Olympic champion Annemiek Van Vleuten hospitalized after crash at road cycling worlds

WOLLONGONG, Australia -- Dutch star Annemiek van Vleuten crashed heavily at the world road cycling championships Wednesday and suffered a broken elbow.

The Olympic and world champion, one of the biggest names at the Wollongong worlds, had a mechanical problem at the start of the mixed team relay.

"Back from hospital Wollongong," she tweeted. "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 Van Vleuten is doubtful for Saturday's road race.

Her crash overshadowed the mixed team relay, where Switzerland won gold, Italy the silver and Australia the bronze.

Van Vleuten was second in the Dutchwomen's pace line, only a few meters after setting off from the start ramp, when she lost control and hit the ground heavily. The Dutch ace was in shock and her right knee was bloodied as team staff rushed to her aid.

Van Vleuten was limping noticeably as she walked away from the crash scene.

Even without Van Vleuten, the powerful Dutch combination managed fifth place.

Three women and three men were part of each team in the relay on the 28.2-kilometer course. The Swiss, among the last teams to start, clocked 33 minutes, 47.17 seconds. Italy was 2.92 seconds behind.