Dutch cyclist crashes on treacherous descent

Still frame from NBC Olympics

Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands was conscious, responsive and on her way to the hospital after a spectacular crash in the women’s Olympic road race Sunday that helped countrywoman Anna van der Breggen claim gold.

You can watch the awful crash here. 

Still frame from NBC Olympics
Still frame from NBC Olympics

Van Vleuten was leading American rider Mara Abbott down the Vista Chinesa climb when she came to the last hard corner. She appeared to lock up her breaks and skidded into the curb on the outside of it, crashing to the ground in an eerily similar scene to the men’s race the previous day.

The same descent claimed several riders in the men’s race, though it appeared that van Vleuten was the only rider in the women’s field who crashed hard on it.

The race’s winner, Anna van der Breggen, helped track down American rider Mara Abbott within sight of the finish line, then out-sprinted Sweden’s Emma Johansson to win gold.

Van der Breggen, Johansson and Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy worked together over the final flat stretch to catch Abbott, who had shattered the field on the hard climb up Vista Chinesa. They were just 100 meters from the line when they swept by her, and van der Breggen moved quickly to the front and had enough finishing kick to make it back-to-back golds for the Netherlands.

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