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The Dutch star slammed down hard on her right side after losing control of her bike just moments after starting the second half of the mixed relay race.
Van Vleuten was stunned from the impact, and did not continue in the race. She later walked out of the venue with the help of two team staffers.
“On my way to the hospital for X-rays of my right side. All bruised and especially worried about my right elbow/arm,” Van Vleuten wrote on social media.
Van Vleuten later posted an update, saying she wasn’t sure what caused her to abruptly lose control of the bike.
“I don’t know what happened but looks the tire exploded after I did hit the side of the road,” she wrote. “So that was not the problem. Something caused I got out of balance, but what ever caused it: it will not help or change my situation. Now in the hospital.”
Van Vleuten is the favorite for the elite women’s road race Saturday, and team officials later confirmed Wednesday she suffered a fracture to her elbow.
A decision on whether she can race Saturday will be made in the coming days based on how painful riding the bike will be for Van Vleuten, one of the top favorites for the lumpy road race.
Van Vleuten was on the second wheel when she abruptly swung left, struck the curb and race barriers, and slammed on her right side.
Teammate Ellen Van Dijk, riding behind her, bunny-hopped and rode over the rear wheel of Van Vleuten’s bike.
#Wollongong2022🌈Desafortunada caída de Annemiek van Vleuten 🇳🇱 nada más salir el trío femenino neerlandés en la CRE mixta. Se ha golpeado la rodilla y se ha puesto en pie con gestos de dolor. Esperamos que no tenga consecuencias de cara a la carrera en línea del sábado. pic.twitter.com/cZhdUgNHP6
— Ciclismo a Fondo (@Ciclismoafondo_) September 21, 2022
Van Vleuten’s tire was visibly off her front wheel in the aftermath of the crash, and she later corrected earlier statements that she thought he tired had exploded just before crashing.
A stunned Van Vleuten sat upright as she tried to make sense of what had just happened.
The favored Dutch team were already on the back foot Wednesday after Bauke Mollema suffered a mechanical, and then Van Vleuten crashed.
The team still finished in the top-5, riding with only two finishers in both the men’s and women’s segments.