The 2016 Olympics have already thrown up a substantial amount of dramatic, shocking and bizarre moments. The cycling road races, in particular, have produced a mass of such incidents.
Yesterday saw the men’s race descend into chaos after a series of shock crashes involving favourite Vincenzo Nibali as well as Team GB’s Geraint Thomas.
The late descent has been causing prominent issues. The women’s road race has been no different. In fact, Dutch rider Annemeik van Vleuten suffered a horrific downhill crash while leading the event. It’s not one for the faint-hearted.
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Road race drama
The Olympic road race is never void of drama no matter where it is hosted.
However, the Rio 2016 edition has seen it attract prominent publicity, but for unfavorable reasoning. It appears that the majority of attention has been drawn towards the plethora of crashes triggered by the late downhill section.
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In both the men’s and women’s finals, crashes have seen leaders fall and groups wiped out.
Perhaps only Samir Ait Said’s gruesome leg-break in the gymnastics yesterday can rival some of the collisions.
The worst of them all has come today however with Van Vleuten coming off her bike and suffering a damaging landing.
The 33-year-old had been leading the race with just 10.9km to go and looked set to win gold for the Netherlands.
However, on a tight right-hander, her front wheel locked up and threw her over the handlebars. The Dutch star was propelled into a tree and lay motionless in the gutter after the crash.
Anyone who is squeamish should avert their eyes, but here is a video of the incident:
It has since emerged that Van Vleuten is ‘okay’ after the crash, although the extent of her injuries are unknown. If reports are to be believed, the 33-year-old has had a lucky escape from what was a serious episode.
Teammate Anna van der Breggen expressed her shock at cycling past her felled colleague, but said: "I was so shocked, I couldn’t race...then Emma said, let’s do it for Annemiek.”
Der Breggen did in fact take the gold in tribute of Van Vleuten - a fitting result. However, it must be hoped that the latter makes a quick recovery from a crash that could easily have panned out much worse.
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