Some people will call this ‘failure and disappointment at the edge of breakthrough’. Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten had pulled solidly ahead with 11 miles remaining in the women’s road race at the Rio Olympics. She was riding into a bend with nobody between her and a gold medal when, suddenly and unexplainably she crashed in a brutal way that left her with broken bones, and even more painful, broken dreams.
The fall was hard to watch, and it marred the end of the race, won by teammate Anna van der Breggen.
She was rushed to hospital and the Dutch Cycling Federation confirmed she was ‘conscious and ok… American cyclist Mara Abbott sailed past Vleuten’s motionless body, but lost steam in the final sprint to come in fourth.