Olympic champion Van Vleuten breaks elbow at cycling worlds

Olympic and world champion Van Vleuten had a mechanical problem at the start of the mixed team relay and crashed heavily.

FILE PHOTO: Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten.

FILE PHOTO: Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Olympic and world champion Van Vleuten had a mechanical problem at the start of the mixed team relay and crashed heavily.

Dutch star Annemiek van Vleuten crashed heavily at the world road cycling championships on Wednesday and sustained a broken elbow.

The Olympic and world champion, one of the biggest names at the Wollongong worlds, had a mechanical problem at the start of the mixed team relay.

The 39-year-old Van Vleuten, who is doubtful for Saturday’s road race, tweeted: “Back from hospital Wollongong... Stable fracture elbow, no surgery needed. I am allowed to ride my bike, but depends on pain and need to be sensible. Hope I can sleep.”

Her crash overshadowed the mixed team relay, where Switzerland won gold, Italy the silver and Australia the bronze.

Van Vleuten was second in the Dutchwomen’s pace line, only a few meters after setting off from the start ramp, when she lost control and hit the ground heavily. The Dutch ace was in shock and her right knee was bloodied as team staff rushed to her aid.

Van Vleuten was limping noticeably as she walked away from the crash scene.

Three women and three men were part of each team in the relay on the 28.2-kilometer course. The Swiss, among the last teams to start, clocked 33 minutes, 47.17 seconds. Italy was 2.92 seconds behind.

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