Annemiek van Vleuten suffers horror crash in Olympic road race
Dutch rider sustains three back fractures and concussion
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 08/08/16 10:48am
Annemiek van Vleuten says she will be "fine" despite being in intensive care after breaking her back in three places in a horror crash during the women's Olympic Games road race on Sunday.
The 33-year-old Dutch rider had been leading the race on the descent from the final climb of the day but overshot a tight right-hand turn with about 11km to go and was catapulted over her handlebars.
She landed back-first on the top of a small wall running next to a deep roadside gutter and was left laying motionless as the riders chasing her came past.
After being taken to hospital for checks, the Royal Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU) confirmed that Van Vleuten was conscious and communicating but had sustained concussion and three fractures to her spine. It added that she would have to be kept in intensive care overnight.
The KNWU tweeted: "Update Annemiek van Vleuten: heavy concussion and three small fractures in her lumbar spine. She continues another 24 hours on i.c. She is conscious and talking."
Van Vleuten later tweeted: "I am now in the hospital with some injuries and fractures, but will be fine. Most of all super disappointed after best race of my career."
The accident came a day after Vincenzo Nibali, Richie Porte and Sergio Henao all suffered serious injures in crashes on the same descent.
Nibali sustained two collarbone breaks, Porte fractured his shoulder blade and Henao broke his pelvis.
Commentating for the BBC, former Olympic champion Chris Boardman said he was "angry" about the dangerous nature of the descent.