Annemiek van Vleuten undergoes surgery after top ten finish in World Championship road race

The Dutch rider came down 90km from the finish but still finished seventh

Annemiek van Vleuten has undergone surgery after a crash at the World Championships (Photo by Luca Bettini-Pool/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten has undergone surgery for a broken knee sustained on the way to a top ten finish in the women’s World Championship road race.

The Dutch rider came down 90km from the line on Saturday, but still rode to a seventh place finish.

Her compatriot Anna van der Breggen won the race in spectacular fashion, riding clear of her rivals into a 39km solo win.

Van Vleuten, who was crowned time trial world champion earlier in the week, said recovery could take up to four months.

>>>Five talking points from the 2018 Worlds men’s road race

Posting on Twitter, van Vleuten said: “Operation done. Everything fixed again: no bones flying around in my knee anymore.

“My leg will be in a brace for at least our weeks. No bending of my knee, no walking etc, so the bones can grow together again.”

The big crash happened 90km from the finish, on the approach to the Gnadenwald climb.

Britain’s Dani Rowe also came down in the crash.

Posting on her website after the finish, van Vleuten said she does not remember how the crash started, but recalls telling her mechanic she thought her race was over.

See more

But the 35-year-old climbed back on and was able to rejoin her rivals.

She said: “I felt at that moment I could only supply power on one leg.

“I did not feel right at all, but it was the situation and that’s what you have to do.

“I told all the girls that I was no longer good and that I was cycling with one leg, but I actually did not have much pain.”

After recovering from the crash, van Vleuten said she believed she could still compete for the win.

See more

But van der Breggen went clear and took the win, while van Vleuten finished an astonishing seventh despite her broken knee.

She added: “For me there was is bitter disappointment about the race.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, because we hardly ever encounter such a climbing course at a World Championship.”

Van Vleuten said she could not walk after the finish and had to use a wheelchair.

Part of her knee had broken off and the joint had also been dislocated.

She added that she has been forced to cancel a holiday and a training camp in Colombia in December.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.