Cycling-Van Vleuten a doubt for world championships road race after relay crash

FILE PHOTO: Cycling - UCI Road World Championships - Knokke-Heist to Bruges, Belgium - September 20, 2021 Netherlands' Annemiek van Vleuten in action REUTERS/Yves Herman

(Reuters) - Annemiek van Vleuten is a doubt for Saturday's world championships road race after the Dutch rider sustained an elbow fracture in a crash in the team time trial mixed relay event in Wollongong, Australia.

Van Vleuten, winner of the women's Tour de France and a three-times world champion in time trial (2017, 2018) and road race (2019), hit the deck a few metres after the start on Wednesday after her front tyre exploded.

"Back from hospital Wollongong... Stable fracture elbow, no surgery needed. I am allowed to ride my bike, but depends on pain and need to be sensible. Hope I can sleep," the 39-year-old wrote on Twitter.

Van Vleuten is one of the favourites for the 164.3km road race in Australia.

Switzerland won the mixed relay with Italy coming home second and Australia third.

The Netherlands took fifth place.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Ed Osmond)

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