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Van Vleuten confirmed for Worlds road race despite broken elbow

HARROGATE ENGLAND SEPTEMBER 28 Arrival Annemiek Van Vleuten of The Netherlands Celebration during the 92nd UCI Road World Championships 2019 Women Elite Road Race a 1494km race from Bradford to Harrogate 125m Yorkshire2019 Yorkshire2019 on September 28 2019 in Harrogate England Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Van Vleuten will ride Worlds after all (Image credit: Tim de WaeleGetty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) has been cleared to compete in the elite women's road race at the UCI Road World Championships, despite breaking her elbow on Wednesday. 

The 2019 world champion fell heavily in a freak crash at the start of the Dutch women's leg of the mixed relay team time trial on Wednesday. 

She was diagnosed with a broken elbow but the fracture was said to be stable and she was able to join her teammates on a training ride the next day. 

On Friday, she underwent further medical examinations and the Dutch federation subsequently confirmed that she will take to the start line in Wollongong on Saturday morning. 

"Very nice news from Wollongong: Annemiek van Vleuten will ride the road race at the World Championships on Saturday," read a statement from the federation. 

"A final test today showed that the recovery was sufficient to be able to participate."

Van Vleuten's presence will ensure the race isn't without one of its big favourites. The 39-year-old has already won the Giro Donne, Tour de France Femmes, and Vuelta Challenge this year, as well as Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

However, there will still be question marks over Van Vleuten's fitness and her chances of winning a second road race world title.

After Thursday's experimental training outing, she was surprised that she was able to ride but crucially revealed she was unable to get out of the saddle, such was the pain in her arm when putting pressure on the handlebars.

"I am super disappointed because of this," she said, appearing pessimistic about the prospect of the Wollongong circuit's key climb of Mount Pleasant.

"You cannot do this steep climb seated," she added.

In any case, Van Vleuten was far from the Netherlands' only card for Saturday's race. Three-time world champion Marianne Vos and rising star Demi Vollering are both bona fide rainbow jersey contenders in a typically strong Dutch squad that also contains the newly-crowned time trial world champion, Ellen van Dijk.

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