Dutch superstar Annemiek van Vleuten crashed out in spectacular fashion in Wollongong on Wednesday, breaking her elbow.
The Olympic and world champion, one of the biggest names at the UCI Road World Championships, came unstuck when her front tyre “exploded” at the start of the mixed relay team time trial.
The 39-year-old, who is now doubtful to line up in Saturday’s road race, tweeted: “Back from hospital Wollongong… Stable fracture elbow, no surgery needed. I am allowed to ride my bike, but depends on pain and need to be sensible. Hope I can sleep.”
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Van Vleuten’s crash overshadowed the mixed relay, with Switzerland winning gold, Italy the silver and Australia the bronze.
Continuing her tough week Down Under – after finishing seventh in the elite time trial on Sunday – Van Vleuten was sitting off the wheel of a teammate, only a few metres after setting off from the start ramp when she lost control and hit the ground heavily.
The Dutch ace was in shock, her right knee bloodied, with concerns for her right elbow as team staff rushed to her aid.
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Van Vleuten was limping noticeably as she walked away from the crash scene, later saying she was “all bruised” on her right side.
Three women and three men were part of each team in the relay on the 28.2km course. The Swiss, among the last teams to start, clocked 33 minutes, 47.17 seconds. Italy was 2.92 seconds behind.
Australia’s team of Georgia Baker, Alex Manly, Sarah Roy, Luke Durbridge, Michael Matthews and Luke Plapp finished third.
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