Cycling: Van Vleuten to race in Road World Championships days after wrist fracture

FILE PHOTO: Cycling - La Course by Tour de France - Nice, France - August 29, 2020. Mitchelton-Scott rider Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands in action. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

(Reuters) - Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten will defend her UCI Road World Championships title in Imola on Saturday, days after she broke her left wrist in a crash riding for Mitchelton-Scott at the Giro Rosa.

Van Vleuten was unable to avoid riders falling in front of her in the final part of the seventh stage of the Giro Rosa on Sept. 17 and was initially ruled out of the remainder of the race as well as the worlds.

But the 37-year-old said that she felt comfortable enough to compete at Imola following surgery - in which a metal plate was inserted into her wrist - and was cleared to race by the Dutch cycling federation.

“My wrist feels quite good and I can’t complain because, for me, it’s a miracle how it feels,” Van Vleuten, who was named in the official start list, told the Cyclingnews website.

“I don’t have pain on the bike and I can grab my handlebars, 100%. I don’t have any problems with bike handling and that’s something that was important in my decision.

“The doctors told me that if I crashed again, it’s not a problem, and wouldn’t damage it more. It’s a special case, and the reason that I have less pain.”

Van Vleuten’s Mitchelton-Scott team mate Amanda Spratt was ruled out of the world championships after failing to recover from injuries sustained in the same crash at the Giro Rosa.

Australian Spratt, who had won bronze in the women’s road race last year, damaged her shoulder and suffered concussion.

Van Vleuten produced one of the greatest solo rides ever seen at the world championships to storm to victory in the women’s road race last year.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes