Rio cycling race leader in horrifying crash
A HORROR crash in the final descent of the women's road race has marred day two of the Olympics.
Leading rider, Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten, was involved in a sickening accident just 11km from the finish line, crashing 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.
Dutch media are reporting van Vleuten is now conscious and being treated my medical staff.
Her Dutch team-mate 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.
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.