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Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla) was left with multiple fractures and a collapsed lung following a training accident on Thursday. The 32-year-old was hit by a car while training in Livigno, Italy.
“The car did not see me coming and took a left turn,” van Vleuten explained in a statement issued by Bigla. “I was riding fast because I was doing time trial training. My boyfriend Tom was luckily with me and saw it happening. The helicopter brought me to Sondalo hospital. I had an examination and they found a broken collarbone and three broken ribs. There was also risk for pneumothorax and I had surgery for that today to inflate the lung again.”
Recovering in hospital in Italy, van Vleuten will return home to the Netherlands when she is given clearance by her medical team.
Van Vleuten’s last race was the Giro Rosa in early July where she won the opening prologue for the second year running to pull on the coveted maglia rosa. Following her personal success, the Dutchwoman played a critical support role for teammate Ashleigh Moolman, who ultimately finished in fourth place overall in the Italian Grand Tour. Van Vleuten has been in Livigno for a training camp in preparation for upcoming late season ambitions.
“I am very disappointed because I was preparing very well for the last part of the season and was feeling great,” van Vleuten noted. “On the other hand I was very lucky that it was only this and I am still alive. This is something I can handle and will be ok and take some time out.”
Van Vleuten has said that a recovery plan will be made with her doctors upon her return to the Netherlands. Given the injuries she detailed, her participation at the Road World Championships in Richmond in late September seems questionable.