A small ray of hope amongst the dark clouds that circled above the Netherlands’ mixed relay time trial at the Wollongong Worlds – Annemiek van Vleuten isn’t out of the weekend’s road race just yet.
A jammed chain for Bauke Mollema followed by a mechanical-induced crash for Van Vleuten put paid to the gold hopes of the Dutch, Van Vleuten left on the floor in pain and any medal now truly out of reach for the sextet who still managed fifth place.
“I have a lot of pain. We are off the hospital to have x-rays taken. My elbow doesn’t feel good. My side is bruised and battered,” Van Vleuten said at the finish, fighting back the tears. “My front tire exploded so we couldn’t do anything about it. Riejanne [Markus] left off and all of a sudden, I was on the ground. I only saw after what happened and that my tire exploded.”
Following the trip to the hospital, the Dutch federation confirmed that a “stable fracture” had been detected in the 39-year-old’s elbow. Van Vleuten is still able to ride her bike despite her condition and a decision will be made later in the week as to whether her participation in the elite women’s road race is possible.
“Annemiek is allowed to cycle with this stable fracture, but the question is of course with how much pain that will be,” national coach Loes Gunnewijk said. “We will see that in the coming days. We hope that Annemiek can still start, but that has to be justified.”