Holland's Annamiek van Vleuten suffered an absolutely horrifying crash as she led the women's cycling road race, heading down the final descent.
Van Vleuten was seeking to distance herself from her nearest challenger, Mara Abbott, in what looked certain to be the winning move just minutes from the finish line.
Enquanto isso a ciclista holandesa Van Vleuten sofre acidente durante prova. ?pic.twitter.com/rZ2jsnSubc
— SPFC Mais!⚽ (@spfc_mais) August 7, 2016
And the severity of van Vleuten's crash, and reports that she lay motionless on the side of the road shortly afterwards, quickly put the result of the race into perspective, as onlookers around the world anxiously awaited any news from Rio of how she was doing.
Very sombre mood at the finish of the women's road race after that crash. The result doesn't seem to matter much now.
— Mark Pougatch (@markpougatch) August 7, 2016
Don't care who wins. Just want to hear she is okay
— Shane Stokes (@SSbike) August 7, 2016
— Neal Rogers 🇺🇦 (@nealrogers) August 7, 2016
The Dutch Cycling Federation initially said that van Vleuten was 'okay'.
Van Vleuten blijkt oké te zijn. Meer nieuws volgt.
— KNWU (@KNWU) August 7, 2016
However, the BBC later reported that she has 'three small cracks' in her spine, suffered a concussion and is in intensive care.
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) August 7, 2016
In the immediate aftermath of the race, former Olympic time trial champion Chris Boardman was one of those who criticised the course's dangerous nature:
I’m actually quite angry about it because I looked at the road furniture and thought nobody can crash here and get up. This was way past technical, this was dangerous, and it means people who designed the course have seen it and left it.
This is all we have from the Dutch Fed. Van Vleuten conscious transported to the hospital for further examination. KNWU doctor is with her.
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) August 7, 2016