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Van Vleuten, Mitchelton-Scott teammate Amanda Spratt and Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) were all part of a small group that sprinted to the finish line in Maddaloni. At a 90-degree turn with about 500 meters to go, all three riders crashed.
GC leader van Vleuten crossed the finish line with blood on her chin and only one hand on the handlebars. Both she and Spratt were taken to hospital to have their injuries assessed.
“The stage was going well for us, the breakaway went away early before it eventually came back on the final final lap,” said Andrew Smith, the team’s sport director. “There were some attacks over the last climb and we had Annemiek and Spratty in the small group off the front.”
“Then unfortunately they both came down in a crash inside the final kilometer, and have been taken to hospital for scans on their injuries,” Smith added.
The two were given the official finishing time of 3 seconds behind the winner, and on paper van Vleuten retained her lead in the GC overall.
Vos seemed to escape with the most minor injuries and told Dutch news outlet NOS that she felt fortunate given the speed at which the small group was traveling.
“We drove downhill,” Vos said. “It went really fast, we couldn’t avoid each other. I think it was a combination of stress before the last corner and wheels hitting. Then it was a big knock-off. I think I was lucky.”
Defending the rainbow jersey at worlds was atop van Vleuten’s goals for the season, and with the race in Imola only ten days away, her goal is now in jeopardy. Spratt was also confirmed to the Australian team and hoped for a podium finish.
Mitchelton-Scott and CCC-Liv have not confirmed the extend of their riders’ injuries.