The Dutch cyclist who crashed horrifically during the Olympic women’s road race has tweeted that she will be “fine” after her bid for gold ended dramatically.
Annemiek van Vleuten was leading the Rio race when she came off her bike during a downhill attack, a sickening fall that made fractured her lower spine and put her in intensive care.
Despite the fears of millions who watched the crash, she later took to social media to signal she was recovering.
The fall overshadowed a dramatic conclusion to the battle that was won by her Dutch team-mate Anna van der Breggen. It was unclear soon after the race how serious her condition was.
It was later reported by Sky Sports News that van Vleuten had suffered three fractures in spine and was suffering heavy concussion, but remained in intensive care.
Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead, Britain’s first medallist of London 2012, finished fifth at Copacabana beach as van der Breggen won a dramatic gold.
Van Vleuten led with less than 11km to go, but crashed dramatically on the descent which also took Vincenzo Nibali down in the men’s race 24 hours earlier.
One-time Olympic champion Chris Boardman led the criticism of organisers - claiming not enough barriers were protecting the riders and arguing the race was not safe.
Coverage footage provided by the Brazilian broadcaster, and fed by the BBC, did not return to the scene of the crash - leaving viewers concerned about her condition
“It’s very hard to concentrate after a crash liked that. I’m angry about it. I saw the course and those edges were way past being technical.”
As the race ended, BBC commentator Simon Brotherton said:
“Like Chris, I’m very very concerned about the condition of Annemiek van Vleuten. We’ll bring you any news of Annemiek van Vleuten, who was leading the road race when she crashed on that descent, as soon as possible.”
Most watching in the UK were stunned
As were many professional cyclists