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Annemiek van Vleuten abandons Giro Rosa, out of World Championships with confirmed wrist fracture

ASSISI ITALY SEPTEMBER 13 Start Annemiek Van Vleuten of The Netherlands and Team Mitchelton Scott Pink Leader Jersey during the 31st Giro dItalia Internazionale Femminile 2020 Stage 3 a 1422km stage from Santa Fiora to Assisi 413m GiroRosaIccrea GiroRosa on September 13 2020 in Assisi Italy Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) has abandoned the 2020 Giro Rosa following confirmation of a broken wrist sustained in a crash during stage 7 into Maddaloni. Van Vleuten was leading the overall classification in an attempt to win her third consecutive title at the women’s Grand Tour when she crashed inside the final kilometre with her teammate Amanda Spratt, who sustained an injured right shoulder and concussion, and Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv).

The maglia rosa will pass to Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), who finished the stage in third, and was second in the general classification, 1:48 behind Van Vleuten. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) moves into second place 15 seconds behind the Polish rider.

Van Vleuten was selected to the Dutch national team to compete at the upcoming 2020 UCI Road World Championships where she was aiming to defend her title after a solo victory in Yorkshire last year. Due to the fractured wrist, however, she confirmed that she will not participate in the World Championships held from September 24-27 in Imola, Italy.

“I’m super sad it’s not possible to defend the maglia rosa, but even more, no worlds on a course that suits me. I’m disappointed that I cannot defend my world champion's jersey," Van Vleuten said. "I will go home now and I will have an operation on my wrist on Saturday."

The current world champion will return to the Netherlands on Friday where she will undergo an operation at Rijnstate hospital in Arnhem.

Following the crash, Van Vleuten and Spratt were taken to nearby hospital where doctors confirmed Van Vleuten sustained a fracture to her left wrist and Spratt a injured her right shoulder and has a concussion. 

Mitchelton-Scott confirmed that Van Vuelten and Spratt, who entered the race as co-leaders, were both forced to abandon with two stages to go. The race will conclude at the end of stage 9 in Motta Montecorvino on Saturday.

“With Annemiek there is a fracture in her left wrist," said the team doctor Stephen Baynes. "She had x-rays and a CT scan at the hospital and some treatment. She will now go back to the Netherlands and get a specialist’s opinion and will probably have surgery on Saturday.

“Amanda has got a stiff, painful right shoulder and a concussion, so we will be looking after her within the team for the next few days.

"I’d also like to thank the race doctors and ambulance crew at the race for their help.”

CCC-Liv confirmed that Vos sustained abrasions but no fractures.

Van Vleuten, Spratt and Vos, were part of a small group that sprinted to the finish line in Maddaloni, however, all three riders crashed along a straight road in the last 1km of the stage. 

Vos later confirmed that there was a touch of wheels in front of her and that she was the first to go down, followed by Spratt and then Van Vleuten, who went over her handle bars after hitting the curb side of the road and landed on her left arm and front side. 

Also involved in the crash were along with Mavi Garcia and Tatiana Guderzo (Ale BTC Ljubljana), Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT) and Omer Shapira (Canyon-SRAM).

“I was in a good position just going safe to the finish. It was a good day for us, I was never in trouble, we were in control, I was having fun on the bike until the last 500 metres when the girls crashed in front of me and I couldn’t avoid them," Van Vleuten said. “I felt immediately it was not good with my wrist, because I saw that my wrist was not straight, so I knew straight away that was not good."

Van Vleuten got up and back on her bike, and continued riding holding her handlebars with just one hand, and with abrasions on her left wrist, elbow and on her chin. The three riders crossed the finish line, although, Van Vleuten and Spratt took the worst of the fall and were later taken to nearby hospital for medical checks.

Van Vleuten was leading the overall classification with two stages to go, in an attempt to win her third consecutive overall title at the Giro Rosa. She moved into the overall race lead following her victory on stage 2.

At the start of stage 7, she was leading the overall classification by 1:48 ahead of Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) and 2:03 ahead of Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans). 

Niewiadoma will now start stage 8’s 91.5km race from Castelnuovo della Daunia to San Marco la Catola in the maglia rosa, with van der Breggen moving up to second overall and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) moving up into third place.

Van Vleuten has had a stellar season so far, and since winning the rainbow jersey last September, has gone on to win seven races this year including Omloop het Nieuwsblad, the three Spanish races in July, Strade Bianche and the European Championships.

She was expected to compete at the World Championships in one week's time after being named to the Dutch team that also includes Vos, Demi Vollering, Vollering, Anna Van der Breggen, Chantal Van den Broek-Blaak, Amy Pieters, Ellen van Dijk and Floortje Mackaij.

Spratt, who took silver at the 2018 Worlds road race and bronze last year, was named to the Australian national team for the Imola Worlds alongside Lucy Kennedy, Grace Brown and Sarah Roy, as well as FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope’s Brodie Chapman and Shara Marche (née Gillow) and the experienced Rachel Neylan (Cronos Casa Dorada).

“Right now my biggest feeling is just disappointment, not just for me but for Vleuty and the whole team. Our Giro was going perfectly, and it all fell apart in one instant," Spratt said.

“I think I am lucky I don’t have a broken bone but the shoulder is very painful still and with a concussion I have to take it easy now. I hope to recover as quick as possible and be back racing soon. Thanks to the team for the incredible support.”