Annemiek van Vleuten has a hard fall during a dramatic mixed relay for the Netherlands: “My front tire exploded”

The Dutch team was one of the top favorites for the World Cup in the mixed relay in advance. Especially due to the presence of Van Dijk and Van Vleuten, who are among the world top in time trial. Van Dijk was crowned world champion against the clock for the third time on Saturday in Wollongong. Van Vleuten is the reigning Olympic champion and was twice the best at a World Time Trial Championship.

But for the men – who started first – things went wrong when Bauke Mollema had to drop out after three kilometers with chain problems. It’s up to the women to make up for a 40-second gap on Switzerland. But Orange’s dramatic day was not over yet, because immediately after the change, Van Vleuten lost control of her bike and crashed hard. Van Vleuten sustained a (stable) fracture to the elbow. It is still unclear whether she can compete in the women’s road race on Saturday.

Ellen van Dijk and Riejanne Markus drove on without Van Vleuten, hoping to get another medal. That didn’t work anymore. The Netherlands came fifth.

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Annemiek Van Vleuten: “I’m worried about Saturday”

“My front tire exploded”, a very disappointed Van Vleuten told the NOS afterwards. “I couldn’t do anything about that. Suddenly I was on the ground. I just have a lot of pain and my elbow doesn’t feel right. My whole side is bruised. We quickly go to the hospital to take pictures. I’m not recovered anyway. I’m worried about Saturday. I wasn’t waiting for this. I can’t believe what happened.” A few hours later, the Dutch cycling federation announced that a fracture had been detected in Van Vleuten’s elbow (read more).

Mathieu Van der Poel: “Just about everything that could go wrong, went wrong”

“Just about everything that could go wrong, went wrong,” said Mathieu van der Poel. “We lost Bauke Mollema very quickly. We then tried to make the best of it. In itself I do have the efforts that I could have made. It makes a big difference to ride with three instead of two riders. Not only the shorter turns in the lead, but you also sit longer in the wheel to recover. Those other countries also have three top time trialists, so the loss of one rider cannot be made up for. And then things immediately went wrong for the women. I hope that Annemiek is not injured too badly, because that looked quite an ugly fall. That pretty much sums up the day. All in all, this is a bad day. It is a pity. We definitely had a squad to battle for a medal. There’s nothing you can do. Bad luck, that can happen in top sport.”

Bauke Mollema: “Bad luck at the worst moment”

“I believe my chain fell off on the outside,” said unlucky Bauke Mollema. “I tried to put it on by hand… it didn’t work. I don’t know how it happened. Just at the worst time too. We were driving 65 kilometers per hour. We did another bike change and there was doubt whether the others would wait. But if the speed is that high, you lose so much time with it. Mathieu and Daan waited a little while, but then the national coach said on the radio to continue.”

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Annemiek van Vleuten hard fall dramatic mixed relay Netherlands front tire exploded

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