Rio 2016: Annemiek van Vleuten in intensive care with three 'small' fractures in her back after horrific crash

Van Vleuten suffered three fractured vertebrae and concussion in a nasty accident on the final descent of the Vista Chinesa

Jack de Menezes
Sunday 07 August 2016 20:47
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Rio 2016: Anna van Vleuten crashes out of race

Anna van Vleuten is in intensive care in a Brazilian hospital after suffering three "small" fractures in her back and concussion due to an horrific crash during the latter stages of the women’s road race, with the chef de mission of the Netherlands’ Olympic team confirming that she was alert after the high-speed accident.

Van Vleuten had broken away at the front of the women’s road race along with American Mara Abbott, and looked to have paved the way to victory when she broke away on the final descent down the treacherous Vista Chinesa.

As the pair made the turn at the top of the mountain to make their way back down, rain could be seen falling to make conditions even worse, and after seeing men’s road race favourite Vincenzo Nibali suffer two broken collarbones while leading on Saturday in a high-speed accident, riders were advised to take a conservative approach to the final descent.

However, with gold on the line, Van Vleuten gave it her all and looked to be heading for victory when she crashed heavily and impacted on the edge of the large gutters that line the roads in Rio de Janeiro.

As Abbott rode past to take the lead, Van Vleuten was seen motionless on the side of the road, and following Van Vleuten’s compatriot Anna van der Breggen’s eventual victory in the raise, all thoughts were with the injured Dutch rider.

The Dutch Cycling Federation took to Twitter to confirm she “appeared to be ok”, while the Netherlands’ chef de mission, Maurits Hendriks, said soon after the race finished that Van Vleuten was “conscious and on her way to hospital”.

A medical update, issued by a member of the Dutch Olympic Committee, confirmed Van Vleuten had "three small fractures in her spine, a heavy concussion and she has to stay on the intensive care overnight".

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