Van Anrooij recovering at home in Netherlands after Tabor cyclo-cross crash

The Netherlands' Shirin van Anrooij on her way to fifth place in the under-23 women's race at the UEC Cyclo-Cross European Championships in 's-Hertogenbosch, in the Netherlands
The Netherlands' Shirin van Anrooij on her way to fifth place in the under-23 women's race at the UEC Cyclo-Cross European Championships in 's-Hertogenbosch, in the Netherlands (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Junior cyclo-cross world champion Shirin van Anrooij (Telenet Baloise Lions) is now back home in the Netherlands, recovering from her injuries sustained in a crash soon after the start of the elite women's race at the opening round of the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup in Tabor, in the Czech Republic, last weekend.

Although it's been widely reported that her injury was as a result of her being cut by either her or a competitor's disc brake, Van Anrooij still doesn't really know what happened.

"I have no idea what I hit when I crashed," she told Dutch newspaper the Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant on Wednesday. "I got up to get back on my bike as soon as possible to continue, but then I saw my arm.

"I saw that my skinsuit was torn, that my skin was completely open and that it was bleeding terribly. Then I panicked," she said. "I ran the wrong way at first. I thought, 'Maybe those photographers can help me?' But they all looked away. I then went the other way, to the first-aid post, as quickly as possible.

"At first, they didn't know what to do with me," Van Anrooij continued. "They cut my suit open even further, which meant that I could see just how deep the cut on my forearm was, and which made me panic even more. And it took a long time before they gave me any form of pain relief."

When an ambulance arrived, she was taken to the hospital in České Budějovice, 60 kilometres south of Tabor, where she was operated on.

"It's a wound across the width of my arm, and not the length," she explained. "They put 25 stitches in it, and said that I was lucky that no muscles or tendons were hit. I haven't lost any strength in my arm or hand, but there is a numb spot near my wrist, and no one yet knows whether that will improve, and I also broke my ring finger."

Van Anrooij's parents immediately drove her to the hospital in Herentals, in Belgium, where Dr Toon Claes – who has treated a number of pro riders for past injuries, including Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel – also examined her.

"They said in Belgium that they had operated on me well in the Czech Republic, but had given me very old antibiotics. They couldn't find anything more about them on the internet, so I'm now being monitored to make sure that I don't get an infection."

Van Anrooij added that she hopes her arm heals as well as possible.

"I still have to look at it for the rest of my life," she said, but also added that she and her Telenet Baloise Lions team have decided together that she should take her time in recovery.

"Due to the coronavirus, it's already been a very strange season, and so it doesn't matter if I start racing again a little later. My team wants me to come back slowly, and not rush things," she said.

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