Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) crashed hard during Paris-Roubaix Femmes and was unable to finish the race. She was taken directly to a nearby hospital for examination and was found to have fractured her pubic bone – located in the front of the pelvis – bringing her season to a premature end.
“Not a  happy end for me,” Van Vleuten wrote on Twitter. “Stupid crash. Just wanted to go to the finish safe… Result is broken pubic bone in 2 places and a long recovery staying in bed coming up. Bye bye holiday. Bye bye recharging. I have done this more often but energy is running out.”
Immediately after the crash, the 38-year-old was unable to walk, fearing a broken hip and shoulder. She was right about the seriousness of her injury, the next in a series of unfortunate events that have punctuated her otherwise glittering career.
A few hours after the race, her team confirmed their leader’s situation and celebrated her busy season, which has included victories at the Tour of Flanders, Clásica San Sebastian and the Vuelta, two Olympic medals and the lead in the UCI Women’s WorldTour standings.
“Not only you’ve been the best rider in the world in 2021,” the team said in a Twitter post. “Your example has led us, as a team + a whole organisation, way further that we could ever dream.”
The morning after the race, Van Vleuten tweeted again with an update to confirm she’d also fractured her shoulder, as she suspected.
Her tweet provided a link to her site where she’s quoted describing her experience of the inaugural women’s edition of the Hell of the North.
“I wanted to ride to experience it once,” Van Vleuten said. “They say ‘choose your battles’ and I already knew that this was not my battle.”
Van Vleuten was caught up in two crashes, first behind a spill that split the group, and then just before the Carrefour de l’Arbre, agonisingly close to the finish.
“I was behind two girls from Parkhotel Valkenburg. They slipped,” Van Vleuten explained. “As a result, I also had to brake and I fell, a fall in which I broke my pelvis in two places and also broke my shoulder. So at that time I was just riding to get to the finish, but now I’m really disappointed that I didn’t just get off, because I have to pay a high price for this.”