Coryn Rivera’s Tour of Flanders came to an abrupt end after she crashed on an early cobbled sector. The 2017 winner avoided any broken bones but was left with a painful elbow that eventually forced her to step off the bike.
Walking through the centre of Oudenaarde, watching the women’s race on her phone as it reached its crescendo, Rivera had her right arm in a sling. She told Cyclingnews that it was just a precaution and that she hoped they would be able to get to the source of the pain soon so that she would be ready for the Ardennes Classics in two weeks’ time.
“I went to the hospital here [In Oudenaarde -ed] and nothing is broken, but something is definitely not right. We’ll just keep looking into it and try to get it back to 100 per cent,” she told Cyclingnews.
“Hopefully it’s not [too serious] and we can give it some time. I have a couple of weeks before the Ardennes. It’s a good period to recover.”
The incident happened on the opening stretch of cobbles, Lange Munte, less than 10 kilometres into the race. A slowing in the bunch ended in Rivera going down before an unwelcome pile-on ensued. Though she initially felt fine and continued the race, a sharp pain in her elbow told her that something wasn’t right and she stepped off.
“It was a stupid crash, but I guess you’ve never seen a smart crash. They’re all kinda dumb,” she said.
“There was a weird slowdown in the bunch and we were together in the back, me and the team, and I just ran into the riders in front. I crossed wheels and I tried to put a foot down and my arm out to catch myself, but it was just too slippery on the cobbles and then everybody piled onto me and I was at the bottom of a pile-up.
“I felt fine after that and then I went to reach for a bottle and I felt a sharp pain in my elbow. I don’t know if it had something to do with the crash or something else. It’s something that we still need to figure out.”
After winning the Tour of Flanders during a breakthrough first season with Team Sunweb, the last two editions of the race have not gone as she’d hoped. Rivera is trying to keep a positive mindset and chalk the whole thing up to a learning experience on how to deal with setbacks.
“I think I learned a lot, last year was a big learning year for me, having to deal with adversity,” Rivera told Cyclingnews.
“I think that my first year was a dream come true here. Now, I’m learning a lot about how to deal with things like this. I know it’s normal and there are just ups and downs in life, and I just keep moving forward. I’ll recover from this and move onto the next one.”