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Annemiek van Vleuten taken to hospital after world road cycling championships crash

Annemiek van Vleuten

Dutch Annemiek Van Vleuten pictured in action during the women elite individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships Cycling 2022, in Wollongong, Australia, Sunday 18 September 2022. The Worlds are taking place from 18 to 25 September. BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM (Photo by DIRK WAEM / BELGA MAG / Belga via AFP) (Photo by DIRK WAEM/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

WOLLONGONG, Australia — Dutch star Annemiek van Vleuten crashed heavily at the world road cycling championships on Wednesday, was taken to a hospital and learned she fractured an elbow but does not need surgery.

“I am allowed to ride my bike, but depends on pain and needs to be sensible,” she tweeted. “Hope I can sleep.”

The Olympic and world champion, one of the biggest names at the Wollongong worlds, had a mechanical problem at the start of the mixed team relay.

“Don’t know what happened,” she tweeted. “I got out of balance, but what ever caused it: it will not help or change my situation.”

Her crash overshadowed the mixed team relay, where Switzerland won gold, Italy the silver and Australia the bronze.

Van Vleuten was second in the Dutchwomen’s pace line, only a few meters after setting off from the start ramp, when she lost control and hit the ground heavily. The Dutch ace was in shock and her right knee was bloodied as team staff rushed to her aid.

Van Vleuten was limping noticeably as she walked away from the crash scene.

It was unclear whether van Vleuten will start in Saturday’s road race, where she is one of the favorites. Even without van Vleuten, the powerful Dutch combination managed fifth place.

Three women and three men were part of each team in the relay on the 28.2-kilometer course. The Swiss, among the last teams to start, clocked 33 minutes, 47.17 seconds. Italy was 2.92 seconds behind.

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