RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 8, (APP/AFP) – Anna van der Breggen overcame the “shock” of seeing Dutch team-mate Ammemiek van Vleuten sprawled motionless in the road before going on to claim Olympic cycling gold.
Van der Breggen powered to victory in the women’s 137km Games road race around Rio on Sunday, but only after Van Vleuten crashed out spectacularly when leading with just 10km to ride.
“It really shook me when I saw Annemiek crashed in the road,” said the new champion.
“Annemiek was leading but I realised I was now first in the team. I was shocked.
“I focused and got in the race. This is the result of years of hard work, riding and training.”
Sweden’s Emma Johansson, who came second, added: “Annamiek’s crash was horrendous. We just want to know she is OK. The race was so tough.”
The crash came on the same hill that saw carnage in Saturday’s men’s road race, as Italian Vincenzo Nibali and Sergio Henao of Colombia both hit the deck in almost exactly the same spot, when they too were leading.
Van Vleuten looked to be heading for victory but tumbled head over heels in a stomach-churning fall that left her in a crumpled heap on the side of the road, motionless.