As Annemiek van Vleuten crossed the finish line in the road race at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Sunday, she raised her arms in ecstasy thinking she had won gold for the Netherlands — but she hadn’t.
Instead, she finished second after the, until yesterday relatively unknown, Austrian cyclist Anna Keisenhofer.
After overtaking competitors from Poland and Israel, the Dutch team thought Annemiek was on her way to win the race. But due to poor communication, no one from the team realised that Kaisenhofer was already way ahead of everyone else.
“I thought I had won. I felt really stupid at first. But then the other girls wondered too…” said the silver medallist.
Van Vleuten’s teammates were just as surprised by the Austrian’s triumph. Marianne Vos, who finished fifth in the race, told the NOS that “we underestimated Keisenhofer’s strength.”
Proud of the medal
Despite the slight disappointment, Van Vleuten was ultimately proud to walk away with a silver medal.
“My goal was to be at my best level here, and I think I nailed that. It’s not the result we were hoping for, but for me personally, I think I did a really good race,” she told CNN.
The Dutch cyclist was on her way to becoming the Olympic champion five years ago in Rio de Janeiro. However, she fell 10 kilometres before the finish and suffered serious injuries.
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