Rio Olympics 2016: Cycling leader in horrific crash

The Dutch cyclist involved in a horror crash that marred the women's road race at the Rio Olympics is reportedly in intensive care in hospital.

Annemiek van Vleuten, was leading the race when she crashed just 11km from the finish line on the final descent, flying over the handlebars after her front wheel came out from underneath her in the slippery conditions.

She crashed head first into the gutter, with television cameras quickly cutting away as she lay prone on the side of the road.

Initial reports suggested that she was conscious and responsive in hospital, but it has now been reported that the Dutchwoman has concussion and three cracks in her spine.

Van Vleuten's compattriot Anna van der Breggen won the race in a tense sprint finish, with Sweden's Emma Johansson claiming silver, and Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy taking out the bronze.

Van de Breggen told media after the race the crash left her shaken.

"I was pretty shocked, I think she crashed hard. I realised I was at the front of the team, so I had to chase. I did it for Annemiek. To see her like that, it's a big shock," she said.

Van Vleuten was part of a seven-woman break at the 39km mark.

New Zealand's Linda Villumsen, who was among the early leaders, made an initial attempt to chase the breakaway, but didn't have the numbers to go with her. Villumsen finished in 23rd place, about five minutes behind the leaders.

The road race course has been heavily criticised, with former British cyclist Chris Boardman telling the BBC there were stretches where crashing would be extremely dangerous, due to the road furniture and wet conditions.

- NZ Herald

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