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Italian rider Claudia Cretti in coma after high-speed crash at Giro Rosa

Fears that 21-year-old may have suffered brain damage after hitting guard rail at 90 kilometres an hour

Italian rider Claudia Cretti is in a coma after her head hit a crash barrier when she crashed at 90 kilometres an hour on a descent during yesterday’s Stage 7 of the Giro Rosa.

In a statement, the 21-year-old’s team said that there are fears that she may have sustained permanent brain damage as a result of the crash.

The rider, who comes from Bergamo in Lombardy, was taken to hospital in Benevento near Naples and was transferred to a specialist neurosurgical unit once doctors realised the seriousness of her condition.

After she underwent surgery yesterday evening, her team said: “Claudia’s condition now is very serious and her prognosis is confidential, however it is feared she has brain damage.”

At lunchtime today, the team published on its Facebook page a medical update received from the hospital where she is being treated.

The statement said that her injuries included a “severe cranial trauma” resulting in multiple bruises and haematomas on her brain.

Her condition was described as “critical but stable,” with the hospital adding that measures to prevent her sustaining further brain damage had been implemented including placing her in a pharmacological coma and an induced state of hypothermia.

Among those sending messages of support on Twitter to Cretti was Fabio Aru, currently third overall and leading the mountains classification at the Tour de France, who wrote: “come on Claudia, don’t give up!”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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