grosseto to Fiuggi.

Contador, who crashed out of the 2014 Tour de France before returning to win the Vuelta a Espana, finished the stage in the bunch as Lampre-Merida's Ulissi won.

Today's eighth stage is the 186km from Fiuggi to Campitello Matese.

"It was a hard day for me but I'm happy because I got through it," said Spainard Contador.

"After three-and-a-half or four hours, I didn't know what to do with my arm, but I hope and trust that, as the days past, it will improve. (Saturday) is a stage that I was looking forward to. Now it's going to be hard for me, and I expect attacks.

"Now I'm just thinking of resting and putting ice on my shoulder. Then we'll see."

Ulissi, who returned from his ban in March after testing positive for elevated levels of Salbutamol, said: "There are some big sprinters here so I knew I wasn't the number one favourite today.

"I went early because I was afraid of getting caught from behind."

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