Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Olympic cycling course leaves riders bloodied, broken

08 August 2016, 15:56

Rio de Janeiro — After a series of spills in the men's Olympic road race left cyclists with broken bones and bloody road rash, it seemed as if the women's race Sunday was going to escape serious injury.

That all changed in a fraction of a second.

Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten, barreling down the final descent of Vista Chinesa in the lead, hit the deck in a spectacular fall. Her bike catapulted into the air, and van Vleuten lay motionless on the side of the road while the rest of the field cautiously swept past her.

She was transported to a Rio de Janeiro hospital and diagnosed with a concussion and three small fractures of her spine, and was to remain in intensive care for at least 24 hours.

"It was horrendous crash," said road race silver medalist Emma Johansson of Sweden. "The peloton is so small and we all know each other very well. I just hope she's OK."

So dangerous was the course over the first two days of the cycling program at the Rio Games that the International Cycling Union was forced to defend it, pointing to a test event and numerous training opportunities that gave riders a chance to familiarize themselves with it.

It didn't appear to do much good.

Also read: Empty feeling as Brazil, USA women off to winning start

The carnage began on Saturday when Giro d' Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali and Colombia climber Sergio Henao were leading on the same slippery, technical descent. Nibali likely would have won gold had he been able to stay upright, but wound up heading to the hospital instead.

His coach, Davide Cassani, said that the Italian broke his collarbone in the fall.

Henao fractured the upper part of his pelvis in his wreck, while Australia's Richie Porte broke his scapula in another crash, an accident that will keep him out of Wednesday's time trial.

Geraint Thomas of Britain and Nelson Oliviera of Portugal also hit the pavement.

"It was anarchy out there," American rider Brent Bookwalter said.

Nibali actually warned Italy teammate Elisa Longo Borghini about the chaotic final descent ahead of the women's race, so she took it a bit slower on Sunday and wound up earning a bronze medal.

Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands took gold.

"It's a difficult descent because you can go really fast but you also have to corner," she said. "After the men's race I think we were all warned that we needed to take care of the descent and we did. Of course, if you're riding in front, maybe you take too much risk. I don't know."

The course was widely regarded as the toughest in Olympic history, even before the first riders set off on it. Long stretches of flats gave way to pounding cobblestones that caused numerous mechanical issues, and a hard series of climbs shook up the fields even before Vista Chinesa.

Then they came to the climb that defined both races.

Olympic courses tend to be flat affairs with a few small climbs thrown in to spice things up — nothing compared to the 10-kilometer climb in Rio. That means riders also rarely see such a hard, sharp descent, one that becomes all the more treacherous so close to a gold medal.

"Everybody wants to win. Yeah, everybody's taking risks," men's gold medalist Greg Van Avermaet said. "Some guys probably went over the limit and that's why it happened. I think the road was pretty good. I was happy to stay safe. I think I took a little bit of risk, but not too much, and I think this was the best decision because if you're on the ground, the race is over."

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.

- AP


Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...