Dutch gold medal cyclist thought teammate died in crash

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Anna van der Breggen (Photo: @AnnavdBreggen/Twitter). Anna van der Breggen (Photo: @AnnavdBreggen/Twitter)

Anna van der Breggen had mixed feelings about her gold medal win in the Olympic cycling road race for women in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. The 26-year-old was "terribly" shocked by teammate Annemiek van Vleuten's crash, to the point that she thought Van Vleuten had died, she said to NOS after the race.

"Yes, of course I'm standing here with mixed feelings. I saw Annemiek lie and that did not look good. Terrible, it scared me senseless", she said to the broadcaster. "I actually thought she was dead. It looked so strange and scary. It shocked me."

Van Vleuten was 10 kilometers in front in the race when she crashed in the descent to the finish line and remained lying motionless on the road side. She was taken to the hospital, where it was determined that she has a severe concussion and some small fractures in her spine. She'll have to stay in intensive care for at least 24 hours, but is conscious and talking.

Van der Breggen had trouble keeping her concentration after the crash. She struggled to keep pedaling, but after some encouragement from Swedish cyclist Emma Johansson - who said: "Come on, we'll do it for Annemiek", according to ANP - decided to push through. "We couldn't do anything at the time, couldn't help her." the Dutch cyclist said. "As a cyclist you somehow have it in you to think logically."

The Dutch woman finished with gold, with Johansson taking silver. A few moments after the finish a paramedic came to tell Van der Breggen that Van Vleuten was awake and on her way to the hospital. She was overjoyed by the news.

On Wednesday she will be taking part in a time trial.

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