Vos’ touching gesture for Annemiek van Vleuten

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A day after the Olympic road race, which saw her teammate and compatriot Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv, the Netherlands) take gold in a three-woman-sprint, Marianne Vos chases after fellow cyclists in the Olympic village, holding two orange papers in her hand.

Vos had a bad night’s sleep on Sunday night, with the mixed emotions of Van der Breggen’s win and the horrible crash just kilometres before of her other compatriot and former teammate Annemiek van Vleuten.

Vos is seeking consolation messages for Van Vleuten, who’s still in hospital with a severe concussion and three spinal fractures. She stayed in intensive care for at least 24 hours.

“After she crashed, she was on her own in a Brazilian hospital,” Vos tells Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “She was well aware of the fact she just lost Olympic gold. We were all very happy to hear that she was doing okay, but all she felt was disappointment.”

Annemiek van Vleuten on the attack.
Annemiek van Vleuten on the attack.

Arriving back in the Olympic village after the road race, Vos and Van Vleuten had a little chat over the phone. “The fact she missed Olympic gold will haunt her for some time to come. It’s a disappointment, a big pain that has to wear off slowly. Not a single word or gesture could take that away,” says Vos.

The heartfelt messages on Vos’ orange papers can only soften the pain a little. The Polish women write down  “You were the star of this Olympic road race”, while Mara Abbott (Wiggle-High5, USA) confesses that she was “proud to have been in the lead with you in this race”.

Vos initially thought it was Anna van der Breggen who had fallen. When she saw Team NL head coach, Johan Lammerts, running towards the scene of the accident with his hands raised in the air, she knew it had been a serious crash. “I looked him in the eye and could see she was in a worrying state.”

Lammerts and doctor Robert Kempers reached Van Vleuten minutes after her crash. She was already conscious by then. “She was mumbling something, but I couldn’t hear what she said,” says Lammerts. “Robert [Kempers] was with her in the ambulance, where she regained full consciousness.”

Nu.nl reports that Van Vleuten will have to remain in hospital for now, but Chief physician Cees Rein van den Hoogenband gave a comforting update: “She is recovering well. An MRI scan showed she has no further injuries, but what she needs now is to rest.”

Van Vleuten posted her current look on Twitter today. Although it shows a bruised face, it’s good to see her smiling again.

The CyclingTips and Ella teams wish Annemiek all the best for a full and speedy recovery.

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