Cyclist Has Cracks in Spine After Crash on Risky Descent

Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten tweets she'll be OK
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2016 5:03 AM CDT
Cyclist Has Cracks in Spine After Crash on Risky Descent
Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands at the starting line Sunday.   (Bryn Lennon/Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – A female Dutch cyclist suffered a horrific crash on a steep hill Sunday that left fellow cyclists and spectators fearing for her life. As it turns out, Annemiek van Vleuten cracked three vertebrae and sustained a concussion, reports Reuters. "I am now in the hospital with some injuries and fractures, but will be fine," van Vleuten tweeted. "Most of all super disappointed after best race of my career." Van Vleuten, 33, had been leading the women's road race when she lost control on a steep descent—the same stretch on which male cyclist Vincenzo Nibali of Italy crashed and broke both collarbones on Saturday.

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"It looked pretty bad," says Dutch teammate Anna van der Breggen, who ended up with the gold. "I thought she was dead. ... When you see something like that, it really does not matter anymore." Former British cyclist Chris Boardman says the course is way too risky. "I’m angry about it because I went down there and had a look at the course and saw those edges," he says, per the Guardian. “This was way past technical, this was dangerous, and it means people who designed the course have seen it and left it." (Read more Rio Olympics stories.)

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