"Maybe it would be better to ride the time trials on regular bikes again" - Annemiek van Vleuten thinks training on time trial bikes has become too dangerous

The list of cyclist who suffered more or less severe injuries during a training on a time trial bike gained another big one in Ellen van Dijk, who broke her ankle last week, while the U23 world champion Lorenzo Milesi also took in a damage in a training accident.

Should pros put aside their time trial specials and race against the clock on road bikes again? "I say this a bit with a heavy heart, but maybe it would be better to ride the time trials on regular bikes again." The ex-pro Annemiek van Vleuten pauses for a moment and laughs. "No, you didn't expect that, did you, from the Olympic time trial champion."

Quite surprsing statement from Van Vleuten in an interview for NOS has its reasoning. "It's a bit like the Formula 1 of cycling. Testing aerodynamics in the wind tunnel, the speed, the power. I always liked that about the discipline. But I also discovered its dangers in 2015." Van Vleuten was hit by a car during a training ride on the time trial bike in Livigno, Italy. She suffered three broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a collapsed lung.

"Since then I have always been aware of the dangers. I have never been able to train uninhibitedly on the time trial bike again. Even though you are cycling at 50 kilometers per hour on a dike where no one else is riding. You are still very vulnerable."

But brain can't always control the legs in the heat of competition, Van Vleuten admits."You want to win, it's all about seconds, and then you take risks. Especially when you're in that steering wheel and you're throwing yourself down a hill at 80 kilometers per hour. Then you just have to trust that things will go well," she laughs.

"The fact is: we ride much faster than ten years ago. It's going faster and faster. I'm sometimes afraid that something super serious has to happen first before the UCI makes changes. The principle of the time trial is to set the fastest time. I don't think there will be another winner on a regular bike, it's all about who pedals the fastest, right?"

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Cycling Annemiek Van Vleuten

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