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Annemiek van Vleuten in intensive care after Olympic road race crash

Dutch rider sustained heavy concussion and spinal fractures while leading road race

Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten will reportedly spend 24 hours under observation in intensive care after crashing when leading  the Olympic road race on Sunday, won by her compatriot Anna van der Breggen.

> Van der Breggen wins Olympic road race

The crash happened on the final descent from Vista Chinesa, with van Vleuten going over her handlebars and landing head-first.

According to NOS.nl, van Vleuten, who rides for the Orica-AIS team, sustained severe concussion as well as three small fractures to bones in her spine. 

She was reported to be conscious and speaking, and according to the UCI  "continues to be under examination" although she has "no serious medical problem." It added that she was "conscious and could communicate."

Concerns about the safety of the descent were raised yesterday after Italy's Vincenzo Nibali broke his collarbone in the men's race yesterday, with Team GB's Geraint Thomas also crashing.

Chris Boardman, who is in Rio as an expert analyst for the BBC, said: "I am past commenting - I am angry about it."

"I went down and had a look at the course and saw those edges. We knew it was way past being technical; it was dangerous. The people who designed the course and said what safety features were needed had seen it as well and left it.

"We knew the descent was treacherous. I looked at that road furniture and thought, nobody can crash here and just get up. It is really bad and that is what we have seen today."

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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