When Annemiek van Vleuten smashed against the asphalt in the Giro Rosa last Thursday, she knew it right away. “That wrist, it is broken. And the World Cup, I can forget that”
Two days later Van Vleuten hopes to defend her world title next Saturday in Imola, Italy. On Saturday she has had surgery, on Monday she will get a brace with which she can cycle again. “I am in the optimal recovery position, you never know”, she says cryptically.
“My doctors think very much in terms of possibilities, I was surprised about that”, says Van Vleuten in Langs de Lijn on NPO Radio 1. “But its not such a very complicated fracture. I look at it day by day and do everything I can to recover optimally”
Road race is an option
The place in the individual time trial at the World Cup has already been awarded to Ellen van Dijk by the KNWU, but Van Vleuten can still participate in the road race. “We will keep the option open”, let the cycling union know.
By Tuesday at the latest the federation has to pass on the names of the Dutch participants to the international cycling union UCI. As reigning world champion, Van Vleuten is always assured of a place to start. The Netherlands will start with seven riders anyway; if Van Vleuten can participate, there will even be eight of them.
Thursday evening, after the wrist fracture was put in the hospital, Van Vleuten was a lot more pessimistic about her chances of WC participation. Somewhere she kept the door open, at the same time she knew: its going to be an almost impossible story, Im assuming its not an option.
But still. After a not too difficult operation (“it was faxed in half an hour”) there was hope. Van Vleuten is at home, optimistic and has already sat on a bicycle in her house.
“Who knows, I may not be able to look into the future. On Monday I will consult with the doctors and a brace will be put on, with that brace I can cycle and then we will look further”
Here you can see images of the fall in the Giro Rosa:
Since the resumption of the cycling season, Van Vleuten has won the classic Strade Bianche, the European Championship, and on top of that she was on her way to taking the Giro Rosa. “I can say that I am in my best shape ever. I am able to get one step better every year”
She was looking forward to the world championship in the Italian Hills. “You dont have a course like this World Cup every year. Its a climbing course that is written all over me, actually more than last year. If the World Cup had been in Qatar now, I would just be sitting here chilling. Then I wouldnt have been so worried about it at all”
Watch last Thursdays interview below: