Close to the world title, Annemiek van Vleuten fell this Wednesday just after the start of the mixed relay. Despite a broken elbow, the Dutch has not yet said her last word.
The world title was reaching out to him, but Annemiek van Vleuten's injury reshuffles the cards for the women's race of the World Cycling Championships on Saturday in Wollongong.
The Dutchwoman, who turns 40 on October 8, hoped to end a magical season on Australian roads in style during which she simply won the three Grand Tours of France, Italy and Spain.
But his improbable fall, Wednesday at the start of the mixed relay, makes his presence very uncertain. Transported to the hospital, she came out a few hours later with an X-ray under her arm showing a non-displacement fracture in her right elbow.
With her team, the 2019 world champion wants to give herself some time before deciding on her participation on Saturday. His fracture does not prevent him from pedaling but everything will depend on whether the pain is bearable or not.
On this subject, the Dutchwoman has already proven that she is quite tough on evil. In 2018, at the Innsbruck Worlds, she rode the last 100 kilometers with a broken kneecap to still finish seventh!
"If anyone can bounce back, it's Annemiek, we all know that“Insists her teammate Ellen van Dijk, world champion in the time trial last Sunday.
Still, Van Vleuten risks being at least diminished, which could upset the hierarchy in the overpowering Dutch team, victorious in four of the last five editions and where almost all have the pedigree to win on Saturday, starting with Demi Vollering second of the Tour de France, and the eternal Marianne Vos.
Van Vleuten's injury is also whetting the appetite of other nations, starting with defending champion Elise Balsamo and Elisa Longo Borgini's Italy.
This is also the case of France which, in the absence of Audrey Cordon-Ragot, victim of a stroke a few days before leaving for Australia, lines up two Top 10 of the last Tour de France with Juliette Labous and Avoid Muzic.
"The form is good and I hope that Saturday it will be very good. You have to aim high, why not the jersey (world champion's rainbow), even if it will be complicated“, advances Labous, 23, who will be the number 1 option for the Bleues on a selective course of 164.3 km which he likes with in particular Mount Pleasant (1.1 km with an average slope of 7.7%) to climb six times.
Departure at 12:25 p.m. local (02:25 GMT) for an expected arrival around 5:00 p.m. (07:00 a.m.).