Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) attacked solo over the Alto Barx and not even a crash on the final descent could stop her from winning the opening stage at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana on Thursday. Movistar Team confirmed to Cyclingnews that Van Vleuten has not sustained serious injuries but has bruises on her right elbow and leg.
"She’s mostly fine," a Movistar Team representative wrote to Cyclingnews. "Some bruises at her right elbow and leg, but she’s actually gone back to our hotel, 7km, by bike and she doesn’t seem bothered ... in good spirits."
Despite crashing, Van Vleuten crossed the line alone, 2:06 ahead of chaser Mavi Garcia (Ale BTC Ljubljana), and 2:21 ahead of the next group sprint won by her teammate Katrine Aalerud.
Van Vleuten was initially part of a late-race move with Garcia that ignited on the penultimate ascent of Alto Barxeta with 26km to go.
She managed to distance her rival and made a winning attack over the final ascent - Alto Barx - that peaked with 14km to go. On the long descent of the Alto Barx, Van Vleuten crashed, however, she didn't appear to suffer from serious injury.
Video footage shows Movistar's mechanic jumping out of their team's support vehicle to help Van Vleuten get back on a spare bike. After a push from her mechanic, Van Vleuten was back to racing with hardly a dent in her time gap over the main peloton in Grandia.
"A late scare for Annemiek van Vleuten, who still remains at the front near the end of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana stage 1 in Gandía. Can she make it?!" Movistar wrote in a post on Twitter along with the video footage of the accident.
Despite the accident, Van Vleuten said she enjoyed the stage and that she was pleased to have taken the day's win and the overall lead, but that Movistar had multiple cards to play during the four-day event.
"I am very happy to be in the Setmana Valenciana. I have enjoyed [the race] very much. I am not the team leader in this race. We will continue to play our cards," Van Vleuten said.
🚨 Caída de @AvVleuten (@Movistar_Team) en el descenso del puerto.Sigue en cabeza de carrera.#VCVF21 pic.twitter.com/C5ft1NZgwFMay 6, 2021
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