Dutch team reports that Annemiek van Vleuten is conscious after a heavy fall on the final descent of the women's Olympic Games road race
Annemiek van Vleuten crashed on the final descent during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games road race while in the lead.
Live television pictures showed that the Dutch rider fell very heavily at the side of the road on the Vista Chinesa descent.
The Royal Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU) reported immediately after the race on Twitter that 33-year-old van Vleuten was conscious and receiving medical attention.
“Van Vleuten conscious, transported to the hospital for further examination. KNWU doctor is with her,” the KNWU reported.
The UCI said that van Vleuten was able to communicate.
Dutch media later reported that van Vleuten suffered severe concussion and three fractures to her spine.
Van Vleuten herself took to Twitter on Monday morning to post a message herself: “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.”
Van Vleuten’s Dutch team-mate Anna van der Breggen took the victory and with it the gold medal. Emma Johansson (Sweden) took silver, with Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) in the bronze medal position.
Van der Breggen told the BBC that she had seen her team-mate at the side of the road: “It really shook me when I saw Annemiek crashed in the road. If you see her like that, it changes everything.”
On Saturday, British rider Geraint Thomas crashed in a similar situation on the same descent, appearing to get caught by one of the deep gulleys at the edge of the twisting road.
Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), Sergio Henao (Colombia) and Richie Porte (Australia) all crashed during the men’s race and fractured bones.
Former Olympic champion and BBC commentator Chris Boardman had surveyed the descent before the race and said: “We knew the descent was treacherous. I looked at that road furniture and thought, nobody can crash here and just get up. It is really bad and that is what we have seen today.”