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Shirin van Anrooij recovered from arm laceration and set to start Cyclo-cross Worlds

Shirin Van Anrooij
Shirin Van Anrooij wins junior women's world title at UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Shirin van Anrooij thought her cyclo-cross season was over after she suffered a deep laceration to her arm reportedly caused by a disc brake in a crash at the World Cup in Tabor in November. The Dutch rider, who won the inaugural junior women's world title last year, confirmed to Cyclingnews that she will start the under-23 race at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships set to take place from January 30-31 in Ostend, Belgium.

"You will see me at Worlds," van Anrooij told Cyclingnews from her the Trek-Segafredo team training camp in Italy last week. "I leave training camp on Thursday and I will be racing at the two cyclo-cross races at home including the World Cup in Overijse, and then the week after I will be racing Worlds."

The final Word Cup of the season will take place in Overijse on January 24. Due to COVID-19 health restriction, the World Championships will only host events for the U23 and elite categories from January 30-31. The under-23 men and elite women will race on the Saturday, January 30, followed by the under-23 women and elite men on the Sunday, January 31. No fans will be allowed to attend.

"If it is going to happen, I will be there, and I really hope that it does because I wanted to race Worlds and that has been my main focus for the cyclo-cross season. If everything goes to plan with my arm and knee, then I will be at the start line."

Van Anrooij races cyclo-cross for the Baloise Trek Lions team and on the road for the Women's WorldTeam Trek-Segafredo, which is currently hosting a team camp in Italy.

In November, Van Anrooij, the reigning junior world champion, was taken to hospital in České Budějovice with injuries sustained in a crash during the elite women's race at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Tabor. The worst of her injuries was a deep wound across the width of her arm and she had to undergo two rounds of surgeries to correct the laceration that she believes was caused by a piece of disc brake. The first surgery was done at the hospital in České Budějovice and the second was done at the hospital in Herentals, Belgium.

"No one really understands what happened, and I don’t either," Van Anrooij said. "There were two girls riding into each other in front of me, in the first row, and they crashed. I had no where to go and went straight over them. I crashed really hard on my belly but I probably touched a disc brake and it went straight into my arm. I had two surgeries and it took a long time to recover. It was just unlucky and it could have happened to anyone. It never happens that someone has such a big cut from a disc brake."

Van Anrooij said that her recovery has taken a lot longer than she expected. She initially received 25 stitches and thought the wound had healed after the first surgery but she developed an infection deep in the muscle and had to undergo a second surgery to remove the infection.

"At first I thought it would heal well," she said. "I got back from the Czech Republic to a hospital in Belgium to have the second surgery. They discovered an infection deep in my arm and they had to re-open it to clean the whole arm. It took a lot longer than expected and with the antibiotics, too, it could have gone smoother than it did."

Van Anrooij, now 18, will compete in the under-23 women's race at the World Championships where she hopes to secure her second rainbow jersey in her short but successful career so far. 

"I’m in the under-23 category now, and I'll be racing for the rainbow jersey."