Annemiek van Vleuten to ride World Championship road race with broken elbow

Dutchwoman crashed heavily during mixed relay team time trial on Wednesday

Anmemiek van Vleuten
Anmemiek van Vleuten scouting the 2021 World Championship course
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten will ride the World Championship road race on Saturday, after she was cleared to race by the Dutch federation.

The 39-year-old was the overwhelming favourite for the event, but crashed heavily and broke her elbow during the mixed relay team time trial. It put her participation in the race into doubt, but she has been given the green light today.

Van Vleuten won the rainbow jersey in 2019, and is looking to add a second to her impressive palmarés on Saturday. She crashed after losing control, veering to the left and sliding out just after coming down the start ramp for her leg of the TTT two days ago.

She suffered a fracture in her right arm, but was able to join her Dutch teammates for a training ride on Thursday. After further medical examinations on Friday, the Dutch federation confirmed that she will take to the start line in Wollongong.

"Very nice news from Wollongong: Annemiek van Vleuten will ride the road race at the World Championships on Saturday," a statement from the federation read. 

"A final test today showed that the recovery was sufficient to be able to participate."

After the training ride on Thursday, Van Vleuten appeared to play down her chances for the road race, as while she could ride, she could not stand on the pedals due to the pain from the broken elbow.

"I am super disappointed because of this," she said, with reference to the road race course's key climb of Mount Pleasant. "You cannot do this steep climb seated."

The Dutch journalist Thijs Zonneveld tweeted that Van Vleuten had told him: “Cycled today. Can do anything except stand on the pedals. I do need that on this course, especially with my style. Tomorrow see how it goes, then decide if I ride. My body is capable of strange things.”

She was due to lead a strong Netherlands squad in Saturday's elite road race, which contains Demi Vollering and Marianne Vos as well.

The Dutchwoman has had a record-breaking season, winning the Giro d'Italia Donne, the Tour de France Femmes, and the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta, an unprecedented triple. However, it could end quietly if the fracture affects her ability to ride.

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