Dutch rider Van Der Breggen wins women’s cycling road race marred by second horror crash
Dutch cyclist Anna van der Breggen produced a perfectly-timed burst to snatch Olympic gold in a dramatic climax to the women’s road race alongside the Copacabana on Sunday.
Her team-mate Annemiek van Vleuten was on course for victory but suffered a horrific-looking crash on the descent of the Vista Chinesa climb with around 10km left.
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American Mara Abbott was left as the sole leader on the flat run in to the finish line but with victory tantalisingly close she was caught by Van Der Breggen, Emma Johansson of Sweden and Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini.
Johansson took silver with the bronze going to Longo Borghini.
It was the second day running that the Rio course produced a spectacular battle and the second day a crash affected the outcome of the race.
On Saturday, Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali lost control in almost the same spot as Van Vleuten and broke both collar bones.
Van Der Breggen said of her compatriot’s horror accident: “It really shook me when I saw Annemiek crashed in the road. I was pretty shocked. I think she crashed hard. I realised I was at the front of the team, so I had to chase. I did it for Annemiek. To see her like that, it’s a big shock.”