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Anna van der Breggen of Netherlands wins gold at Rio road race

US rider Mara Abbott caught with line in sight, Dutch rider van Vleuten crashes out when leading

Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands has won the Olympic road race in Rio, but her thoughts - and those of everyone watching - will be with team mate Annemiek van Vleuten, who crashed heavily when leading the race on the descent to the finish as she led the race.

Van Vleuten had got clear of a four-woman group on the climb to Vista Chinesa but on the twisting descent back down to the coast appeared to overshoot a corner and hit one of the concrete blocks that had been flagged as a safety hazard after crashes on the same section of the route during the men's road race yesterday.

The rider following her, Mara Abbott of the United States, safely negotiated the descent and had a 15 second advantage as she rode past Ipanema towards the finish on Copacabana beach, valiantly making a lone bid for glory as Poland's Rafal Majka had done in the men's race yesterday.

But she was caught with 150 metres left, and while Majka yesterday had the consolation of a bronze medal, Abbott finished off the podium as van Der Breggen outsprinted Sweden's Emma Johanssen and Elisa Borgo Longhini of Italy to the line, with Abbott coming in fourth.

Team GB's Lizzie Armitstead, runner-up to Marianne Vos in London four years ago, finished fifth as she led the second chasing group home 20 seconds behind the winner as she and the riders she was with proved unable to reduce the gap on the group that produced the medallists.

BBC presenter Clare Balding has reported this evening that van Vleuten is conscious and has been taken to hospital.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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srchar | 7 years ago
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A horrible crash for Annemiek van Vleuten, I winced as I watched it happening. I can't believe the course had head-sized concrete gutters running alongside it. I hope she makes a full and speedy recovery.

Yorky-M | 7 years ago
1 like

Mental descent in the last 10k when the organisers knew riders would take risks to win.

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