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Van Vleuten breaks elbow ahead of world championship road race

Olympic champion Annemiek van Vleuten suffered a fractured right elbow in the time-trial mixed relay at the cycling world championships on Wednesday, casting doubt on her participation in the road race on Saturday. 

The Dutch had a disastrous mixed relay in Wollongong. Bauke Mollema’s chain came off during the men’s leg event leaving the women’s trio with time to make up.

Van Vleuten crashed heavily just seconds after rolling down the ramp with what looked like a mechanical problem.

Bruised and battered, she sat on the side of the road with cuts to her leg.

“Looks like the tyre exploded” she tweeted “after hitting the side of the road”.

Van Vleuten, who is 39, won the Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta to sweep the women’s major tours this season.

“Back from hospital” in Wollongong, she later posted above a picture showing her lying on her back as her two team-mates headed up the road.   

“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. At least I can already laugh about this picture.”

The Dutch Cycling Federation issued a statement saying a decision on whether she would participate in Saturday’s road race, in which she was a heavy favourite, would be made “later this week”. 

“Annemiek is allowed to race,” it said. “But the question is obviously how much pain she is in. We will see that in a few days.”

The time-trial mixed relay was won by the Swiss team powered by European champions Stefan Bissegger and Marlen Reusser.

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